If you’re passionate about something then you should find any excuse to do what you’re passionate about. It’s easy to focus on the infinite number of challenges that might lead you to say, “I want to do something, but I can’t because…” But all you need is one reason to do your passion and all the challenges just become part of the fun. From my experience, film is probably one of the mediums with the most challenges, and I worked around said challenges to win Campus Moviefest for the second year in a row.
Making a film is a huge process that cannot be underestimated, but many people I know let themselves fall victim to how they perceive the process and are sucked in to the bottomless pit of all the challenges and stress. “I need a better camera,” “I can’t make this film without a 20-person crew,” “I don’t know any actors,” “My parents aren’t rich enough to fund my dreams,” “blah, blah, blah!” Film is an art, art is a creative field, and creativity is finding new ways to adapt existing knowledge. Instead of looking at all of the challenges as reasons to why you can’t do something, look at them and find ways around them to adapt your ideas to the challenges–if you have a “cheapo” camera, find a way to include that feel in your film.
This semester I have taken on the challenge to make a substantially larger and more demanding film than I am use to, which is taking up almost all of my time and energy. I’m perfecting the script, scouting locations, casting actors, figuring out and acquiring lights, props, crew, etc. Amongst all of this planning (stress), I have been learning about lights in another class and got an itch to play around with some of the lighting equipment and shoot a film. I knew Campus Moviefest was approaching, so I took the opportunity to make a film for fun (“Das Mahn Bün“).
That’s right, while going through all of the effort to build up for the much larger film, I grabbed a couple friends and shot a film over a weekend and had a blast. Since all of my time and effort has been consumed by my main project, I knew I would not be able to do anything too crazy in the one short week that Campus Moviefest demands the film be made during. Other students told me they “don’t have the time to make another film” or “don’t have the right crew/equipment.” None of those are proper excuses. I made a film for Campus Moviefest last year with a crew of two (including myself) and one actor–it took three hours to shoot and made it into the Cannes Film Festival (“Vue de Moi“).
When I was checking some of the lights back in, I bumped in to one of my professors, he casually asked me what I had used the lights for, and I told him the truth, “I just wanted to make a film for fun.” His expression jumped as he began laughing and said something that shocked me; “What!? As long as I’ve been teaching, I’ve never heard a student say they made a film for fun…with no grade attached to it. You’re my hero!” I’m just baffled by that.
If someone loves painting, they will paint for fun even if they aren’t an art major. So why aren’t people that are film majors making films for fun? Based on my observations, it’s because they let themselves get trapped in the process and forget why they’re even making a film. So I challenge you–film major or not–grab what you have on hand or can borrow, get a couple friends, and plan a film that can be made with your current resources–you can do a lot with almost nothing. All you have to do is understand your limitations and use them to your advantage.