If you want to be a filmmaker, show up
Filmmaking like any creative career is built on trust. When I’m putting a film project together, I think about the people I’ve worked with in the past and who among them I can bring onboard. As a director or a producer, you are counting on everyone who signed onto your film to show up. On any shooting day there are hundred of things that can go wrong. Working with people you’ve worked with before can help minimize some of those risks.
If you say you’re going to be somewhere, show up.
If you say you’re going to do something, get it done.
If you say you need my help, don’t change your mind last minute.
I have made mistakes and there have been times when I’ve over-promised. But I recognize those mistakes and I own them.
A lot of people starting out try to get Production Assistant jobs. On a couple of the films I worked on, we called in five or six Production Assistants to find only two or three of them would show up.
Filmmaking is a big pool, but the more you’re in it, the smaller it gets.
On the first day of filming a new web series, I felt sick. I had a sinus infection or a cold or something. I was on call to shoot and direct. This was my first time working with the cast. I showed up. I wanted to call it in that morning, but I showed up. Afterwards, the screenwriter told me that they were surprised at the pace I kept up and that I was able to keep going.
When you get to set, there’s adrenaline. All the nerves from prep and working with new people get you going. That and coffee.
I heard a story, that when Orson Wells was directing Citizen Kane he ended up breaking his foot and directing part of the film while in a wheel chair.
If you have accepted an opportunity to work on a film, show up. And if you’re in the hospital, tell your director, producer, or first AD.
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Check out my previous article: one shot at a time — focus in filmmaking