I have always been obsessed with creating excellence in everything I do. In my quest for excellence as a film maker, I have traveled the world learning the tools and techniques as a result of being on the 'front line', filming in countless different environments in almost every continent (I never got to Antarctica!). However, no matter where and what I was filming, the approach in each and every case was fundamentally the same. There are some guiding principles that drive what I do. I thought I would share 10 of the main ones here with you today. Then, in future posts, we'll move onto the specifics of increasing your film making confidence and knowledge as rapidly as possible.
So here are my 10 guiding principles. I'll be coming back to each of these in detail in the weeks and months ahead:
1) Most aspiring film makers are not confident enough to go out and shoot for money. It's only the lack of knowledge that prevents their confidence from brimming. I remember my first ever shoot for the BBC, I was petrified I'd mess it up, sweating nervously. Just simply because of a lack of experience and knowledge (at that time). There's no short cut here, but I can accelerate this for you.
2) If you're not out shooting projects, you'll never get over the confidence hurdle. Experience comes from making lots of mistakes, but learning fast! I have got literally dozens of stories of screwing up on location, yet I was always working. The secret is knowing how to fix a problem, always have a Plan B.
3) What defines a film maker anyway? And who has the right to say you can't be one? You don't need to spend huge sums on all the gadgets or the very latest kit AND it DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT prevent you from creating great work. But knowing how to do it on a budget, there's the magic formula! Buying 'stuff' is really easy.... making stuff takes some effort.
4) You have 8 seconds to make an impact on a new visitor to your website. If you don't get them in the first 8 seconds, they'll move on to the next site, so if you want them to watch your film, better make the opening shot count! Try this next time your 'browsing the web', ask yourself "what's interesting for me?", "what am I looking for?
5) Execution is the greatest tool available for film making success. Becoming great at realising your vision and 'making it happen' will make you a confident and great film maker. There's only so much theory you can consume before you have to apply yourself.
6) If you shoot for money, your prices are almost certainly too low. But if you don't have the confidence to charge more, perhaps this is holding you back. There's a commonality amongst creatives and it's about money, have you ever felt that it's almost 'frowned upon' to charge 'too much?'. Let me tell you something, those people who frown only do so because they're envious. Be proud of your prices. If you truly believe that you give your clients exceptional service and value and that they benefit, then you are providing huge value, just make sure you reflect this in your pricing. Think about it, when do you ever buy anything that's so important and look for the 'cheapest'?
7) Being a Film maker can be tough, but just being a spectator is much, much worse. You've made the right decision (or maybe you're about to make the right decision). Film making is one of the most rewarding vocations ever and there has never before been so many platforms on which to showcase your work. But more exciting are the number of businesses you can approach to create compelling films that will not only be creative wonders but also help the client promote their product, service or widget. Make films and get paid? Imagine!
8) Everyone can learn to be a great film maker, it's a choice. Nobody will tell you this but becoming a confident and successful film maker is actually fairly straightforward. Study and duplicate success. It's (almost) as simple as that.
9) The most important factor in creating film making success is your mindset and thinking. That's why a significant proportion of my work is focused on building your confidence and teaching you how to follow a process when shooting. Once you master this, you will be amazed at how easy it is to replicate in ANY situation.
10) Nothing I tell you will ever be theory. I can now go into any situation, light it, shoot it and know with absolute certainty that it will edit together well and look fantastic but getting there was not always easy. All my skills and experience were developed in 'the trenches'. If I can save you from some of the hurdles I had to jump over, I will have done a good job.