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#1 Robert Sawin

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:21 PM

I have been studying filmmaking and the visual arts for about seven or eight years now. As a student I find it extraordinarily frustrating that I have to compete to direct. I was never drawn to the fame money or potential lifestyle a director may seemingly have. I enjoy the passion of creating the vision and knowing that the success of an entire film rest on the shoulders of a director. I love the passion it takes to create a motion picture. Although I have completed about three short narrative films, all too often I find myself producing, casting, scouting locations, set designing, buying props, catering, etc. on my last film after death all I wanted to do was just direct. My teacher knew that I was passionate and a very creative individual and that I understood the technical craft I was taught. Again, like in all my film classes I found myself quite literally stuck to do all post work by myself. At times I feel like the only way to direct is to direct myself. I'm not sure if this is the norm but it takes a toll on my health both mentally and physically. I feel like everyone in the world who has ever entered a film production class wants to be a director. Often I find myself wanting to quit and just go into some other area using my expertise in visual medium. The only thing I have ever wanted to do while attending college is just to direct. However everywhere I go I always feel like everybody tells me that to direct is just an impossible dream. I have never won an award because I've never submitted for one. I really am not a person who likes fame and attention. And one last thing that bothers me is when it comes time for production I am never short of a crew and my talent is always there to do their job. Which is fine but the journey to get that point makes me feel like I don't care. I really hate that feeling especially when I get to the set.

so my question is does anybody else feel like this and is there really a way to get out of this hole as a do it all yourself director.

You can see my last film after death in my website.

http://trip3980.googlepages.com/home

Thanks
Robert Sawin
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#2 Jake Vander Ark

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 02:33 AM

Robert,

Great post, seriously. You are exactly where I was about 2 and a half years ago. Unfortunately, I'm not a "rock star director" yet... not even close. But the feeling that you described does go away. It started to go away slowly after my first year in LA. I'm not sure where you're living, but things seem simultaneously easier and more difficult when you're completely outside of Hollywood. If you're not here, I would really recommend the move, or give up the idea of directing for a living.

Obviously I can't tell you how to make it in the business, as I'm in the same boat as you are in that respect. But I can tell you how things became easier for me. I was lucky enough to be married to a girl who got accepted to the American Film Institute, and I worked as a 2nd AD and still photographer for free on 15 of their films. If you do a good job, and work for free, you should be able to go into any film school and get work. Because you're interested in visual mediums, I would recommend buying a decent digital SLR if you don't already have one, and get on set that way. Once you're on set and you see how others work, you will start to feel better and more confident.

First of all, you'll discover that most people aren't that talented out here. You mentioned that it seems like everybody wants to direct. Well, it's true, but literally 9 out of 10 people will never come out to LA to seriously pursue a career, and the other 1 isn't any good. I know it sounds terrible to say, but this town is filled with losers. If you have a decent head on your shoulders, and work your ass off, you'll do fine. Second, by working on these smaller films, you WILL get friends in the areas that you are currently doing yourself. Please please check out my website (www.jakevanderark.com) and you will see that all of my films from the last 5 years were done in the same fashion you described. But after working on a few films as a 2nd AD, I met a great DP, a couple great editors, and some screenwriters. Already, I'm not working by myself anymore, and that helps the feeling a ton. Check out the black and white anamorphic stuff on my reel... that's the stuff I've been doing recently. Much much better than anything I did by myself at home.


Also (wow this post is long, sorry), I just watched "After Death". I have reviewed a ton of short films before (mainly on triggerstreet.com) and I never lie... I think your visuals are very, very strong. The image of the soldiers coming into a nice dining room, the way the faces were cut down the middle before the shootings, and the end shot... seriously stunning. I would strongly recommend better actors, a better sound crew, and a screenwriter, but those will come after the move to LA I talked about : )

Anyway, I wouldn't tell you it was good if it wasn't. Keep posting and reading on this site, read a bunch of books about every area of filmmaking, move to LA, and you'll get there. Again, I'm probably not in a place to give advice, but I promise, keep pushing through, and it will get easier.

