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Hard Truths

“Hard Truths” by Brian Dannelly.

a) Clean your mess up. Get high too much? Hate your parents? Irresponsible? Can’t let go of your last relationship? Get a handle on these things. They will not serve you or your career well and you need every ounce of your being to do your best work.

b) Don’t hide behind the camera. Knowing everything about the camera and processing film is great but the most important part of your job as a director is working with actors. Take classes and be an actor.

c) Start writing your feature NOW: Just made an awesome short and you are in all the best festivals? It won’t mean a thing if you don’t have a feature project ready to go. So:

– Write two minutes a day and write badly.
– Don’t try to write a blockbuster. Write about what you know, then lie like crazy.
– Always write the kind of film that you want to see.
– REMEMBER: Your first draft is going to suck. Your first script will probably suck. You will spend more than double the time you spent writing the script on rewriting the script.
– Don’t talk about your script; write it. The more people who know all your cool ideas the less of a reason you have to write it.

d) Your short should convey your ability to direct actors, tell a story and reflect your visual style. It does not have to be the best short ever made.

e) You make films – you’re a filmmaker. The faster you believe this, the easier it will be to take all the risks and do all the work you need to do in the future. Become part of the greater film community.

f) Help your fellow filmmakers anyway you can. You’ll need their help when you make your film and the bigger the project, the more you’ll have to get used to collaboration and working with people you don’t know or like. MAKE YOUR PRODUCTION AS PROFESSIONAL AS POSSIBLE AND EXPECT THE SAME FROM YOUR TEAM. Show up on time, don’t bitch about your head cold or your f*cked up relationship, and support the director.

g) Get used to technology. It’s the future, don’t bore people with your love of the flatbed editing system or how you’ll never have a cell phone or a computer. There are enough things working against you make these tools work for you.

h) How do I know if I want to be a filmmaker? Don’t worry, if you’re not a filmmaker you won’t be able to do all the things you need to do to sustain a career. It’s brutal, humiliating, and impossible and there are no guarantees, not many people are that passionate about the work to face up to these assaults.

i) Know the business of filmmaking. I would suggest subscribing to Variety.com or Showbizdata.com to keep yourself updated. Know how to handle yourself in a room, what to wear and the art of being discreet. I highly recommend reading, “The Hollywood Rules” by Anonymous (available through Barnesandnoble.com).

About the Author: Brian Dannelly is a writer/director living in Los Angles. He graduated from the American Film Institute in 1999 and is currently directing his first feature with Single Cell Pictures. In addition, he and his writing partner, Michael Urban are about to go out and pitch two new screenplays, “Runner-Up” and “Phresh Start.” Dannelly can be reached via email at briandannelly@mac.co

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