Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Old Stuff: Clermont-Ferrand 2006

I am writing this in the midst of the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, having just come from the Sundance Film Festival, where both experiences have allowed a couple of important things come to mind. I have met literally dozens of filmmakers at both of these festivals combined, from practically every corner of the earth. What makes each of them unique can fill volumes, but what they all share in common are just a very few key elements. Those elements, however, offer interesting insights into what it means to build a life as a filmmaker.

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All have a passion for films and filmmaking. All are obsessively creative people who constantly find ways to feed their creativity, even if it has nothing to do with filmmaking. All made their films without regard for its commercial potential, nor their own careerist aspirations, nor how the film will, in any other way, "pay off" - even though many of those thoughts have taken center stage now that their films are complete and in major festivals. All made their film by hook or by crook - some having all the money and resources practically handed to them while others took years and used every trick in the book to push their film to completion. And in the end, all were also no stranger to rejection and creative "failure". They made bad films and/or took many risks that didn't work. They didn't get into many festivals. They were judged harshly. Still, they made more films or maintained faith in the film they made.

What they all had in common can be summed up in four words, passion, focus, commitment and resiliency. Talent, perhaps, too. But you'll never really know if you have it without the other four. And despite the common thought that talent is either in you or not, I've seen the work of a lot of filmmakers mature in ways I never would have imagined through their passion, focus, commitment and resiliency.

In short, having a life as a filmmaker is not dependent on having a career as a filmmaker. Few will have a career as a filmmaker, but nearly all of us can build a life as a filmmaker. And if a career is your goal, it will not come to you unless you have committed to a life as a filmmaker. That is, if you are not passionate, focused, committed and resilient. I hope that doesn't sound like just a lot of hard work - although that is definitely part of it. Because I'm having a life as a filmmaker, and frankly, it is fun as hell. So, check yourself. Make sure what you want out of filmmaking equals what your willing to give. I'll say it one more time, just for effect - Passion. Focus. Commitment. Resiliency. See you at the next fest!

1 comment:

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