When I started Avellino Studios in March 2012, as I said earlier, I was doing this to not only take the first steps toward my dream of becoming a feature filmmaker, but I was also doing this to eventually support a family. If you are like me and want to be a family man as well, or perhaps you already have a family, than you will likely know the mindset that often comes with that: gotta’ make some money and become stable!
Well, becoming stable financially AND becoming a filmmaker seem to be two different ideas that don’t converge in the “real world.” Starting out the odds seemed to be stacked against me. You hear this story everyday: a young man going out to pursue his dream of making it big in the film industry, crashes and burns his way behind the counter of your local bar. It can get pretty dismal when you start going through each story, which seem to go on and on all ending in the same place…nowhere.
Why Did I Become An Indie Filmmaker? (pt. 1)
So, why bother? If I want to have a family, why not pursue a reliable job that pays well with great benefits, like military? Well, I have to admit, I certainly thought about it. I love working out and shooting guns so that wouldn’t have been a bad option. The plain fact of it, though, was that I knew it wasn’t my dream, nor was it the area where I was being called. I feel very strongly that every man is called to something. Though, I don’t know how most find their calling. For me, finding my calling was as simple as listening to the people around me.
A Note About Calling
I imagine not everyone has this luxury, because not everyone has people around them that will tell them their potential and encourage the toward it. My father and mother were always this for me. Throughout my entire life, they would tell me the gifts they saw I had regardless of the degree to which I had it. When I could draw stick figures, I was an artist. When I strung a chord on the guitar, I was a musician. When I wrote my first chapter of my first book (still to be completed), I was a writer. Finally, when I shot my first short film, I was a director and apparently that one stuck with me.
If you are a parent, remember my story, because I was a strong willed kid, I was high energy, and devious in nature. I was sinful and fallen. Now, in my adulthood, I treasure my parents, the lectures they gave, and the rules they imposed, because when they saw, in my tiny undeveloped heart, a passion begin to sprout, they never stopped encouraging me toward it. I am the man I am for it.
If you are someone who has never had this kind of encouragement in your life, FIND IT! Spend time with people who encourage you toward your passions and aren’t afraid to rebuke you when you are following a lie. I have read and watched so many biographies where they go on and on about the one’s who encouraged them to do great things. You suddenly see that were it not for that friend or family member, coach or professor, pastor or mentor, this iconic individual would have never done anything of merit at all. So, now you have to wonder…who are you surrounding yourself with?
Why Did I Become An Indie Filmmaker? (pt. 2)
There is another HUGE reason why I chose to become an indie filmmaker and it came to me from several sources, “There is a lot of work out there, just not a lot of jobs.” If this quote doesn’t make sense to you, you are probably not an entrepreneur…yet (just spend 5 minutes with me and I’ll probably have you straightened out in no time). The point this quote makes is that there is a lot of things that people want done, but they really can’t justify hiring a full time employee to make it happen. So, in this instance there is work that needs to be done, but no job. A job seeker is going to completely look over this opportunity, but an entrepreneur won’t.
What does this have to do with Indie Filmmaking? Hang in there, it correlates. Think of stories, whether they have been written yet or not, as work. Now, think of how many open film crew positions you’ve heard about lately. Getting the picture? There are countless stories to be told! Some of those stories have already been written by talented writers who are DESPERATE to have them made! So, right off the bat, I can guarantee, there will be MORE opportunities to make films as an Indie Filmmaker.
BUT –because there always is one– what about getting paid? On a crew, you might be guaranteed a paycheck, but like I said before, you are less likely to find a decent paying crew position than you are a great story to make. On top of that, if you really want to talk about money, the producers profit the most from a movie, because they are making money every time the movie is watched. If you think that only relates to big time hollywood producers, you are missing out on all these pro-YouTubers who make enough to live pretty comfortably. When you really get down to it, what are they? Producers!
So, why doesn’t everyone produce? Well, the truth of it is that it’s hard. You have to learn a little about business and for some artists, this is like asking them to breath under water. I am just like any of those poor drowning artists.
Business is not second nature to me, but I am making it work. I call my business savvy friends and family members constantly. I look for other business savvy people and hangout with them and bounce ideas off of them. I look at big companies doing well and I ask “why”. I look at smaller companies and one-man-run-operations and look for what they are doing well. I am learning to grow some gills and find out what it takes to be a successful indie filmmaker. There are more people looking for jobs than there are looking to compete with me in this industry. So, the odds seem to be in my favor.
I can’t wait to start a family.
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