Movies are an essential part of modern culture, so it’s no surprise that millions of people dream about carving out a career in the film industry. Making movies is glamorous, exciting, and rewarding work. Obviously not everyone is going to succeed at it. But even if you never win an Oscar, you can still have an important role behind the cameras if you develop these skills.
The ability to network and market yourself is important in all walks of life, but particularly in the film industry. There are so many talented people out there that it’s difficult and time consuming to build a reputation on sheer skills or know-how. Opening up new opportunities is much easier if you can make positive connections with the influencers at each stage of your career. Part of this is maintaining good collaborative relationships with those you work with.
An Eye for Detail
For all the topics they may cover in film school, good movie-making is still story-telling, and very much about creativity and quality. You need to have a flair for what will engage an audience and what won’t. An otherwise fascinating story can be spoiled by too many mistakes or even one glaring error on camera. Understanding characterization, artistic integrity, historical context, and having a critical eye to spot these issues is essential.
A feel for setting the right tone and rhythm is important. Consistency and continuity help to define the mood and atmosphere you’re going for. Plots or scenes that move too fast or too slow weaken the overall impact. Pacing is also important in your own efforts. You may often be called on to work long hours or multi-task. Take on too much, and the quality of your work drops.
Everyone behind the scenes, whether it’s the director or the film editor, needs to have skills in this area. It requires strong knowledge of lighting, angles, color, and the equipment being used. You have to know how the latest technology can help you. Special effects like CGI and software for color grading LUTs can dramatically transform a shot well after filming is done.
Film making is a gamble. Think about the millions of dollars that are spent producing films that fail at the box office. You also have to worry about stunts, security, personal conflicts, and more. As a person with responsibility for seeing the project to success, you have to learn how to identify these risks and minimize them. If your films are plagued by excessive costs, missed deadlines, and lawsuits, you won’t be making movies for very long.
A filmmaker has to focus not just on artistry, but the business and interpersonal requirements involved. The right attitude may be the most important skill to master. Humility and a willingness to learn will grow your skills and your reputation.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.