31 July 2013

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How Do You Become A Filmmaker Without A Degree?

By practice: you have to start somewhere. The ease with which we have access to cameras on phones and audiences via the internet means it is easier to be “found” by Hollywood. Pick up a camera and start shooting. Don't wait for money or to be hired by a production company, just get out there and make a movie. In most other fields, a degree gives you certification and shows that you are competent in the field you study. That degree gives you marketability in the workforce. In directing, only experience makes you marketable. [...]

film
By practice: you have to start somewhere. The ease with which we have access to cameras on phones and audiences via the internet means it is easier to be “found” by Hollywood. Pick up a camera and start shooting. Don't wait for money or to be hired by a production company, just get out there and make a movie.

In most other fields, a degree gives you certification and shows that you are competent in the field you study. That degree gives you marketability in the workforce.  In directing, only experience makes you marketable.

An Example: 
Many famous filmmakers, such as Martin Scorsese, started out by making low budget, small films. When he started, he didn't have the same access to technology that we do today. Take advantage of this technology.

It's not the point of your first movie to be great. The point is to just make one; after completing one film, you have experience to make an even better movie, and so on.

Look at the degree of offerings at any university;  you won’t find a degree in directing. You might find a film program degree where you could get some technical training but there is no true directing degree.

What Makes You A Real Filmmaker?
You cannot become a director until actually directing a film. You don't need to go to college, you don't even need to go to a technical school. You just have to get out and use the tools available to you and just make a film.

Learning the technical aspects of creating films is advantageous and you can get this experience through a college, technical school, books or the internet. But again, you will learn best by doing.

By finding other talented people interested in the same field as you, you will gain valuable connections. By connecting with aspiring sound technicians, photographers and an editors, you will have easy and valuable access to people who will help you to make great films, and they can gain experience from you as much as you gain experience through them. After all, unless it is a very small film, you can't go it alone.

Other independent film makers may be looking for someone to volunteer or work as a low-paid crew member. This is a great opportunity to learn from others with experience and make connections with people in your industry. Networking is a necessity in film making. While gaining experience by working on other’s films, you can make plans for the type of film you want to make, and fine tune the details, such as which audience you are targeting.  Make a plan and go for it.

What Else Does A Film Director Does?
Keep in mind that directors don't just make films.  They manage.  They work closely with actors and other parties to bring your dream to the screen.  Get to know the ins and outs of marketing, managing people. and business.  These are skills that you will need to be successful.

Above all, just get out and start filming. 

Featured image:
 
License: Creative Commons image source 

About Today's Contributor
Donna's writing background is in marketing and social media.  She has been writing about film, television and entertainment industry for over 17 years.

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