5 Key Lessons for Successfully Pursuing your Dream as a Filmmaker

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Last week we had the opportunity to speak at the North Dakota Home School Association’s convention and give two workshops on film and photography. It’s always great being able to talk about something I’m passionate about!

In this session, I wanted to cover the roadmap of how I got started as a filmmaker, the lessons I learned through doing so, and how you too can get started, get clients, and start on your way to pursuing your dream as a filmmaker.

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The Outline:

A. My Story (How I Got Started)
– How I got started, my struggles, and finally quitting the other jobs and going full time into film (and then having to try and get on my feet).

B. The Key Lessons I’ve Learned

  1. Do life, work hard

    – Filmmaking is all about the normal, everyday-life things. If you can’t do them well now, you won’t then either.

  2. Don’t Give Up, But Don’t Be Afraid to do Something Else

    – It’s hard. Some days it feels like you’ll never succeed. Don’t give up.
    – Do what you’re bound by duty to do – take care of your family first.

  3. Think Differently (And Outside The Box)

    – You can’t make money filmmaking if you’re doing it the same as everyone else.
    – Promotional media is (almost) guaranteed money. Even if you plan to make features at some point, it’s the best way to learn and grow, make connections, etc.

  4. It’s Business, So Treat It Like One

    – If you don’t treat it as a business, you’ll fail. It’s the details that count.
    – Separate your bank accounts.
    – Keep track of income/expenses.
    – Charge what you’re worth.

  5. You Need Others

    – Filmmaking isn’t something you can do alone (most of the time). Use the strengths of others to make up for your lack.
    – Networking is key. It’s all about who knows you.

C. How You Can Do It Too

– How to start.
– How to start getting clients.



What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as you’ve grown as a filmmaker?


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Follow Andrew Bartlett:

Director - MWCFA

Andrew Bartlett is one of the co-founders of Bartlett Productions, a small media company based out of northern North Dakota. He has a passion for serving Christ through the visual arts and has had the opportunity to work on a number of films as well as produce marketing materials for businesses and organizations. Andrew is also the Director of the Midwest Christian Filmmakers Academy, where aspiring filmmakers can learn the craft in a hands-on way.