Why Play the Filmmaking Lottery?

20 Apr

Thanks to the accessibility of digital filmmaking equipment, anyone can be a “filmmaker” these days; however, this has not changed the filmmaking profession. Statistically speaking, earning a living as a filmmaker is exceptionally difficult, a fact I was recently reminded of in a great article by Paul Harrill.  Regardless of technological advances, it is still incredibly difficult to earn a living making movies.  In fact, some argue it’s actually more difficult today, due to the proliferation of films saturating the market.

As a result, while I embark on my film project, I periodically ask myself if it’s worth the effort.  No matter how simple I keep the production, it will invariably cost me a lot of time and money.  In other words, making this film is a big investment.  A few years ago, I was a student at a top-tier law school.  No doubt, it was a huge financial and time investment.  However, I presumably was guaranteed a lucrative and empowering degree, so the investment made sense.  On the other hand, even the best of films go unnoticed, leaving talented filmmakers broke and unemployed.

So why do it?  Why play the filmmaking lottery?  It’s definitely not the glitz and glamor or the possibility of making millions.   It’s not even the excitement.  The only thing I can think of is personal reward.  That may sound selfish, but I can’t imagine any other profession fulfilling me more than making films.  I’d love to say my main motive is to change the world and help people, but that would be a lie.  I make films because I really enjoy it, plain-and-simple.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to make this film and I want to make the most of it while enjoying the process.  And if I do, I believe I inevitably will give back and help others, because those who do what they enjoy infuse the world with lots of beauty and goodness.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this subject!

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6 Responses to “Why Play the Filmmaking Lottery?”

  1. Rae April 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

    CJ~ They say Art is free but it costs you Everything you’ve got. U deplete ur wallet, spends endless hours alone creating, opting not 2 have much of a social life, takes your mind and physical energy yet, gives u back more fulfillment than anything u could ever buy if u had 10billion dollars. :) Keep On

    • Christopher April 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

      Very well put, Rae. You of all definitely understand….

  2. Chuck Norton April 20, 2010 at 6:23 am #

    Great post Chris.

    I also think it’s personal. But not selfish. It’s the artists desire – no, need – to express them-self.

  3. Miguel N. April 20, 2010 at 1:53 am #

    I just saw a commercial on a Mexico City’s TV channel.
    The commercial portrayed my favorite photographer Graciela Iturbide. It showed her looking at her negatives and walking the streets with her camera. Also, some of her amazing pictures appeared on screen.
    In a voice over she said that all she cares about is to keep up with her passion, to let the pictures arrive at the right moment, and to enjoy what she does. She said “I’m Graciela Iturbide, I do photography, and I’m very happy”. I saw the joy in her face when she said that. She is 68 years old.
    How great is to grow and live doing what you love?
    That’s like winning the lottery!

    • Christopher April 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

      I love that, Miguel. Thanks!!!! Absolutely captures what I’m talking about….

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