How to Survive the World of Filmmaking: 5 Tips from a Professional

Words by Gemma Casimsiman

Photos by Lexi Aguila

Being a filmmaker is a burnout profession. Hold the protest and let me finish—being a filmmaker is a burnout profession but it is also one of the most valuable and important professions out there. It requires a whole lot of patience, skill, and time. Without these, you’d be all over the place.

Richard Webb, an Atenean graduate of Batch 2016, shared his tips on how he survived the hurdles that came with being a freelancing visual content creator. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to listen to of his talks and gain insights on how to better my work at every level of the process: before, during, and after.

I won’t keep you waiting any longer as I present to you a filmmakers survival guide:

First thing’s first, ask for specifics! Whether or not you’re the boss, you still have a load of work coming from someone. Rather than going through the agonizing back and forth process because you didn’t deliver on their expectations, it’s better to know your client first.

“Ask your clients for pegs,” Richard mentioned. And it’s true. Clients will have pegs on hand—all you have to do is ask! By doing this, you are avoiding miscommunication. Information is key in the world of content creators.

Second, dig deep for the key idea or emotion. Plan it out by writing it, sketching it, storyboarding it, or just experimenting with what you can. Visualize what you are doing in order to see the bigger picture and ensure that what you see is what you deliver.

Having too many ideas or being stumped with nothing are normal problems. Breathe and focus.

And at the end of the day, you need to ask yourself, “What are you making?”

Thirdly, during production, panic mode will set in. At this point, you need to be alert. Stay on your toes for the unexpected will arise. Situations wherein you may accidentally delete a file or run out of equipment calls for you to be calm and quick thinking.

“Remember the basics,” Richard says, “think back to where you first started.”

Look back on the process of getting where you are now. At the same time, if you can’t do it alone, there is no shame in asking for help. Loosen that pride and ask if someone’s available to look over your work. A friend’s advice might be the thing that brings it all together.

Fourth is to back away for a bit. Take a short break for an unorganized mind will produce unorganized work. Let the work sit and move away from it a bit, refresh your head. Come back to it with rejuvenated eyes and see if it needs any more tweaking. Maybe you need to experiment with different types of colors, themes, etc.

Believe in your gut—if it feels off, it is off. Richard reminds us: Don’t ever settle for okay na”.

Lastly, when it’s all done, take a breather. It’s sent, approved, and you’ve been paid. After hours, days, and months of hard work, you deserve to lie down on your bed and get some well-deserved sleep. Or, get out of the house and do something for yourself.

However, as much as the job is difficult and frustrating, let us not forget to love what we’re doing. Yes, it demands so much of our time. Yes, it is the cause of many, many stressful nights. Yet, if you think about it, you have created art which made people smile.

All your hard work has gone to something and it has done well.

What’s your favorite takeaway from this? Let us know! 

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