By: Kevon Pryce, Marketing Coordinator
Being a successful independent filmmaker in 2017 isn’t as easy as it may seem. But, finding yourself in the right place at the right time could make things a bit easier. Atlanta is now becoming known as the new and improved Hollywood, so there are plenty of opportunities in the Metro-Atlanta area. If you’re anything like me, you don’t have the funds to create the film or content you want, so this requires strategic finesse.
1. Don’t Quit Your Day Job to Become a Filmmaker!
Working as a creative in the industry—be it a director, producer, writer, or any position in film—calls for extraneous hours of your day. If you would like to make one or all of those titles a career in the future, do NOT quit your day job! There’s no rush! Instead, find a job that brings in the most money but has flexible work hours. Serving, bartending, freelance editing, videography, photography, or even a part time position with a high hourly rate would be optimal. There are always people looking for someone to shoot or edit their wedding reception, baby shower, networking event, or music video. This is very beneficial if you’re videographer that also knows how to edit. If you aren’t a videographer or editor, find a job that isn’t tiresome so you can make time to tend to writing, conceptualizing, and/or budgeting.
2. Find What Is Available Locally!
If you’re just getting started, Atlanta offers a myriad of classes, workshops, networking events, where you can learn all about independent films and meet people in the community currently working on projects. For example, the Atlanta Film Society holds monthly networking events titled Eat, Drink, & B-Indie and New Mavericks geared toward all things independent. Join film networking groups on Facebook to get a sense of what people in the Metro- Atlanta area are working on. Filmmakers are constantly casting actors, looking to fill positions on set, or looking to collaborate on projects. For more information on free and affordable film education and opportunities in Atlanta please refer to The Duct Tape Degree article!
3. Attend Film Festivals!
Attend local Film Festivals! You never know who you’re going to meet at a film festival. Georgia alone has dozens of film festivals! I attended the 2016 Atlanta Film Festival as a volunteer and now work for the organization. Since then I’ve learned countless tips and tidbits about filmmaking and was able to produce, write, and direct my first official short film all while completing my senior year of undergrad. Swinging the indie filmmaker lifestyle in Atlanta isn’t impossible, it’s mostly about time management and budgeting. There will be times where it’ll come down to deciding if getting drinks with your friends for the third weekend in a row is really worth missing out on a writing workshop.
4. Build Your Own Film Community.
You can’t do this alone. Start with friends or people you know that share the love for films and filmmaking or maybe some people you met at one of our networking events! Build your own little film community where you can brainstorm ideas, work on scripts, and create in general. This works because you’ll have a direct access to people you trust to let you know if your ideas SUCK. Yeah sorry, there are bad ideas. Now’s the time where a lot of content is being curated on various platforms so it’s time for you to get your slice of the pie!
5. Maintain Your Sanity.
Independent filmmaking will eat you alive. The constant rewrites, finding funds, casting, it can all be overwhelming. This could weigh on the creative process. Make sure you are not over exerting yourself while trying to make your next “masterpiece.”. Take the time out of each day where you’re not working or stressing about your film. Time away from creating is equally as important as the time spent creating. Again there’s no rush. With content being thrown at us left and right, we’re pressured to feel like we’re not working hard enough. Beauty takes time.
We know how frustrating it can be making a film in Atlanta. This is more like a guide, not the rules. Who knows? You can run into a producer while on MARTA and BOOM you’re on your way to making the best indie drama out of Atlanta in the past two decades, and you’re sitting next to Spike Lee at the Oscars for being nominated for Best Original Screenplay. This guide is only here to help you increase your chances.