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Are You A Nobody Filmmaker ?

Filmmaker Christopher Boghosian has a great post up today at Truly Free Film. Titled, “I am a Nobody Filmmaker,” it’s not a self-pitying whine but rather a rational discussion of what a young and relatively unknown filmmaker can expect from the independent film marketplace as well as audience.

He writes:

I’m a nobody filmmaker: I don’t have a recognizable name nor a recognizable film. In essence, most of the world couldn’t care less about me nor my movies. This sounds pathetic, I know, but coming to grips with this reality has truly liberated me and provided an invaluable perspective on my work and career….

… The baker bakes, the architect designs, and the filmmaker must continually make films. What baker bakes one loaf of bread and asks for thousands of dollars to open a bakery? What architect designs one home and expects to have thousands of fans on Facebook? None. It’s ludicrous. As a nobody filmmaker, I have come to realize that I need to earn my right to ask people for their time and money. And the way to do that is by consistently making films, plain-and-simple.

In fact, even the desire to make a great film must be earned. An expert baker who has studied and worked for years would scoff at a novice attempting to develop a great loaf of bread. It takes years of trial-and-error, blood, sweat and tears to bake great bread. How is filmmaking any different? Why do so many beginning filmmakers strive to make a great film? It’s presumptuous and disrespectful toward the art and craft of filmmaking.

I’ve wanted to write something similar for a long time as a response to all the “business first” people out there who tell first-timers to crunch down with marketing and business plans before making their films — or those who filmmakers who don’t even try to make a film because they can’t figure out how it’s going to make money. Read Boghosian’s post and see how he’s dealt with being a nobody.

Lest you think I am being superior here, I’m not, because I readily identify with the humble quality of this post. In fact, last year I was talking to a filmmaker — a successful, prize-winning one with several features under his belt. He said, “I have learned to embrace my marginality.” The line stuck with me. It has been useful. Face it, none of us are making Transformers 3 — nor would many of us want to be. (Okay, it would be fun to do once…) By understanding where we really are in today’s media landscape, we can also understand where we want to be.

Or, as Oscar Wilde once said, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

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