Good luck,

Jake


(another quick note, don't credit yourself for everything on your films! people will know you did all the work without telling them.)
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#3 Robert Sawin

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 08:50 AM

Robert,

Great post, seriously. You are exactly where I was about 2 and a half years ago. Unfortunately, I'm not a "rock star director" yet... not even close. But the feeling that you described does go away. It started to go away slowly after my first year in LA. I'm not sure where you're living, but things seem simultaneously easier and more difficult when you're completely outside of Hollywood. If you're not here, I would really recommend the move, or give up the idea of directing for a living.

Obviously I can't tell you how to make it in the business, as I'm in the same boat as you are in that respect. But I can tell you how things became easier for me. I was lucky enough to be married to a girl who got accepted to the American Film Institute, and I worked as a 2nd AD and still photographer for free on 15 of their films. If you do a good job, and work for free, you should be able to go into any film school and get work. Because you're interested in visual mediums, I would recommend buying a decent digital SLR if you don't already have one, and get on set that way. Once you're on set and you see how others work, you will start to feel better and more confident.

First of all, you'll discover that most people aren't that talented out here. You mentioned that it seems like everybody wants to direct. Well, it's true, but literally 9 out of 10 people will never come out to LA to seriously pursue a career, and the other 1 isn't any good. I know it sounds terrible to say, but this town is filled with losers. If you have a decent head on your shoulders, and work your ass off, you'll do fine. Second, by working on these smaller films, you WILL get friends in the areas that you are currently doing yourself. Please please check out my website (www.jakevanderark.com) and you will see that all of my films from the last 5 years were done in the same fashion you described. But after working on a few films as a 2nd AD, I met a great DP, a couple great editors, and some screenwriters. Already, I'm not working by myself anymore, and that helps the feeling a ton. Check out the black and white anamorphic stuff on my reel... that's the stuff I've been doing recently. Much much better than anything I did by myself at home.


Also (wow this post is long, sorry), I just watched "After Death". I have reviewed a ton of short films before (mainly on triggerstreet.com) and I never lie... I think your visuals are very, very strong. The image of the soldiers coming into a nice dining room, the way the faces were cut down the middle before the shootings, and the end shot... seriously stunning. I would strongly recommend better actors, a better sound crew, and a screenwriter, but those will come after the move to LA I talked about : )

Anyway, I wouldn't tell you it was good if it wasn't. Keep posting and reading on this site, read a bunch of books about every area of filmmaking, move to LA, and you'll get there. Again, I'm probably not in a place to give advice, but I promise, keep pushing through, and it will get easier.

Good luck,

Jake


(another quick note, don't credit yourself for everything on your films! people will know you did all the work without telling them.)


thank you for the encourage meant it means a lot. seriously. and thank you for the criticism that means a lot too.

I have never had a shortage of crew but all I want is for a producer to come up to me and ask me would you like to direct my film. the day I hear that the day I would be so happy. But at times I feel like the reality is just not there. Maybe I just need an agent IDK.
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 12:34 PM

thank you for the encourage meant it means a lot. seriously. and thank you for the criticism that means a lot too.

I have never had a shortage of crew but all I want is for a producer to come up to me and ask me would you like to direct my film. the day I hear that the day I would be so happy. But at times I feel like the reality is just not there. Maybe I just need an agent IDK.


Be careful what you wish for, the day that happens is also the day your creative control goes out the door.

R,
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#5 Robert Sawin

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 11:51 PM

Be careful what you wish for, the day that happens is also the day your creative control goes out the door.

R,


creative control is not something I aim for when directing. Collaborating with many minds and to maintain a single vision is what I strive for. I feel that Creativity helps move that process along but ultimately Creativity is only 1% and building relationships and leading people in the creative Environment is that other 99%. that is what I find most exciting about directing is the celebrating and bringing together the visual symphony as a whole. When I find people with exceptional creative talent it brings me much joy to see that I can help harness that creativity to achieve something bigger then I envisioned. I love that about Directing.

