By Ted Hope | Hope for Film September 22, 2011 at 12:30PM
I believe that one of the most important things a filmmaker can do to elevate their career and increase their chances of survival is to be prolific. Work begets more work. It once was that the economics of filmmaking required someone to hire you to do this, but that no longer is the case. The price point of creation is at all time floor. So what is standing in your way? Good ideas? Please! There is a wealth of material that needs you today.
I was very inspired to learn of Christopher "I Am A Nobody Filmmaker" J. Boghosian's mission to make seven films in seven weeks. Christopher is clearly a brave, open, and generous filmmaker, but this was a challenge I suspect few are willing to undertake. I am hoping that Christopher's efforts will hope change that.
Why I Made 7 Films in 7 Weeks
The most frustrating aspect of narrative filmmaking is the infrequency in which one actually makes films. The conventional approach is complex and expensive, resulting in inactivity and atrophy. As a result, filmmakers often find themselves developing a film rather than making a film. So how does a filmmaker improve her craft? How does she refine her voice and style? More importantly, how does she experience the mere joy of making films more frequently?
I have always envied the feasibility with which a painter can pick up a brush and paint; thus, I wondered, can a filmmaker similarly pick up his "brush" and paint? The answer is yes and the key lies in embracing limitation. By creating within one's limited resources, a filmmaker eliminates nearly all production logistics that can snag even the most industrious types; I call it thinking outside the box, inside the box, which is exactly what I did this summer with 7 Films, 7 Weeks.
While my first feature film was in post-production, I was eager to cultivate my craft and voice as a filmmaker. Sitting around and waiting on others was not making me a better director, nor was it fun, so I set out to make one film per week for seven consecutive weeks. And to protect myself from production logistics, I limited myself to actors I had previously worked with and locations I had solid connections to. The result was a logistically stress free seven weeks, leading to the successful completion of all seven films.
As you can imagine, I am now a much more skilled and confident filmmaker. I worked with professional actors, conceptualized and wrote diverse scripts, and edited numerous scenes. By the third week, I stopped doubting myself and trusted more and more in my abilities and talent while having fun making films.
On the flip side, "cultivating my voice" as a filmmaker was much more difficult than I imagined. Though I made an earnest effort to create authentically, from a personal point-of-view, I struggled immensely and experienced much anxiety. Even now, after seven films, I remain unclear regarding my personal relationship with film, i.e., the way in which I am to uniquely engage in the art. Simply put: I want to discover what "a film by Christopher J. Boghosian" really is.
Rather than discourage me, this hard lesson has given me a greater respect for the art of making films and a deeper appreciation for the patience needed to do so. Because of my 7 Film project, I now realize that one's voice is not quickly contrived, rather, it is an ongoing conversation steeped in sincerity and exploration.
I encourage all creative types to undertake such a project. Maybe 7 films in 7 weeks is impractical for you, so how about 7 films in 7 months or 4 films in 4 weekends? The key is to embrace limitation and stick to it - think outside the box, inside the box. And, of course, it helps to announce the project to the world, as I did, because a little bit of accountability can go a long way!
You can watch all 7 films on FollowMyFilm.com...
Accruing way too much debt as a law student, Christopher realized it was now or never, so he packed his bags and returned to his hometown, Los Angeles, to make movies. Since then, he has fathered multiple short films, a feature and a super-cute baby boy! You can see what else he's up to at FollowMyFilm.com