For 15 years I put off my dream of filmmaking. 15 years!
I knew what I wanted to do in my heart, but there was always an excuse (or two) that I let hold me back.
Recently, though, that all changed.
I’ve declared “no more.”
No more denying my passion to tell stories. No more giving in to societal expectations. No more making safe choices.
Most of all, no more excuses.
Here’s a list of the excuses I let keep me from my dreams for over a decade – and what I finally did about them:
Excuse #1: “I can’t create images like they do in Hollywood…”
I always longed for the ability to create film-like images. When I first started making videos I was using the Canon Xl-1 and GL-1, Mini-DV cameras that did not allow for depth of field or focus pulling. I just couldn’t imagine producing the amazing footage I saw regularly in documentaries and Hollywood movies.
However, the new DLSR cameras are changing the game. They are very affordable and what was once only available to Hollywood DPs is now available to us all.
Additionally, I have changed my view on needing to own equipment. There are very reputable rental houses that will overnight camera bodies, lenses, lights, and accessories that allow us to be more versatile as filmmakers.
The affordability of DSLR camera bodies and the incredible access we know have to rentable equipment have shattered this excuse for me in the last year.
Excuse #2: “But I didn’t to go to film school…”
It’s funny, because I’ve always been a quick self-learner in other areas of my life. But for years I let the lack of “formal” film school qualifications keep me from dreaming big. I thought that in order to be able to produce something worth watching – I would surely need formal training.
The truth is filmmaking tutorials and how-to videos are abundant on the Internet. For FREE.
Nearly anything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking is a simple Google search away. Additionally, there are other filmmakers who host (very reasonably priced) workshops.
Once I started seeking out these free online tutorials and paying for more advance workshops (for the content AND the networking), my mind was blown. I quickly was able to catch up to people who had spent years training in school.
Excuse #3: “I don’t have connections to an audience. How will I get it seen?…”
Even after educating myself on the skills I would need, I was still terrified that no one would see my work when it was done! And, look, this is an extremely valid fear. But like any other excuse, if we let this rule our world – we will never produce ANYTHING great. It’s as simple as that.
I learned that by planning my creative work carefully and understanding who my eventual audience was – I *could* start getting my content out to the people who would benefit from watching it. Publishing platforms are exploding everywhere we look. The internet has brought us large audiences hungry for great work. For FREE.
YouTube, Vimeo, and a plethora of other video hosting websites have tremendous communities that are ravenously seeking good work. If you make great content, with an easily heard message, it’s easier than ever to get it out into the world.
Excuse #4: “I don’t have budget to advertise my work…”
As we just talked about, I assumed that without an existing audience I would need millions of dollars in an advertising budget to reach people. What I’ve come to realize is that word-of-mouth has always been (and always will be) the best advertising.
Facebook and Twitter now provide unparalleled opportunity for people to share videos they find interesting with their friends and family. It’s like old fashioned word-of-mouth on steroids!
I’ve grown confident enough in my work and the message of my videos to be able to ask people to share it.
As it turns out when you produce something fantastic – and ask for people to share it – they’ll often stumble over themselves to help spread the word.
As with the third excuse, it’s never been easier to build an audience or engage in word-of-mouth marketing. You just have to get over this excuse and start hustling!
Excuse #5: “I don’t have the $$$ needed to make my film…”
Finally, I assumed I would need hundreds of thousands of dollars to even START my dream project. I thought it would involve pitching studios, television networks, and shopping manuscripts for years. But, honestly, it’s so much more affordable than I thought to get started.
There are two factors at play:
- The lowering cost of amazing gear (making it accessible to all of us).
- The increase in support for platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Crowdfunding platforms (like the two above) allow you to raise the capital needed to fund your work before you ever invest a dollar of your own.
This is a game changer.
No longer do you need a rich uncle or deep pocket friends to produce an independent film. Use your filmmaking talents to create a compelling application video and promote it like crazy. If your idea is strong enough and people feel you have the chops to deliver you can raise all of the money to create your masterpiece.
Once I started to explore the alternatives for financing a film – my excuse was shattered.
Prior to setting out on my journey to make my first feature documentary, “I’m Fine, Thanks” I was an aspiring filmmaker full of thousands of reasons why I shouldn’t pursue my dream to make films. However, there were two reasons I had to make my film – despite all my excuses:
- To show my boys that prioritizing their dreams was important (and lead by example)
- And the desire to inspire others to live a life of passion.
If you too have been holding back from pursuing your dream of being a filmmaker, I encourage you to say , NO MORE!
Join me in the pursuit of our dreams. You deserve it.
What excuses have been letting hold you back?
Grant Peelle is a rookie filmmaker whose first feature, “Im Fine, Thanks,” is exploring why so many of us willingly compromise our dreams and passions in exchange for a routine, scripted life. To learn more about his feature doc, check out his Kickstarter page.