This might sound backwards, even nonsensical or illogical. But being overly passionate about your project can make you feel like every decision you make is the right one when, to be realistic, you can’t always get everything right. It’s simply a fact of filmmaking- and if anything it’s a fact of life.
This can be a matter of technicalities, like colour, light and sound; it can also be a matter of bad choices, like filming a project at the wrong time in your career. Perhaps the script you’ve put together isn’t as good as you think it is, and could do with a few more drafts. Or, you could have picked the wrong people to play your characters. It can be surprisingly difficult to work with friends, especially when it comes to dividing any hard earned income.
Passion breeds over-ambition
If you’re overly passionate about your project, you might be biting off more than you can chew. This is because it can be surprisingly difficult to get your vision off the ground, not just because of time and effort, but because of cost. Visions can be uncompromising, especially if you’re as convinced of your own project as the person above.
But visions can also cost a lot of money. If a particular shot requires a particular lens, you might justify buying it because of your certainty that your film will be a success. Ditto a lighting setup, a bigger and more established name for your lead role, a filming location hundreds of miles away… Pretty soon, though, those costs start to add up and make it exceptionally difficult for you to make anything back from your project. There’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple, and maybe once you’ve established your career in film making, you can revisit your project with Tom Cruise and eye-popping CGI.
Passion isn’t a rare commodity that will set you apart
Believe it or not, almost everyone trying to carve out a career in filmmaking has passion. And that’s almost unique: if you work as an HR manager and you’re genuinely passionate about what you do, then you better believe that it sets you apart. But what students searching for film studies jobs often don’t realise is that putting ‘filmmaker with passion’ on your CV is akin to putting ‘filmmaker who breathes air’ or ‘filmmaker that requires food’.
If you’re in too deep, you’ve probably just told yourself ‘That may be true, but I’m especially passionate about what I do.’ And this isn’t intended as an insult, but you’re not. We all love what we do, and would like to do it as a career. Many people before you have been there and bought the T-shirt. A good proportion of them found that after all was said and done, a career in film making wasn’t ideal or wasn’t possible for them.
In summary, no great film or career in film will run on passion alone. Passion is merely one of the essential ingredients, but there are many more on the list to succeed as a filmmaker.