Trip...
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#6 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 03:52 PM

creative control is not something I aim for when directing. Collaborating with many minds and to maintain a single vision is what I strive for. I feel that Creativity helps move that process along but ultimately Creativity is only 1% and building relationships and leading people in the creative Environment is that other 99%.

Trip...

That is very contradictory to what you were saying before. "At times I feel like the only way to direct is to direct myself."

If you think creativity is only 1% of directing, then maybe directing isn't for you. Creativity is a huge part of directing.
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#7 Robert Sawin

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 06:08 PM

That is very contradictory to what you were saying before. "At times I feel like the only way to direct is to direct myself."

If you think creativity is only 1% of directing, then maybe directing isn't for you. Creativity is a huge part of directing.


Sorry I miss stated that statement. This is what was going through my mind. At times I feel the only to direct FILMS is to DEVELOP THE PROJECT FROM SCRATCH MEANING DOING THE PRODUCING, FINANCING, GETING THE SCRIPT OR WRITING IT MY SELF.

if you see my films you will see that they are very creative but with out relationships and collaboration nothing will happen.

I have always had to fight to make films. some times it really takes a toll on me because I have to work so hard getting it done.

I am not contradictory in the least. To say that just makes me frustrated because you are telling me that I am not telling the truth. I had to work to hard to get each and every project out and at times it takes a toll on my mind and health. if that is not passion and detection than I don't know what is.

Trip...

Edited by Robert Sawin, 23 September 2008 - 06:10 PM.

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#8 Dan Goulder

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 06:17 PM

Sorry I miss stated that statement. This is what was going through my mind. At times I feel the only to direct FILMS is to DEVELOP THE PROJECT FROM SCRATCH MEANING DOING THE PRODUCING, FINANCING, GETING THE SCRIPT OR WRITING IT MY SELF.

if you see my films you will see that they are very creative but with out relationships and collaboration nothing will happen.

I have always had to fight to make films. some times it really takes a toll on me because I have to work so hard getting it done.

I am not contradictory in the least. To say that just makes me frustrated because you are telling me that I am not telling the truth. I had to work to hard to get each and every project out and at times it takes a toll on my mind and health. if that is not passion and detection than I don't know what is.

Trip...

You'll find the source of most of your problems by looking in the mirror. Don't see this as a putdown, and try to resist the temptation to lash out, as it's some of the best advice you'll ever get.
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#9 Robert Sawin

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 07:01 PM

You'll find the source of most of your problems by looking in the mirror. Don't see this as a putdown, and try to resist the temptation to lash out, as it's some of the best advice you'll ever get.


I am not lashing just frustrated. I wish it was not so hard just to be a director. directing is such a subjective craft that the only way you can become a director is to direct. there is no working up. It is like a person starts there and works there way side ways. I am not looking for some one to tell me it is not for me, I am looking for a person who has been there to give me some wisdom as how to push through to become a professional director. The last thing I need is someone to say "maybe you should find another job because what you are doing is just a hobby."

Trip...
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#10 Dan Goulder

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 10:49 PM

I am not lashing just frustrated. I wish it was not so hard just to be a director. directing is such a subjective craft that the only way you can become a director is to direct. there is no working up. It is like a person starts there and works there way side ways. I am not looking for some one to tell me it is not for me, I am looking for a person who has been there to give me some wisdom as how to push through to become a professional director. The last thing I need is someone to say "maybe you should find another job because what you are doing is just a hobby."

Trip...

You're still putting up your own hurdles. If you only find one actor that will accept you as a director, then start out by directing that one person. If it's two, work with two. Work with what you've got.
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#11 Robert Sawin

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 11:15 PM

You're still putting up your own hurdles. If you only find one actor that will accept you as a director, then start out by directing that one person. If it's two, work with two. Work with what you've got.


