I was looking through our website stats the other day, and one of the incoming search terms caught my eye. Somebody actually Googled “reasons why you should not be a filmmaker.” I had to laugh; through all the difficulties and frustrations I’ve faced the past seven years, I’ve accumulated a pretty lengthily list of reasons.
In what will quite possibly be the easiest blog post I’ll ever write, here are 5 reasons why you should NOT become a filmmaker:
1. It will ruin movies for you.
I once had a guitar teacher tell me he couldn’t enjoy listening to music after graduating with a music degree. He heard everything, he was constantly analyzing it, and he couldn’t turn it off.
Once you understand how a movie is put together, you can never just sit and watch one. You notice everything. What’s worse, movies and TV shows you once loved suddenly aren’t as clever as you remembered. You long for those Oscar winners that are so well crafted you don’t see the seams, which of course your friends will perceive as you being a complete film snob.
2. All your friends expect you to help with their videos.
If you’ve ever owned a pickup, you know my pain. Everybody suddenly comes out of the woodwork needing help moving furniture, tree limbs, or anything too big to fit in their Geo Metro.
It’s even worse for filmmakers because after working on films all week, people want you to come over and do more work. It’d be like asking a surgeon to forgo his vacation so he can help you remove your dog’s gallbladder. I can’t go to a wedding or a concert anymore without somebody shoving a camera in my hands.
3. Early mornings.
I LOVE sleeping in. Or at least I remember loving it. When you’re shooting, you often need to make to most of every hour of daylight. Which means you need to be set up and ready to shoot before the sun rises. Which means you have to wake up at 4 am so you can get ready and be on set in time to set up before sunrise.
4. It’s not glamorous.
As I’ve mentioned before, spending 12 hours a day in a humid, bug infested bog of a forest, coming home smelling like sweaty butt-crack, bug bites in places you can’t scratch in mixed company ain’t the Ritz.
Twelve to fourteen hour days aren’t sexy. Doing fifteen takes of a shot because an actor got the giggles makes for terrible pillow talk. Waiting half an hour for a cloud to move isn’t exciting to talk about at parties.
5. It will render all other pleasures meaningless.
I used to love playing music. I lived to get in front of an audience and rock out. That’s me in the green sweater, I was making all kinds of mistakes, but dang I was having fun:
Sadly, my guitar sits in the corner slowly collecting dust. Long hours when I’m on sets and long writing sessions when I’m not have all but guaranteed the strings on my Gibson SG will rust off from disuse.
But there’s a big upside to that.
I still like playing and I get to hop up on stage now and then, but film is so big and so awesome that I almost don’t miss music. I wake up excited every morning because I get to make something that people will enjoy. I wake up excited because I get to collaborate with my insanely talented friends. I wake up excited because film gives me so much purpose and fulfillment.
Looking back I’ve realized that music was fun, but it was a personal dead-end for me in the long run. In that sense, I can enjoy music as was it was meant to exist in my life, as an occasional fun diversion. But the joy I get from filmmaking completely overshadows it.
Have I dissuaded you?