Filmmaking Sucks: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Quit

Filmmaking can be a never-ending uphill battle, but before you let yourself barrel-roll all the way down into a normal 9-5, ask yourself these important questions.

How hard is filmmaking? 

I’ll let that marinate.

Seriously, how hard is filmmaking? My answer: so hard that it sucks…but only sometimes…but a lot.

The physical, emotional, and psychological demands are almost as bad as the no’s, the hell no’s, and the oh hell no’s, gang, and if you’ve been on this rollercoaster from hell and are ready to get the fuck off the ride, I’mma need you to settle for a sec, take a breath, and watch this very important video.

Film Riot’s Ryan Connolly talks with Indy Mogul’s Ted Sim about how he’s managed to stay in the game for over a decade despite the fact that, yeah, filmmaking can really suck sometimes.

Isn’t Ryan Connolly just a gem? He is. For real.

Your journey as a filmmaker doesn’t have to look like those of your cinematic heroes, pros you respect…or like anything you’ve ever seen before.

I think that’s the thing: we want so badly to be successful, but our definition of success so often reads so much like the success of others.

Why? 

It’s your success, friend, whether it consists of you finishing your screenplay or accepting an Oscar. 

So you’re there, not being “as successful” as other people, and you’re bummed. You’re nowhere near where you want to be as a filmmaker and the entire process, with all the planning, writing, shooting, and sitting alone in a dark room editing for months is starting to…it’s starting to fucking suck. And you’re ready to throw in the towel.

Okay, I understand. No one wants to do stuff that sucks. I don’t. However, before you quit for good, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you put in the work?: Connolly sent 200 letters to get one single job in filmmaking. How many letters have you sent?
  • Is there another option?: Got an engineering degree? Know how to fix cars? Is there anything else that would make you as happy and passionate as filmmaking makes you?
  • Have you tried helping?: Films are made with favors, but maybe instead of asking for them, you should be offering them.
  • Do you actually believe in yourself?: Do you think you can actually do this filmmaking thing? If you do, then don’t quit.
  • Do you hate filmmaking?: We all hate it sometimes, but I mean, do you hate filmmaking altogether and all the time. Are you ready to drop it like a bad habit?

Hopefully, the video and these questions have helped you learn a little bit about yourself as a filmmaker. If you’re still on the fence, I’d suggest spending a season being as disciplined as you possibly can. It’s the secret creative weapon that so many filmmakers don’t utilize. 

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