Posted by Melissa Center.
What’s next in the entertainment industry despite overwhelming opportunities?
You know the phrase “hurry up and wait?” If you work in show business, you know the pain that comes with great talent, big ambitions, and big dreams.
Whether you are an actor, a writer, or a filmmaker, the “bizness of the show” can take years in your life while you wait for others to say it Yes to your dreams.
Fortunately, the tide has turned and you no longer have to rely on the system to fund, create, and distribute your work. Of course, a lot of us want Hollywood to be supported – “in the room where it happens,” and that’s great!
Regardless, you still have to prove yourself, pave your own way, and stay on track until Hollywood or Broadway or whoever catches up with you. Here’s how!
1. Feel it in your bones
There are many great, clever, and inventive stories out there. Do you to have to tell you I found this as soon as I know it in mine whole being that I just don’t want to tell my story, but that me to have to … not only am I unstoppable, but the forces, all of which somehow conspire, conspire to help me.
For my debut feature, I was 1000% determined to get this done, even though I felt like a cheat on my mind. I knew I had to raise money
To make it happen, I started a crowdsourcing campaign. I said to myself – whether I raise $ 5,000 or $ 50,000, I’ll make this film!
Because of my commitment, I not only achieved my original production goal, but also two angel investors in the course of my public relations work, who made sure that my film is completed and distributed.
Nothing could stop me from playing solo, not even a pandemic! The original plan was to bring my show to the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival, the largest theater festival in the world. Cut to … COVID-19. No more theater.
But I would have to make this show possible. So I turned around and managed to raise money for livestream and film the piece instead. I achieved 155% of my crowdsourcing goal at the height of the pandemic, raised $ 2,000 in ticket sales to donate for artist relief, and successfully streamed the play (one night only) to a theater-hungry audience of 800 people!
2. Request assistance
Nobody achieves success alone, big or small. When I set out to realize my projects, I had experience with “in-house production”, but on a smaller scale. I knew that I had to surround myself with people who had strengths where I had weaknesses.
For my feature, I knew the story I wanted to tell, but I struggled with the structure while writing it. I wanted this film to be an ensemble story that highlighted the extraordinary talents of my colleagues. I also wanted to be very cooperative. I gathered a group of friends, told them my story, and asked who wanted to be a part of it. Everyone said yes, and West Liang, whom I ultimately asked to direct the film, offered to help me write. What followed was a wonderful and organic collaboration as West helped me bring my vision to life.
To the Marry Jake GyllenhaalI knew fundraising was going to be a hurdle. Although I’d raised money for three other projects, it was the first time I’d raised $ 20,000 on a project that didn’t involve any actors other than me. I knew I had more of a systemic approach to that increase, so I hired Justin Giddings AKA “The Kickstarter Guy” as a consultant.
This was undoubtedly the one best Decision that I could have made. I raised $ 31,158 through Justin’s system! The icing on the cake? Not only did I have to produce my piece, but Justin invited me to work with him! Now I can support fellow artists in financing their projects. Win, win, win.
3. Say yes to setbacks
Bumps in the road are inevitable when it comes to any plans, let alone any creative plans. Sometimes these setbacks turn into your biggest wins!
When West and I tried to plan an extremely ambitious 10-day shoot for a feature film with a large cast, we had no room for error. Unfortunately, life happens. Some of our actors have had to drop out due to planning conflicts and / or unforeseen life events (babies).
We tried our fucking hardest to work around our actors – after all, the roles were written for them! Despite my iron will, we could not bend time and space. West called some actors he’d worked with in the past and we found incredible replacement products to fill in the gaps in our cast. The icing on the cake? We were able to create a rounder and more diverse cast, for which I am grateful to this day.
As mentioned above, I should take my play to Edinburgh and perform it live in the flesh. The universe had very different plans for me! I could have put the project on hold. I could have been content with a reading on Zoom. Instead, I used the moment as an opportunity to be brave. Although I still don’t know what the exact future is for Marry Jake GyllenhaalI know that I can reach far more people with my story than I would have originally had.
What are you waiting for?
Commit. Request assistance. Roll with the punches. The creative path is not for the faint of heart, but as Audrey Hepburn once said so wisely: “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I am possible.’ ”
Now do your movie!