Letters to a Young Filmmaker

If you could talk to your 20-year-old self, what would you say?

Hindsight is an amazing thing. It can help inform what we do in the future and act as a powerful means to help others in their process of finding their artistic voice. Every experience has something important to glean from it, even the ones that leave us saying "How did that happen?" and "Oh, that's how this thing works."

We asked some filmmakers to impart some words of wisdom to filmmakers just starting out in their artistic career. Enjoy.

1. Rebecca Grace, Filmmaker

"I would tell myself what I tell my young niece, who is an artist too. I would say that while being a good listener, thoughtful, selfless and humble are valuable qualities, there are also times that it’s perfectly fine and in fact necessary to challenge others, to be demanding, to be confrontational and to state her value and opinions openly and with confidence. She can afford to have a little more attitude, and can’t afford not to."

2. Noah Woodburn, Filmmaker and Composer

"Just do it. For real. Just play, and play as much as possible for as many people as you can, at every chance you get. If someone wants to hear a song, sing it for them. Play loud and don't worry if you suck. If you are worried that you suck, chances are you probably do, but now that you've come to terms with that, you've just opened up unlimited possibilities to improve. I always felt like I wasn't a great singer, and it held me back a lot. But I listen to so much music where the vocalist sounds pretty bad on a technical level, and nobody cares. If it's got soul and sound real, that's all that matters. Once you start working, take every job you can -- don't turn anything down. As soon as you say no, that filmmaker / director will move on and find someone who will say yes. I worked for free on a documentary shoot for a day. I could have easily said no. A few weeks later that director hired me on 2 month long job to India to film the Dalai Lama. So, just say yes to everything."

3. Caleb Wojcik, Photographer

"Before you listen to everyone, listen to no one. Trust yourself. Lock yourself in a room and think hard about what makes your favorite stories compelling. What energizes you? What people in life are you drawn towards? Then, go make a story. Use whatever camera you have. Buy nothing. Just go make something. There will be plenty of time for comparison, traditional learning, and networking once you find what makes you tick and your unique take on how to tell a story."

4. Brett Ferster, Filmmaker

"The highs are high and the lows are low - but the adventure is worth it if you love it."

Posted on March 31, 2016 and filed under Filmmaking.