It’s an unfortunate truth, at least for me, that talking yourself up is a huge part of the film industry. When talking to people within the inner circles they constantly want to know what you’re working on next, what’s your next project, your next script, your next idea. It’s all well and good saying here’s all the stuff I’ve done before, if you can’t follow that up by saying this is what I’m doing now, you’re going to fall behind. Which, as I find it rather difficult to big up my own ideas, is unfortunate for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I think my ideas are good. I wouldn’t work on something that I feel didn’t have potential, something that I didn’t think would make a great film but when it comes to telling people about it, nine times out of ten I manage to make it sound worse than the latest Transformers film. Okay, maybe not that bad but you get my point! I can never quite put my finger on what my problem is, I’m reasonable good with words and generally consider my self a confident person and yet something about telling a prospective partner about how great my new idea causes me to ramble and begin to doubt my own work.
I very much want my work to speak for itself, I like to write the script and let that do what my spoken words seem unable to do; tell the story, create an atmosphere and, hopefully, interest someone enough to offer us either help or money. As I mentioned in the first instalment, money is very important and investors will only give money to things they think are good. Crazy, right?
I found myself networking at the weekend just gone, after a great event where a couple of my latest films were screened. Afterwards it was all chit-chat over drinks. I met and was introduced to a lot of great people, had a few discussions about my own pieces of work and even got asked for a bit of advice from some younger people about being a young filmmaker. All I could tell them was to start was early as possible, making as many things as possible, something that I regret not doing. Woe is me aside, I’m in a pretty fantastic place as a newly graduated, young, independent filmmaking; having my first two professional films screened at the famous Pinewood Studios as well as having prospects to make my latest within the year.
With this next project we’re aiming higher in every sense and that means we need more money. Hence, why this evening was so important. Nobodies going to offer you a load of money right there and then for an idea you’re only telling them about, not unless you’re incredible lucky/ridiculously talented anyway, but it can lead to details being exchanged, advice being given and promise of further connections. With how ‘not great’ I am at networking I was happy to get anything.
Thankfully my producer knew a lot of people, and a few had already read the early drafts of my latest script, so along with that, and a couple of pints for dutch-courage, I was more than able to chat about my ideas. Safe in the knowledge that the people I was speaking to already knew the premise and liked it, I found it all a hell of a lot easier. Maybe it’s the ego boost that someone had complimented what I was talking about that gave me the confidence to keep going and get more enthusiastic.
What causes this problem, I’m not sure, maybe it’s because being enthusiastic about something and having someone shoot you down for it is a pretty horrible feeling, so I’ve developed an over cautious approach to my own work. Who knows? Whatever the reason, I better start working on it.
Cue montage of me confidently speaking to producers, studio execs and funders as they shower me in money like a stripper.