Sunday, January 13, 2013

Why not just do it?

If you want to be a movie-maker, you have to make movies. It says so right there in the title. Since I started posting on my Facebook profile that I’m a (small-time hustling wannabe) screenwriter, I’ve had people that I know tell me they’re ‘into the same thing’; they have ideas for scripts, short films, documentaries and what have you- but, they say, ‘ I’m waiting for this’ and ‘waiting for that’, ‘I need some money,’ ‘I’m looking for funding’... Well, you’re not much of a filmmaker then. You’re a film-ideas-haver, which is not even a valid English word, so you don’t count.   
If you’re interested in making movies, then the only way to do it is to just do it! Make a movie, even though it will turn out badly; write a script, even though it will be unreadable; that’s how to get the ball rolling. Once you make something, you get into the system, you join the networks, and people get to know you and to send you relevant information or include you in their projects. This way, you’ll either grow as a filmmaker and achieve what you intend to achieve, or you’ll realize that the filmmaking thing is not for you, get the whole phase out of your system and spend more time pursuing what you deem more worthy- win/win, you see?
On the set of Once Upon A Rhyme, directed by Muriuki Erick
For those that say ‘Oh, my idea is too good to be done on no budget; I’m looking for funding, because my idea can’t work with some low-quality production...’ Well, if you’re such a pro with conceiving grand ideas, then come up with a simpler idea to start off with! Every filmmaker has their master project that they’re working towards, so you’re not superman/superwoman with your magnificent idea. You won’t get the resources to make your master project by being a film-ideas-haver because people give resources to filmmakers, not to people with grand ideas; combine these by becoming an actual filmmaker.

I know a lot of Kenyan film-ideas-havers have not attended any production training or film school, but that cannot be a problem- it’s 2013! Here are some tips that might help:
     1. Google University – film school is literally a mouse click away, and with the right information you can make a good quality film with what you have, no matter how little. Check out Film Riot, or other online film schools
For writers, check out John August’s blog, The Daily Script, and

     2. Get a camera – Borrow a camera, or a phone with a camera; you don’t need expensive gear, especially for your first indie project. 

     3.  Make something – Make a short film, a PSA, a commercial, a music video; anything complete. The whole process will be a learning process. Whatever you make will probably be so bad that you’ll feel the need to learn, grow, develop skills and never produce something so horrible again! 

      4. Get it out there – There are many ways to get your movie out, especially online. Apart from uploading content, you can enter it into film festivals in the East African region, or have it screened somewhere. Lola Kenya Screen Foundation organizes an annual children & youth film festival, and if your film can qualify for a screening, then you’re a pretty good filmmaker! The Kenya International Film Festival is a worthy challenge for an upcoming filmmaker; ‘international film festival screening’ on your resume or showreel is a big tchune. 

      5. Keep learning and growing – Don’t remain on the same level, or to make two movies that are on the same level; keep upping it!

      6. Stay in the network- Keep abreast with the industry so that you can be aware of opportunities for work and fun.

See, it’s not very complicated!

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