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Filmmaking Sucks!

Let’s be honest here, being a filmmaker sucks. I mean, really, it sucks. Nope, I’m not messing around, it downright sucks. Why on earth would anyone want to be a filmmaker?

I can hear you now:

“O’Ryan, what the crap are you talking about? I thought you wanted to be a filmmaker?”

I do. But I won’t lie to you, being a filmmaker sucks.

“OK, OK I get it, it sucks. You can stop saying it now and tell me why it sucks so much.”

Well, if you insist.

INT. Night: Small bedroom

We see a gaunt figure hunched over a keyboard, silhouetted by the glow of a computer monitor. Through the light smoky haze we notice several crumpled papers and empty Starbucks cups strewn across the desk and spilling onto the floor. An ashtray overflowing with spent cigarettes, still smoldering.

Suddenly, the pile of discarded story bits begins to glow and tremble. The air is filled with Taylor Swift’s “Love Song”.

Is this some sort of magic!?

Reaching into the pile, the man pulls out an iPhone.

He stands.

MAN

(deep breath)

Hello?

(beat)

What do mean this draft is worse?! You haven’t even had time to read it all yet!

The Story
You have worked for days, months, maybe even years on this story idea. You finally get it to a place where you think it’s good enough to share with someone, and they don’t get it. So you go back and rewrite it. It’s better than ever, so you share it again, and they say they liked the first version better…

Being Indie
You’re crushed, it sucks. But you believe in your story. So you collect your ego and you push forward. You start saving money to buy the gear you think you need. But what do you really need? It’s all so expensive, and there are so many new and better things coming out everyday… You can’t possibly afford to turn this story into a movie. Where do you even start?

“Who cares about money, I’m an Indie Filmmaker!” you say with your head held high.

Even though you’re forced to make sucky compromises, you decide you will make this movie anyway.

Casting begins.
You’re looking high and low for the perfect 5′ 11.5″ tall Prince Charming to whisk your audience away like the sleepy lost princess they are, but he is nowhere to be found.

“Well, there’s always that weird naked guy from Craigslist with the tattoo on his back that keeps sending me pictures… maybe he could…”

You instantly realize that a few of your friends might be willing to act in your movie. Not awesome, but better than Naked-Back-Tattoo-Guy.

Unless, of course, that’s what you were looking for…

You’re finally on set.
This is it! You are actually making this thing happen! You’ve got your cast & crew, all your fancy new equipment, and you even thought ahead and got food for everyone.

Then, everything falls apart. It’s hotter/colder/rainier than you expected. The crew is complaining because that cost-effective equipment you were so proud of wasn’t intended to operate under these conditions for very long. Your actors are complaining because they don’t feel like their part is exploring the character enough. You’re frustrated and tired. So you decide to take a break. Eat lunch. Regroup.

Everyone is sick of hot dogs…

Editing
So you made it through filming. So what, you made a few compromises, you finished (almost) on time. You got some really good shots. That is, until you start putting it all together.

You realize that you forgot to grab a few inserts, or that follow-through shot. Some of these shots break the 180 Degree rule. Or half the great shots that you really have are out of focus.

You’ve made it this far; you can’t just give up now. Besides, you’re an “Indie Filmmaker”. It’s okay if most of the film is out of focus…right?

Effects?
You’ll pretty much have to re-render this out about 5 times, either because you forgot to turn that one thing back on, misspelled something, or exported it in the wrong format.

note: Long renders followed by continuous face-palming is to be expected.

Uploading
Yeah, that’s going to take a little while. Oh, and once you get it up there…you’ll probably realize at least one more thing you forgot in the render. So be prepared to upload at least twice.

Oh, what’s that…you got your first YouTube comments!? Hooray!

In conclusion
Filmmaking sucks, and you’re probably going to suck at it for a while, which will just make it suck more.

I can still hear your earlier question ringing in my head.

“I thought you wanted to be a filmmaker?”

I do, I very much desperately do.
See, even though filmmaking can suck, hiding underneath all that suck if you look hard enough is something amazingly unexpected: Camaraderie, Creativity, Expression, Sadness, Happiness, Joy, Heartache, Ecstasy, and ultimately, Satisfaction. The experience as a whole is what makes this art form so worth it.

Here’s the thing, many of us start into filmmaking thinking it’s going to be all fun and games and that we have it all figured out. Then, when the suck starts flying and it’s not at all what we expected, some of us bail out. The fact that you can say you “made a movie” afterward isn’t what makes filmmaking truly amazing, it’s the blood, sweat, and tears that go into producing the final result. It’s not easy, but if filmmaking is really your life’s passion, it will be so worth every moment of suck that you’ve paid. In fact, you may even come to cherish some of the suckiest moments because of the friends and memories you made with those who endured it with you.

So, if filmmaking is really, truly the career path you want to follow, endure it, and revel in the experience, because once you see it up on that big screen, it will all be
worth it.