“I Am A Nobody Filmmaker”
by Christopher J. Boghosian, (FollowMyFilm, Girlfriend 19)
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.
As a result of the internet, mass media, and proliferation of panel discussions and seminars, beginning filmmakers can now listen in on the conversation between film industry experts. Insider tips and wisdom are readily available, from casting celebrities to negotiating a VOD deal. It’s true: gurus sometimes discuss broad principles and concepts that apply to every level of filmmaking, but more often than not, there is a buried assumption in their discussion: that a filmmaker or their project has a considerable amount of credibility, hype or leverage. As a result, many of these conversations are inapplicable to nobody filmmakers who have no reputable name nor a film with high salability. Nevertheless, in our earnest search for success, us nobodies continue to invest a lot of time, energy and money on experts.
A beginning filmmaker can learn all about financing, film production, marketing and distribution, but if s/he has little or nothing to back it up with, what’s the point? Living in LA, I’ve met countless filmmakers trying to raise thousands of dollars, even millions, with very little to their credit. Who do they think they are? What other business or profession operates like that? Like every other profession, filmmakers must earn the right to ask for thousands of dollars. They must earn the right to mass market and distribute their film. In the end, most of these filmmakers discover that only their friends and family are willing to invest in them, since that is with whom they have earned trust.
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.
Coming to grips with my nobody-ness as a filmmaker has set me straight in many ways. Rather than attempt to make a great film and attain thousands of fans, my focus now is to continually make the very best films I can within my means. Additionally, I have come to realize that I am, in fact, a somebody to a few folks out there. Most are friends and family members who watch my films, read my blog, and anticipate my future work. Thus, as I continue to make films and develop my craft, I will, first and foremost, share with them. Rather than create my own Facebook Fan page, I will call and email them, letting them know what I’m up to. And, hopefully, if my films are any good, they’ll spread the word and, maybe, create a Fan page for me!
-Christopher J. Boghosian
Christopher J. Boghosian is an independent filmmaker in Los Angeles, California. His blog, FollowMyFilm.com, focuses on the emotional side of filmmaking as well as highlighting the progress of his first feature film, Girlfriend 19.