It is quite common for filmmakers, even established ones, to fear the unknown or second guess their work, particularly when creating work who’s whole point is to be displayed for all to see. Fear, particularly for creative minds, can hinder artistic ability and destroy your filmmaking capability, leading to self-doubt and often the abandonment of a passion project. However, when your fear is debilitating, it is time to conquer it, so these tips for filmmakers are aimed to overcome your fears and give you a realistic, helpful process so you can keep creating.
Types of filmmaking fear:
First, let’s look at some of the types of fear that filmmakers commonly feel:
- Afraid of the unknown
- Afraid the film isn’t viable
- Afraid the audience etc. will dislike it
- Afraid you won’t do the subject justice
- Afraid you don’t have enough resources to get it done
- Afraid you’re underqualified or talentless
- Afraid of wasting your time
- Afraid of your work being unimportant
Sound familiar? This is obviously not an exhaustive list but you get the idea. So, what can you do about it when these less than encouraging thoughts start to creep in?
The best advice for filmmakers is that if you are starting to feel afraid, ask yourself these three questions and often, you’ll be able to identify the underlying cause for the fear (making it a lot less scary.)
- What is the direct result of this action/behaviour/route etc.? – Often, the fear of consequences can plague your decisions, particularly if you are prone to overthinking. Ask yourself if there is immediate or genuine danger to yourself, others or the project and then consider it rationally rather than spiralling.
- What are my motivations for doing this? – Remind yourself why you started this project and what led you This is easier if you have a memento or totem that you can look at, that acts as an intrinsic reminder.
- When did my fear start to manifest? – You’ll notice your fear building but many times there is a different reason that is being avoided. Is your fear directly related to what you are doing or has it built up from something else? Identifying it makes it easier to manage.
Fear is a natural part of life, it’s where the fight or flight response comes from and it is completely normal to be afraid, but it shouldn’t be debilitating. Accept that fears will pop up and that it’s healthy to be afraid as long as you keep going and you’ll find this is the boost for your filmmaking career you may have needed.
Surround Yourself With Support
When working on your film, create an excellent support network that you can confide in and bounce ideas off. Support can make you feel less alone and avoid the negative thoughts from impacting you too greatly, and talking about fear can help to quell them somewhat. Just ensure they are people whose opinion you can trust so that when they tell you not to be fearful, you’ll believe them.
Don’t Shy Away
Fear works best when it mounts, chipping away at you a little each day until you feel like you can no-longer complete your project. Don’t let this happen to you, show up each day and make your film despite your fear and you may well find it’s a better end result because of it.
Engaging with your fear and making sense of it makes it less scary so take these filmmaking tips on board to conquer your fears and avoid it putting a halt to your projects and career in the future.