We’ve all been in the position where we don’t want to work no matter what, even on the things we’re passionate for! A lot of times you can go off to a great start, but after a week or two you just lose it. Don’t you wish there were a couple of different things you could do to keep yourself motivated as an artist? Here are a couple of different things you can try.
1. Start Small
If you try to take on a major project at once, it might be difficult to manage if you haven’t had any previous experience. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training would you? If you’re planning on setting up a production that will involve actors, extras, sound guys and the whole nine yards, it might be overwhelming if you haven’t had too much experience with that. Start small with a film that you can do completely on your own like a video blog or an informative video. This will take minimal research and get your feet wet on handling a camera, light and audio set up and maybe even writing a small script for it.
2. Consistency is Key
The more times you do something over a long period of time you’ll make a habit of it. Start by getting your camera and shooting at least 5 minutes of footage every day. Something like a time-lapse or long exposure shots will keep things interesting as you do it, and your friends will want to see what you did. Begin a 30-day challenge where you consistently find different angles, lighting and speed in which you shoot a particular scene. After the 30 days, you can review the footage, chose your favorite shots and begin to edit them to make a nice short film.
3. Overthinking Hurts
As a filmmaker, you’re looking for ways to get that perfect shot, with the perfect lighting and the perfect audio. Some of the times, you’ll have everything align in the way you want it to, but other ways you won’t be so lucky. The great thing about filmmaking is that it’s undefined and you can bend most of the rules to obtain what you want. Don’t get stuck in the cycle where you’re afraid of making a creative decision because you think you’ll be stuck in it forever. You’ll have to make a lot of these since the final product never really ends up being exactly like the initial idea. Just make the decision and keep moving forward
4. Risk It to Get the Biscuit
In a film, you want to push yourself to stand out from other filmmakers. As you develop your own style and begin forming your identity as a filmmaker, there will be a point where you can try something new or you can follow procedure and get the expected result. If you’re not afraid to try different things and completely go against the rules every now and then, you’ll be ahead of the game. In an industry saturated with recycled ideas, something new and bold will be at the front of the line and you will get the attention.
5. Find a Creative Buddy
Another fantastic way to keep yourself accountable for creating the projects you want to. When you surround yourself with like-minded people you will be in a creative environment by that alone. Whether you’re collaborating or just motivating each other, it’s extremely important to have someone who’s opinion you respect and you know they will be objective about what you ask them about.
6. Meet Your Hero, Become Your Hero
Finding a mentor within your field will become one of your greatest assets as an artist. By being around someone else who is ahead of you in their profession, you will gain a lot of practical advice and get a good sense of what to expect as you further your career. It might take some time finding this person, and if you’re asking yourself, “Where do I even begin?” here are some tips on finding a mentor:
- Search – When you are trying to find these people, know where to look. You probably won’t find a graphic designer inside a laboratory. Not to say that there aren’t any of them there, but you get the idea. You’ll want to find an environment where like-minded people are connecting. Art galleries, concerts, comedy shows and many other places are likely to have creative people. Think outside the box when finding the places where you’ll run into these people. If you have to research them online, with boundaries of course, do so! Whatever gets you to your goal, try it.
- Offer value – The person you look up to get advice from probably has more than one person asking them to do the same. By offering some sort of value, you will be above the rest of the applicants. You can offer value in many ways, for example, offering to do menial tasks just to be around them while they work. Even if it takes scrubbing floors or running errands for them they will see you’re willing to work for their valuable time.
- Be bold – In an industry where there is so much competition, you can’t be shy. You need to be able to put yourself out there in a way where they’ll actually see you. If you’re the guy waiting in line to meet him as opposed to being the guy who finds a way backstage, you won’t really get many opportunities. Be willing to risk your pride and being a little embarrassed for the greater good of your career.
- Be honest – When you finally get that person in front of you, don’t try to lie and set unrealistic expectations just to try to have an in with them. Be honest about what you’re intentions are (which should be to learn from them) and have a good attitude towards anything they give you. Even if they refuse, you thank them for the time, but don’t give up. Keep trying and don’t take now for an answer – within boundaries of course.
7. Never Be Comfortable
The film industry is saturated with the same washed up storylines and techniques. Once you’ve figured out your voice in film, it’s important to continue to push that boundary and try new things. Filmmaking is an ever-evolving art form, and there are no rules to it. By breaking or bending the general rules given in the film, you will be able to discover innovative techniques that will raise the quality of your film. Once you’ve mastered a technique, don’t rely on using it so much. Move on to learning new ways to tell your story.
8. Set Deadlines
A responsibility as a filmmaker is to manage a team of people and stick to a schedule. When planning your project, set realistic deadlines and stick to them. Even if you feel you’re not 100% ready to begin, move forward with the deadline originally set. This will help you tremendously in keeping an organized, well-done production. In addition, it will make it easier to convince people to work with you. When they see you’re on top of things and have developed the skill of scheduling, they will have more confidence in entrusting you to direct them.
9. You Will Forget, Write It Down
Getting into the habit of writing things down will drastically improve consolidating ideas and making them real. Even if it’s the simplest idea, write it down. Keep notes on your phone, computer, and notebook or wherever you can to keep track of progress and development on that initial idea you had. By staring at it long enough, you will most likely add to it. If you’re not so much into writing, any sort of way to keep track of the idea will help, for example, recording a voice memo, drawing a storyboard or taking a photograph of something that will remind you of it. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something you can measure and keep track of consistently.
10. Celebrate the Small Victories
The most important thing to remember is to celebrate the small things. Although we always want to constantly improve ourselves, and we don’t want to dwell on our own success, we need to give credit where credit is due. Even if it’s crediting ourselves. Whether it be successfully following through a deadline, drawing a storyboard or picking up the camera for a small time lapse, be proud of it. Every small task will add on to furthering your career.
These are just a couple of steps you can take to give you enough momentum to build bigger and better projects. Remember to keep yourself accountable and try to move forward with these steps to keep yourself creatively motivated.