IFH 204: Why Do You Want to Be a Filmmaker?



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On today’s show, I ask the simple question

“Why do you want to be a filmmaker or screenwriter?”

This single question is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself. Understanding the answer can set you up for success in your career or ultimate failure. It has taken me over 20 years to honestly answer that question and it has made all the difference in the world. I just wished I would’ve answered it in my 20’s and no my 40’s.

Enjoy and if you find value in this episode please share it with as many filmmakers, screenwriters, and artists you can.

Alex Ferrari 1:15
So today's episode is going to be a special one, guys, because I'm here to ask you one question. And one question only to to kind of people listening to this podcast right now, to my filmmakers. Why do you want to be a filmmaker and to my screenwriters? Why do you want to be a screenwriter answering this question will set you up for your entire career. Because if you don't understand why you want to be a filmmaker, or a screenwriter, or tell stories, or even why you want to walk down this path, this very difficult path. I think that you have to really be honest with yourself and ask the simple question, why do I want to do this? And I'm not trying to dissuade anybody, I just want you. Because if you're listening to this podcast, and you're following what we do at indie film, hustle, that means there's something inside of you. There's something inside of you saying that I want to do this, but I want you to have a very clear idea of why you're doing it. Is it for fame? Is it for money? Is it for respect, is it because I think it's cool. Because all of those are not going to be good reasons. By the way, you will get destroyed in this industry. If you think you're going to get famous, you're going to be rich, you can add ton of respect. Accolades, people, I won't people like me, that's not why you should be in this business. In again, in my, in my example, and believe me, I've tried to leave the business at least three or four times in the course of the last 25 years, okay. And I actually left the business on the last on the last jump for a while, but I was miserable. And I saw my foot in it, but I was miserable, doing something else just miserable. And I only became content with myself. When I came back, I only became happy again, when I came back and and opened up indie film, hustle and started directing again and start doing more work again. But it's it's a tough journey. And the reason I want you to understand how important this question is, is, well, let me ask you this. Do you have something inside of you that doesn't let you sleep at night? is doing this being a filmmaker, being a screenwriter, something that just keeps you restless inside that you can't see yourself doing anything else? But doing this? If those answers are Yes, then you are in the right path. But you really need to figure out as early as you can. It took me a long time to figure it out. But you really got to figure out why. What you want out of this journey, what you're expecting out of this journey. Are you doing it because of an outcome? Or are you doing it because you love to do it? Is your goal to get it to get festival in awards? or anything like that? Or is it because you just want to make the art, make the film, write the screenplay that gets picked up and turned into a big movie? Just answer that question because that answer is what's going to drive you and keep that grind and keep that hustle going. Because if you understand the end, you understand the why you do what you do. Then you will be able to keep on hustling. And if you don't know the answer right away That's okay. It's all right. learn along the way, figure it out along the way. But I just wanted to plant the seed now, for you to start thinking about that question on your journey. Because look at the beginning of it, you're not going to figure it out at the very beginning of your career, you're not going to get it, maybe you will, maybe you're much better and much more ahead of the game than I was when I was 20. Or when I was 19, when I started this journey, okay, but at least start thinking about it, as you are discovering, the reason why you're doing this. It took me years to figure out what that y was. But I had something so deep inside of me so hard, like, he just would not let me sleep, it doesn't let me rest, that I had to keep going, I had no choice in the matter, the drive was so strong, that I didn't have a choice, honestly, in the matter, I just didn't have a choice. And, and I the why I figured out along the way. And maybe you who are listening right now have that drive, that same drive. Now that drive, if it's alive, after you've been doing it for 10, or 15 years, is the drive that's going to keep you going for the next 15 or 20. And you should not give up. And you should keep going. You need to find the reason why you do this. And keep in clarify it so clearly as soon as you can. Because if you are stuck, and I'm talking now to all the guys, and believe me, I was this guy, I was the angry editor, the angry post supervisor, you know, watching other films come through my doors. And I'm being really honest here, guys. And I would be angry because I'm like, why did that mF you know, why that mother get a million dollars? And I didn't? You know, why did that person get a series? Why is