If you’re not tenacious then don’t become a filmmaker. Yup, you heard me. Forget about reading this amazing article written by yours truly, just stop reading right now and start looking for a new career.

Filmmaking is a lot more work than you’d think. And if you aren’t a tenacious person by nature then start building this quality in your life if you want to keep pursuing film, cuz you’re gonna need it.

If you’re still reading then here’s a few other things to think about before you continue pursuing filmmaking as a career – especially independent film.

1. STABILITY – IT’S NON-EXISTENT

Filmmaking is anything but stable. You’ve got a steady job for the life of a film or a season of a TV show and then after that you’re unemployed again. Not only is the job stability non-existent but depending on where the job is, you may end up moving to new cities or even countries. So if you are a homebody then it’s best you reconsider a career in film, because you may even find yourself sleeping on the floor in some remote place of the earth for a couple month’s film shoot.

2. LONGEST HOURS EVER – SHORTEST TURNAROUNDS

Say goodbye to your personal time and the consistency of time off. Working in film means you can’t really plan a life outside of set. You’re on your feet for hours and hours, asked to stay as quiet as possible and move at the speed of light to set up for new shots. It’s like living at the airport and the hurry up and wait.

The worst is, you rarely know what time you’re supposed to be back on set the next day until the wee hours of the night when the call sheet comes out. So if you’re expecting a nine-to-five type of living then you may want to consider a new career.

3. COMFORT ZONE – SAY GOODBYE

Don’t like bugs? Want to do the creative stuff like creating costumes, etc? Be prepared to handle bugs – because you never know when that’s gonna be your job on set. True story, happened to a friend of mine. Just think – cockroaches everywhere. Yum.

I had to learn to talk on the phone to strangers, to nod my head and say, “Yep, I can do that, no problem.” Even when I had no clue as to what I was doing. If you’re someone that likes a lot of encouragement and feedback in your creativity just be prepared that it’s not something you find in the film industry. People expect you to do your job regardless of whether or not you know how or not. It’s a no excuses type of world. But even in this setting, you get to work in a team of people that can help you. #teamworkmakesthedreamwork

4. DEMANDS MORE OF YOU THAN YOU’D THINK

You already know film’s gonna take more of your time than you’d thought, but it’s gonna take even more energy. You will often get put into a situation where you have to do something you may be uncomfortable with, or just plain don’t know how to do. And in most cases you can’t really ask how to do something because otherwise someone would already be doing it. Time is money on set. It’s kinda like Miranda from The Devil Wears Prada, “Bore someone else with your questions.” I’m not saying this is a good thing, but it happens. So be ready to find an answer no matter what.

5. YOU NEED TO BE INNOVATIVE – THINK BIG

Coming back to that no excuses mentality. This is where you gotta think big. It may mean you have to find a pear for your department head even when there are no pears to be found, it may mean that you as an independent filmmaker needs to figure out how to do a massive car crash scene with no budget. Whatever it is, working in film requires you to think big and get creative with finding these solutions.

If you’re not someone who enjoys being pushed and prodded, forced out of your comfort zone and into high stress situations all over the world then film may not be for you. For the rest of you welcome to a crazy community – now go make something awesome!

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  • Charis Joy Jackson

    Producer, Director, Writer, Actress

    Charis Joy Jackson is a writer, director, producer and teacher working with The Initiative Production Company. During the day she makes movies and in her spare time is writing a novel. She's a self-proclaimed nerd who wishes she could live in Hobbiton. You can follow her on Instagram @charisjoyjackson

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