Ask anyone who has made or attempted to make a movie, it’s hard. Real hard. But why do it? Why make a movie?
As I stand on a train platform, waiting for a delayed train (always the case), you have time to think and write.
Sometimes when you take the time to reflect on who you are, where you’ve come, you start to unravel why you are doing this, what you want and how determined are you really to get there.
This is the case for my upcoming movie Travel Warning. Do I really want to spend the time, effort and money to do this?
Originally I grew up wanting to be a cartoonist and had decided to take double art lessons in high school, to accomplish this. My course counsellor suggested I give media a shot. ‘You get to make movies’, she said.
Wow. Make your own movie.
Me, I grew up on a healthy movie diet of Star Wars, Indiana Jones and more. I had all the posters and toys, knew the scenes by heart.
Could I really get to make something like this?
Using a VHS camera I began my first foray into the world of filmmaking. I was hooked. I loved the freedom and creativity.
This was the beginning of the journey.
In the years that would follow I would continue to make short films with friends, purely as a creative escape and for fun. My passion for filmmaking was strong and had thought that a career in the industry was an inevitable next step.
Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t. It’s hard. Very soon I realised, it was much harder than I even imagined.
The industry was small and with my lack of money, contacts or equipment, a ‘next step’, was to be difficult.
‘You don’t get rich getting into the film industry’, l was told by an industry professional. I couldn’t understand it at the time. The big stars were still commanding 20-30 million a movie. How can that be?
In a small industry, It’s more about passion and creativity. Hollywood is Hollywood, and if you’re in Hollywood you probably don’t need advice or reading this.
Money comes and go, based on the work. In a small industry, the amount of jobs are limited. With limited paid jobs the amount of competition for these jobs were very high. It took time, but I finally understood it.
By this stage, our little group of filmmakers had moved on to ‘real world’ jobs, including myself. It was just easier.
My passion for filmmaking still remained, but in the years that would follow it grew into frustration.
Over the span of ten years I wrote several scripts with the intention of making. However, after each finished script, I would come to realise the scale of the story was too big, as was the number of cast and crew required. The budget would surely run into the millions.
Yep, back to the no money, no contacts, no equipment thing. How quickly you forget.
I felt like I was back to square one. A filmmaker without a script.
At this point, I had to logically scale back my ideas, if I ever had any chance to produce my own.
From this, I came up with the idea for Travel Warning and wrote the script. See my article on my rules for creating a no budget film for more.
By this time, over 15 years had past since picking up my first VHS camera at high school, and now being on the verge of making my own film.
At this point in my life, the time is right to take the chance. The affordability of equipment had never been better.
I’m not chasing millions in funding, hoping to get excepted in some middle-of-no-where film festival, or trying to make millions in profits (although it would be nice).
I am making this movie for myself as a challenge, for those people who might like to watch the movie and for fellow filmmakers who dream of making their own film, that it can be done. This is also why I’ll be documenting my journey.
It’s going to be exciting, daunting, stressful and creative. Above all, its the closing of a chapter in my life. A dream realised.
That is why I want to make a movie.