that person directing television, and I'm not. And I was always angry. And I would be it would eat me up alive. But then at the same time, the passion kept me going. So I was fighting within myself of how to like, I love this business. But I'm so pissed that I'm not where I want to be. And that's and that held me back for so long. And for so many years. And guys, I'm being real honest here. And this is, you know, as almost as honest, as Episode 88. Or I just ripped into everything and everybody. But I just felt that this is something I've seen so much. And I think this episode could do some real good in the world, and real good to the tribe. Because understanding why you're doing this is so important. You have to be clear about why you want to go on this journey. Why do you want to do this endeavor. And you have to be brutally honest with yourself about why you're doing this. Because as I've said in over 200 episodes now of this podcast, this shit is tough. It will bring you to your fucking knees. But it doesn't have to. If you love what you're doing, and you love the grind, and you've got that answer that why answered and Nothing hurts you. And you could just keep going. You love the journey, you love, the grind, the daily grind, because at the end, you know why you're doing this, and you've got your goal, you got the reason why you're going to just keep going and going and you're going to fall and you're going to fail, but you're going to keep going. And that's when you've succeeded. Because if you can make it in this business for 5,10,15,20 years and enjoy your journey, regardless of where you make it in the business. Regardless, you can shoot for the stars, you can shoot for the moon. And you know, I have very ambitious things I want to do in my directing career. But regardless of where that this path takes me, I'm going to enjoy the journey. And I'm going to joy, the daily grind of what I do every day. But I understand. And only in recent years. And honestly in the last year or so, I finally discovered my why it took me over 20 years to figure it out. Why I want to do this, why I want to keep going and I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for myself. You know and and I know that there's a lot of people listening right now, a lot of filmmakers la screenwriters, a lot of artists who are on this, this conveyor belt, this conveyor belt of of this business where you have to do it and you'll be driven to do it, but you don't you're upset that you're doing it. Or you're just like, I don't know, I'm not angry, I just don't know where I want to go. And I'm not getting to where I want to be and all this kind of BS. If you answer the question, why am I doing this. But when you find out that why I think one of the keys is, and this is something I've discovered, and maybe it will help you. When you're going to do your art, if you do your art in a selfish manner, if you make your film in a selfish manner, if you write your screenplay in a selfish manner, I feel that it doesn't go as far as if you make something for an audience. You serve an audience, you serve others, with your work, and try to bring something to them, whether that be thrills in a thriller, or horror movie, whether that be comedy, make them laugh, whether that might be inspiration in a drama, or a documentary that makes them think, or a funny little movie about an actress who's trying to make it in Hollywood like I did. Maybe that helps some actors along the way. Maybe that helped some filmmakers along the way. being conscious of the kind of work you're doing and why that work is being done is so important on your path. And I'm not saying that you don't have to think about money. I'm not saying you don't have to think about return on investment or ROI. All of that stuff is included in the why. But understanding that question is so, so important on your journey. And I just wanted to, again, shine a light on this question for you, the tribe, because it will change the way you do things. When you understand why you're doing things. And I've said this before in other episodes, but it's it's worth saying again, that you never know what impact your work, your story your ideas will have on another human being on this planet. It is your responsibility as an artist to get your message out into the world and help this world in whichever way your story can. make them laugh, make them cry, make them think. I hope this makes sense to you guys. And I hope that you haven't wasted your time listening to this episode. You know, I just wanted it's something that came to me. I wanted to just it just came to my head. I was like, You know what, this is something that I've been dealing with. And I'm going to share it with the tribe and see if it helps anybody out there. So do me a favor. If this episode has done anything for you. If it's made you think in any which way possible. Do me a favor, email me at [email protected]. And let me know. Or better yet, go to filmmaking podcast calm and leave a review on iTunes. And let me know there how this episode helped you or didn't help you. And I want to end this episode with a quote from one of my favorite films of all time. And this is from Andy dufrane from The Shawshank Redemption. Remember read hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. No good thing ever dies. Keep that also going keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.




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