The biggest mistake aspiring filmmakers make is wanting to take on an impossible task that they are unable to complete.

Don't fall into that trap. First and foremost, ask yourself one simple question: Why am I doing this?

  • Have fun on the weekends?
  • To exercise my creative talents as an independent filmmaker?
  • Make a living as a professional filmmaker?
  • Live a rich and glamorous life?
  • Change the world by making films with deep meaning and a message to the audience?

Listen to your heart and think about what you really care about most. There is no wrong answer, and your opinion may change over time, but it's important to try to find the answer to this simple question. Then write down the answer somewhere so you can see it often.

Becoming a filmmaker takes a lot of time and effort, and until your goal is something you really want to achieve, you shouldn't take it on.

What is the plan for your film project?

Now that you know which path you've chosen, you need to create a plan of action for how you want to get to your cherished goal. With the help of our website, you can get the knowledge you need on how and what you need to go through to become a successful independent filmmaker, making films that are both artistically successful and financially successful.

Below is a simple blueprint that most successful independent filmmakers have used in some variation. You can base your own plan on it.

The sad truth about filmmaking

It would be unfair not to warn you at the outset that your chances of becoming a famous and successful filmmaker are extremely slim.

You have to be relentless in pursuing your film goals, make the best of your talents, keep moving forward in spite of setbacks, and of course, you'll need a little luck.

The not-so-secret Plan to Succeed as an Independent Filmmaker

Step 1: Make a series of short films in which you could study, take courses, read literature, meet with other filmmakers, and generally do whatever else would help you become more educated in the field and find like-minded people.

Make films that are 3 to 10 minutes long, so that they take you a day or two to shoot on the weekends.

Making movies involves learning many skills and collaborating with many people. That's why you need to meet like-minded, other talented and educated people who can share knowledge with you and help you achieve your dreams.

The first step is to learn all the wheels and cogs in the complex machinery of filmmaking.

Step 2: Make better and better films until one of your masterpieces is good enough to make it to a film festival.

From that point, you'll start to get noticed, you'll be able to make more contacts with fellow filmmakers, which will expand your circle of like-minded people and fans, and you'll be able to get an audience reaction to your work.

You'll see film acquisition agents arrive at film festivals and buy the best films from the most talented independent filmmakers.

The point of step two is to broaden your filmmaking horizons and get to know the marketing part of independent filmmaking.

Step 3: Keep coming up with interesting scripts and film ideas until you see that everyone around you thinks your new story is a really Great Idea.

A Great Idea should be a script that doesn't require a lot of money. Expand that narrative to the size of a full-length feature film.

You will also have a great short version of this script so that you can pay the cost out of your own pocket. You can show the short version of the film at festivals and find someone willing to finance a feature-length version.

The short film is a calling card, a bait and a marketing tool to convince an investor of your immense talent that they will be willing to pay you to turn your Great Idea into a Great Movie.

Step 4: Make your feature film, screen it at festivals for great reviews and audience reaction, sell the movie to distributors and watch your grand success.

At the same time, you need to come up with new film ideas so that when you ask, "What's your next project?" you'll always have an answer.

After step four, you'll be marked on the map, you'll get frequent phone calls from people who didn't pay attention to you last month, but today are ready to fund your new film.

As an option to this plan, you could skip the step of making a short version of the film so that all the attention could be given to a great, smart and interesting feature film that turns out to be not that expensive and you could shoot a full frame for the money you have available.

Emergence Consulting provides comprehensive solutions for a wide variety of producer and filmmaker needs, including assisting production companies seeking to structure individual or slate financing.  We also offer script consulting services through our sister company, Breakthrough Script Consulting.