Thats not the problem tho I have always had the crew, actors and yes many times sag, and locations etc... but what I really want is for a producer to say I got a script and backing can you please direct my film. I never had a problem producing I just don't like producing in the least but I can do it very well more so then any thing else but I hate it. I latterly have actors and crew ask me regularly do I have another project they can work on with me. Don't get me wrong but people only see prestige and I hate fame I hate award I hate to actually be the one to distribute my work. I always end up giving my actors and crew a copy and just set it on the shelf as just another project I did.

IDK any advice as to how to get out of this hole?
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#12 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 02:44 AM

I have always had to fight to make films. some times it really takes a toll on me because I have to work so hard getting it done.

Trip...

We all have to work hard to make films. You're no different than anyone else. And yes, this business is tough on your body....get used to it.
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#13 Jorge Espinosa

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 02:45 AM

Well yes. You say you're so talented and you produce, write, and direct; you also have a cast and crew available for you. You have everything to make it big except you are WAITING for a producer to discover by miracle. You've been studying and producing for eight years, you know you are the one responsible for arranging a pitch or a meeting with a producer. You seem very confident, you should have no problem.
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#14 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 03:05 AM

Thats not the problem tho I have always had the crew, actors and yes many times sag, and locations etc...

Sounds like you've had it easier than a lot of people.

but what I really want is for a producer to say I got a script and backing can you please direct my film.

Everybody wants that. Even people who aren't directors would take that offer in a heartbeat. You're looking for the easy way. But if you think it's going to be easy, you're mistaken.

I never had a problem producing I just don't like producing in the least but I can do it very well more so then any thing else but I hate it.

So now you're saying you're a better producer than director?

IDK any advice as to how to get out of this hole?

Stop acting like you deserve something. You'll get directing work when you prove that you're a good director.
And stop complaining.
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#15 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 06:33 AM

Sorry I miss stated that statement. This is what was going through my mind. At times I feel the only to direct FILMS is to DEVELOP THE PROJECT FROM SCRATCH MEANING DOING THE PRODUCING, FINANCING, GETING THE SCRIPT OR WRITING IT MY SELF.


This is pretty normal, usually only TV productions employ directors without the director doing at least some of these things. The best you can often hope for is getting a producer to option material for you because they wish to work with you.

The other way would be to get an agent, but that would probably get mostly TV work, which is good jobbing work for someone starting out.

However, all these methods require you to make films first and take them around possible interested people.
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#16 Viviana Glz

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 04:41 PM

I hate fame I hate award


i cant fully understand what you are feeling, cuz ihavent been in that situation, im just about to start studying, but that part
you wrote ! i hate award" i mean, if you are good,, people will recognize you, so it kinda sounded to me like if you were scared of success, dont get me wrong tho
good luck!
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#17 Sterling Silva

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 11:12 PM

Ok, I'm in the same boat as the rest of you... but I've directed some stuff too. I even had a producer come along and ask me to direct his short movie. I didn't get paid, no one did, but for the first time I didn't have to worry about the money. That was nice.

I didn't really read all the messages but here's my two cents.

Wanna be a rock star director? DRESS LIKE IT. Your ideas sound better when you look better than everyone else. People are dumb like that.

Besides, what does a director even do? You've got a DP to shoot it, a writer to write it, sound guys to get the sound, actors to act, JUST KNOW WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AND HOW YOU WANT IT DONE THEN GET THOSE PEOPLE YOU CAN TRUST TO DO THAT BUT GIVE THEM PLENTY OF SPACE TO ADD THEIR OWN MAGIC.

That's filmmaking. That's directing, secretly manipulating people to do your bidding Muhahahahahahhah!

(cause you can't do it all yourself)

Dress sharp, talk fast, stick to the plan.

-S
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Visual Products

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FJS International, LLC

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Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

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