Thursday, June 9, 2011

10 Things I've Learned: Part II

Yesterday I posted 10 things I've learned while working on Abandoned Allies, and today I'll share with you 10 more. The musings are, hopefully, good for other first-time filmmakers.

10 More Things I've Learned

1. Prepare your family.
Families appreciate being prepared for your new adventure. Prepare them for how your life might change, and take them along for the ride. Consider yourself lucky if you have a really supportive family.

2. Prepare your friends.
Repeat #1 with your friends.

3. Your relationships may change.
Pursuing your dreams may cause your relationships to change. The ways / reasons they change are numerous because that's just part of life, but be aware that the decision to make your first film may be a catalyst for change in some of your relationships.

4. Find a mentor.
Managing your time, relationships, responsibilities, and energy will become increasingly difficult. Amidst a whirlwind of activity, you need a sound voice of reason. Someone who can serve as a mentor to you--both professionally and personally--is a really wonderful thing. Should you be so lucky to find someone, treat them with respect. Always honor their time, life experiences, and the feedback they share.

5. Hire a coach.
If you can afford it, hire a great career coach. Family, friends, and mentors may provide a wealth of advice and knowledge but a professional will likely have an unbiased opinion and few hidden motives. They also ask key questions and speak the truth in a way that you can hear it.

6. Ask for help.
Once you start talking about making your first indie film, people may find it interesting enough to lend a hand. Take them up on the offer to help. Give them specifics on what you need, and how they can support the efforts. Always say thank you.

7. Build a team.
Filmmaking is a collaborative art. Don't do it alone. Build a team of people willing to work with you on your first project. Barter, trade, or pay them what you can to build a solid team.

8. Work with the best.
Work with the best, most flexible, reliable, trustworthy, and supportive people you can find and afford. Get to know them, their interests, and their families. (I count myself so lucky in this regard.)

9. Don't trust everyone.
You may, unfortunately, encounter people unworthy of your trust. Do your best to find out early--before the stakes get too high--that a person is unworthy of your trust. Ask around to learn of some one's character, and then find out for yourself if the person's reputation is accurate. You owe it to everyone involved with your project to work with only the most trustworthy people.

10. Be honorable.
Do your best to be an honorable leader. Everyone stumbles and makes mistakes, but do your best every day to be worthy of leading a large production.

In the last installment of the series, I'll share 10 more things I've learned while working on Abandoned Allies. What do you think about the first 20 lessons shared? Care to add to them?

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