If you’re a filmmaker making a living from your trade, there’s a chance you do a good amount of work for other people or companies. It can be easy to get so bogged down by profit projects that you forget why you started making films in the first place. When this happens, it’s important to take time for yourself and create something that only serves one person – you. Of course, not everyone is willing to drop the time and money to work on a passion project, so if you need some persuasion, here are a few reasons to give it a try.
There’s no one to answer to.
When working for other people, there are a bunch of little voices in your ear pushing you one way or another. With those limitations, it can be harder and harder to let your creative flag fly. When working on a passion project, you don’t owe anything to anyone. That means you have the freedom to try whatever weird, crazy stuff your heart desires. So what if it doesn’t turn out? At least you got to try it. And if it does, you learned something new you can take to your professional gigs.
Passion projects can help you stoke the fire, so to speak.
Aside from giving you a break from the everyday, passion projects can help you recharge and come back to work with a different perspective and more energy. Even if you decide you don’t want your passion project to be a film -- maybe it’s experimenting with photojournalism, turning your kitchen into a microbrewery or building a coffee table from a fallen oak tree -- spending time away from your daily routine helps recharge the mind and reignite your passion for filmmaking, which will show through in your work moving forward.
You might end up with something good.
A passion project can take any form. The only rule is that it should be something you are excited about and can approach free of judgment or critique. It’s not about the finished product, but the time spent working on something that makes you tick. Once you free yourself of pressure, the results can be amazing. At the worst, you end up with something that only speaks to you. At best, you make something that resonates with many, and your passion project just became something a lot bigger (Some of the best films of our times started out as passion projects – Grindhouse, Tree of Life and Che, to name a few).