The business of making films is a risky one, riddled with competition at every turn. However, as the old adage goes, with great risk comes great reward. As reported by IMDB, in 2009 “Avatar” replaced “Titanic” to become the highest grossing film at the box office, raking in over $750 million. “Titanic,” having reigned supreme since 1997, made nearly $700 million. This kind of profit can’t be overlooked, and is the result of careful execution and work on the part of the filmmaker. What did these movies have in common that set them miles apart from the competition, and how can you join in their ranks? You may be sitting on a gold mine of skills you didn’t realize could translate into cold, hard cash. Wise up about what skills will set you apart from other filmmakers, and catapult yourself onto the big screen.
Your skills need to be cultivated to perfection in order for you to blow your compatriots out of the water. One of the keys to making good films is in your capability to flawlessly take your film through all parts of production. This means recognizing the big picture, while being aware of every detail necessary to make the big picture possible. This vision is what weeds out the great filmmakers from the mediocre ones. So, if you have always been a bit anal retentive about scheduling, use this skill to your advantage and organize your cast and crew with precision.This skill can be further perfected with a little bit of education, but not the type you are thinking. You don’t need to enroll in film school to learn the careful art of management. Instead you could check out an online career-centered school like Penn Foster, and gain a quick diploma in small business management, setting yourself up to run your filmmaking team like a well-oiled machine. This diploma will equip you to handle financing, prepare budgets and conduct market research that can help you find the right audience for your work.
If you are someone who can mix and mingle your way through any gathering, you are already endowed with another critical skill as a filmmaker—charisma. A smile can go much further than any words, and showing compassion and understanding to everyone involved in your film can welcome successful attitudes. Creativeskillset.org outlines a willingness to collaborate with others as one of the necessary qualities of a successful filmmaker. If your actors for example, recognize you have their best interests at heart, they will be far more willing to put in extra hours without complaint. Showing you care can help you get what you want, but be sure to genuinely set out a plan of action that works for your whole team. Making a film involves careful management, and if you have the foresight to include your whole production team, they will work beyond the call of duty for you.
Of course, technical abilities are a given in the work of filmmaking, but being the best at any technique without a willingness to push the boundaries, does not amount to craft. Truly great craftsmen in any field take criticism and use it as fodder for better work to come. A study recently released by Psychtests.com, found that people who took criticism as a way to grow, were more likely to have higher performance ratings in their line of work. Contrastingly, those who became defensive or aggressive toward their critics ended up performing poorly, and developed low self-esteem as a negative side effect. Instead of bristling at the analysis by others in your field, really listen to their comments and use their suggestions. In turn, offer your vision to others.
Remember, sharing your craft does not diminish it, but rather helps it to grow and allows you to become ever better. All the skills outlined above can make you rise out of the woodwork, as a formidable player in the filmmaking world, but only if you can use them to your advantage.