Being an indie filmmaker, or an independent filmmaker is certainly not a cakewalk. You have to find the script, sort out the budget, hire the crew, finalize your cast, prepare the shoot days, take care of the post-production, and submit your work to film festivals. Now, while doing that, you might think you will make it big. However, the chances are that you won’t be able to sustain yourself much. Buying a sandwich will be tough, let alone marrying and having a family. So, should you leave your dreams of being an independent filmmaker? No. There are ways through which you can support yourself, as well as your family while making independent films. Go through the following to help you in the process.
Get a Job in Films
There are a lot of skillful independent filmmakers who are confident of getting hired based on their art. The skills might be anything related to production, such as cinematography, production designing, ADing, sound mixing, editing, distribution, marketing, so on and so forth. Some might even get hired for office jobs like that of a script reader, entertainment lawyer, and development executive. Practically speaking, it’s next to impossible for someone to take time off their office schedule and make indie films. You wouldn’t find many people who would leave their careers to come up with an independent film. Hence, getting a permanent job based on your skills seems to be a practical solution.
Grab a Non-Film Job
Many people who have made it big in their acting careers, used to work as waiters at different eateries and restaurants. You might also want to try following their footsteps as you have the luxury of those flexible hours which you can utilize to make your indie film. Even if you need to leave your job temporarily to devote full time to your project, you can get a job at some other restaurant. That’s not an issue. You might have heard about the struggle of several filmmakers who worked as bartenders, delivery guys, and even valets.
If you need an office job, opt for some temp agencies. Several of them in Los Angeles are involved in the film business. Hence, this option is not bad as you can grab the opportunity of landing at the door of studios or other businesses concerning Hollywood. Filmmakers have also taken up jobs of freelance journalism, graphic designing, and Uber drivers. With that being said, you will come across filmmakers who have had secondary careers in fields that had no connection with the film business, yet they found time to come up with films quite frequently.
How About Being a Filmtrepreneur?
Filmtrepreneur has become quite a popular term since Alex Ferrari, a prominent indie filmmaker who coined it. He has used it several times in his books and podcasts. What does being a Filmtrepreneur mean? It refers to those independent filmmakers who manage to earn money by writing books and recording podcasts. Others sell merchandise or find ways to finance their careers. Dan Mirvish - a director, producer, screenwriter, and co-founder of the annual Slamdance Film Festival - mentions that he can sometimes be seen as a guest lecturer in cities where his film is being screened at a film festival. He also sells his books along the way to rake in some money.
In case you have to opt for one class aside from filmmaking in your college, then real estate is a fine option. A lot of independent filmmakers have taken interest in real estate and have been shrewd intelligent in their investments as well. Whether it’s buying an apartment at a cheaper rate and waiting for the price to reach half a million before selling it off, renting their cottages on Airbnb, or flipping their properties, they are doing these with absolute perfection. Some people have bought at least one apartment in every city they have worked in. Another option is to offer your house to serve as a location for commercials.
Most independent filmmakers sustain themselves by getting involved with gigs or street hustles. What you do for a living or in your free time, doesn’t matter. You are a filmmaker if you come up with films even once a year. That’s it.