Staying Motivated to Make Films Isn't Easy, But It's Worth It

Staying Motivated to Make Films Isn't Easy, But It's Worth It

Let's be honest. There are times where filmmaking is one of the most tedious, thankless, soul-draining activities in the world.

When you're working with small budgets, even the smallest roadblocks can derail the best laid plans. Sometimes equipment breaks down. Sometimes all of your sound turns out be to unusable because your location is in the flight path of a major airport. Sometimes actors or crew just bail on you.

And sometimes, perhaps most disappointingly, you just end up making a bad film, then convincing yourself that it's not worth it to try again.

All of this begs the question, why on earth does anyone choose to make low-budget films? More than that, how do people stay motivated to create, even though they know the road ahead is inevitably littered with obstacles.

To answer those questions, I'm going to defer to Darious Britt.

In case you don't know Darious, he's an indie filmmaker bootstrapping his way towards the distribution of his first feature film, Unsound. He also happens to run one of the best educational filmmaking channels on YouTube, where he shares everything that he's learned along the way.

So without any further ado, here's a video that he produced last year which very poetically sums up why making films is worth it, even if it's the farthest thing from easy.

And here's Darious once again, with some practical tips for creating and maintaining motivation to make films.

Here are the tips that Darious lays out in the video.

1. Learn the backstory behind your favorite filmmakers, artists, or really anybody you look up who does creative work. Chances are that they struggled mightily before finding success.

2. Surround yourself with other filmmakers. This is probably the strongest tip. Going it alone is usually a recipe for disaster, especially when the going gets rough. Surround yourself with like-minded people who won't let you quit. Facebook groups for your specific city are great for this, as are colleges with anything even resembling a film program.

3. Do creative work every day, even if it's just 5 minutes. When you make creativity habitual, not only do you become more proficient and skilled at your craft, but you'll be surprised by just how much you can accomplish over the course of weeks and months. Ultimately, the momentum you build will sustain and motivate you in the long run.

4. Do small side projects that creatively satisfy you. The emphasis here is on the "small" side projects. Don't start something that will take you 5 years to finish. Try shooting and editing a short film in a day, or a week. Just finish it. Like the last tip, this also helps you build momentum, and gives you a sense of accomplishment.

5. Just do it. For the sufferers of analysis paralysis out there, realize that you will probably never be as prepared or as knowledgable as you feel you need to be, but that's ok. Just jump in the water make something. You will learn more by doing than anything else.

To wrap it all up, here's a direct quote from the Darious that really hits at the heart of the matter.

The biggest key to staying motivated is to keep moving forward, no matter what. Every day take a step towards your goals. It doesn’t matter how small of a step. A step is a step.
— Darious Britt

If you enjoyed this article, you'll love Filmmaker Freedom Weekly. Each week, I share my latest writing, curated stories from around the web, a short film that I love, and a healthy dose of filmmaking inspiration.

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