So you want to make a movie. The first and most important thing to do is to stop reading this column and go make a movie. Go ahead stop reading. Turn off your computer and get away from your desk! WAIT!! You know what? Read this first and make my boss happy. Then go make your film.
Struggling between achieving your dreams and making ends meet is hard. This is true for any industry but especially true of filmmaking. It’s a constant juggle between staying hungry for your goals and keeping from becoming complacent with your lifestyle. It doesn’t take long in this industry before someone tells you about a movie they want to make. They have it all planned out. How they’re going to shoot it, the style and artistic direction, the soundtrack. Hell, they’ve even gotten the A list movie star that will play the part when they remake the film. The problem is they never do it. They never make the film. It’s never more than an idea in their head.
I swore I would not be one of those people. Everyday I would remind myself; but then it happened. I became one of them. It didn’t happen at once and I don’t even think I was aware it was happening. All of the sudden three years had past and I had nothing to show for it. I figured if I worked hard enough on set someone would notice me. WRONG! It pissed me off. I’m talking, Leonidus kicking Persian messengers into a well pissed.
So, I had two options become like so many others in Hollywood or actually do something about it. A good friend of mine had similar feelings and we made a pact to push each other. Through that conversation SpearShield Productions was created and our first film, “Forced Alliance” was made. Cue the shameless plug. “Forced Alliance” is a teaser pilot that we pitched to Lucasfilm for the live action “Star Wars” series. It was the first time I’d shot on HD. My first film extensively using visual effects and the biggest project that I’ve ever put together. Go big or go home. That’s always been my motto for filmmaking.
In school my professors told me it was impossible to make a student action film and that I would fail. So I made an action film that was the most ambitious project out of my school at the time. With “Forced Alliance”, I wanted to push myself into making film that not only captured the feel of the classic “Star Wars” films, but also went through all the proper protocols for making an actual film. From the insurance and releases to creating and sticking with a budget, to working with a composer, Forced Alliance represented a culmination of everything I had learned from school and on set.
Once the film was completed it got attention from the Internet and Lucasfilm. It even won a few awards, but more importantly it got me noticed. I haven’t landed a directing job out of it or even gotten a job yet, but now I have something to show people in addition to the scripts I write. I’m not saying you should go create a production company or be overly ambitious in your storytelling. I’m trying to drive the point that in order to make it in Hollywood, you have to be willing to make it on your own first. Pick up that pen or camera and just do it. Whatever you make, good or bad, you’ve made it. Be the director, writer, cinematographer or producer you want to be. Don’t wait for Hollywood to find you. Make yourself known.