My mind was all about the NBA Finals the past few weeks. I found myself thinking a lot about how ridiculously good Rajon Rondo's become in the past 2 years. I now have a borderline hetero man crush on the guy.
Rondo didn't come into the NBA with a lot of hype. Now he's arguably the best point guard in the NBA; he's running the show, and in the 2009-2010 playoffs, he was the star on a team of recent all-stars.
Not everyone's a star as a rookie, but if you keep playing your game and learn from people with more experience than you, you will improve. If you're dedicated, who knows to what degree? (Who are the KGs, Ray Allens, and Paul Pierces that you can learn from?)
If you really want to make feature films, or feature-length HD videos as very few shoot on film anymore, just do it. Make a movie within your means, which could include looking into crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter.com or IndieGoGo.com. Accept that even once you're done your first, you're still a rookie in the game, and you need to keep improving.
But if you want to be making features, get in the game. If you keep the budget in the low 5 figures (or less), no matter what, it's like throwing an expensive party. Or, a car wreck in which no one dies. (Hopefully.)
You'll learn who you want to work with on future projects, and who you don't ever want to work with again. You might make even make some enemies, as producing a feature is a long grind. Aspire not to be an asshole, but it can happen if you're passionate about the project and others on board are not. Producing a feature is like an endurance sport, or war. Why not learn who you want on your team, or with you in the foxhole, as early on as possible? You'll gain a better idea of which mistakes to avoid in all areas, and you'll have a feature-length movie to show for it.
Do your best to get people in the know about your project as early on as you feel comfortable. (There are lots of tools out there to help you, and I'll be writing more about many in future posts.)
Don't be afraid of people not liking your movie. Listen to all feedback, especially the harsh feedback, but if you're passionate about your original vision, follow through with it.
Build an audience. (Again, there are tools galore.) Be adaptable as trends change and time progresses. Up your marketing game. (There are tons of books on new media marketing.)
Make your content accessible. Accept that if you're in this just to make money, there's much more to be made right now in other industries.
I recommend following Ted Hope's "Hope for Film" blog, for starters. (I'll be writing about and linking to more sites, blogs, etc.)
With so much changing in the independent film (really HD video) world, now is a great time to take risks. I have nothing to lose with my first feature, Bad Batch. It's my first foray into filmmaking, and it cost so little to produce I have no investors to pay back. You can check it out ABSOLUTELY FREE in three parts, each about the length of a sitcom.
If you like the movie, please join our mailing list, and feel free to contact me directly on Twitter.
I'll conclude the Anyone Can Be a (DIY) Producer "trilogy" with some quotes from Lee Daniels, writer-director of Precious and overall force-of-nature/inspiration, spoken at the Produced By Conference:
"Hollywood puts a fear in us to do the right thing. F@#k the right thing!"
"It's about hustling, hustling, hustling."
"Do you, and don't care what others think."
"Dig deeper into the artistry... Find fearlessness."
"Everybody thinks they have the answer. They don't. It's in you."
Follow Abe Schwartz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AbeSchwartz