I've spent the last three years of my life trying to unpack this question.
In that time, I've found a few useful, but counterintuitive answers.
But perhaps the most surprising insight was this one...
Instead, the difference is deceptively simple. It lies in your daily habits and routines. It lies in your ability to set goals and achieve them. It all comes down to doing the right work, consistently.
So here's my promise: You can build the filmmaking career you've always wanted. You can make a living doing what you love. It won't always be easy, and it won't happen overnight. But it's absolutely, 100% possible. And I'm going to show you how, step-by-step.
Robert Hardy here, but you can just call me Rob.
I'm the creator of the fine course you're reading about. I'm also an independent filmmaker who's been lucky enough to write for and be featured in some of the largest filmmaking sites on the internet.
When I got out of film school, I thought I had everything I needed to start building my ideal career.
Boy was I wrong.
Sure, I had some basic technical skills. I had a few short films under my belt that I would use as "calling cards" to get jobs in the industry. I even had a small network of filmmaking friends who were ready to take on the world with me.
"In a few years, I bet I'll be shooting super cool feature films in NYC," I told myself.
Me in film school, excited and enthusiastic about the future, and in dire need of a hair cut...
In truth, after those few years passed, I was still in Denver, working PA gigs on dumb reality shows, shooting bland talking-head corporate videos that barely covered my rent, and generally not progressing towards my goals in any meaningful way.
I was stuck.
It turns out that despite some formal education, I wasn’t prepared for the real world. And I had no clue how to move from where I was to where I wanted to be.
That's when I started really digging into filmmaking books and blogs and magazines, and listening to a ton of podcasts. "Surely," I thought, "these will fill in any knowledge gaps that film school didn’t prepare me for!”
And frankly, that strategy only made things worse.
Not only did I become a bit obsessed with staying up to date with the latest gear (none of which I could afford), but I also started to compare myself to all of the "successful" filmmakers that all the blogs and magazines love to write about.
On top of that, no one was sharing any information about how to systematically work your way towards the career you want. Sure, there were occasional tips like "grow your network" or "keep working on your craft," but let's be honest, random tips are not a comprehensive plan for how to succeed.
I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating that was. There was a sense that I was trapped, and that my filmmaking dreams wouldn't ever amount to anything more than low-level video production gigs.
And it was then that I nearly gave up on filmmaking forever. More about this later...
All of this frustration got me thinking.
If film schools aren't really teaching filmmakers how to succeed, and if blogs and magazines and podcasts aren't helping much either, then what should aspiring filmmakers do?
The answer is, they need to figure all of this important stuff out for themselves.
And in the eight years I've been immersed in the world of indie film, I've seen filmmakers try all sorts of things to achieve the success they desire:
You already know this, but none of those things lead to successful, sustainble careers.
Instead, they lead aspiring filmmakers to spin their wheels and get nowhere for months, years, even decades at a time.
Trust me, I did a lot of these things, and ended up in a bad place as a result of it. And I've seen countless filmmaking friends and acquaintances fall prey to all of the same mistakes.
Now, does this mean that people who want to make a comfortable living as filmmaker should just give up because everything is hopeless?
Hell no it doesn't. In fact, I truly believe that any filmmaker—regardless of skill, age, financial status, or anything else—can build the exact career they want.
Let's take a step back for a moment.
Sure, none of those tactics I shared above lead to success. But you already know that.
In fact, I'm guessing you already know exactly what you need to do to make the next big leap in your career.
Information isn't your problem. Thanks to the internet, we all have access to more useful information than ever before, and most of it is free!
Yet for a lot of us, that information isn't giving us the edge we need. It's not helping us make consistent progress towards our goals.
The underlying truth here is that usually, your biggest obstacle—the thing that’s holding you back most from your ideal film career—isn’t a lack of knowledge or strategy.
It’s your own psychology. It’s you.
In my own experience (and with lots of the filmmakers I’ve worked with and coached) when it comes to making progress in our lives and careers, we’re our own worst enemy.
And, of all the bad mental habits that hold us back, there are two destructive stories that we tell ourselves that are responsible for much of our inaction.
These stories are basically a mental roadblock to getting shit done and making progress.
To be successful in our careers, we must destroy them.
Have you ever said to yourself, “I’ll be ready for the next big leap in my career as soon as I have [fill in the blank]”
Maybe it’s a new piece of gear. Maybe it’s a technique or skill you have to learn. Maybe it’s something psychological like confidence or motivation.
“Once I’ve got that,” you tell yourself, “then I’ll be ready to do great things!”
Then a funny thing happens. As soon as you acquire that knowledge, that piece of gear, or improve your psychology, you instinctively look for the next thing to learn, the next thing to buy.
It’s a completely natural thing to do. We’re evolved to collect and store things. That’s what our distant ancestors had to do in order to survive, and those genetics are still part of us.
Now here’s where things get a little dangerous. It actually feels productive to consume and collect. It feels like we’re making progress when we learn new things and buy stuff. That spike of dopamine we get from buying something new makes us feel great, at least for a brief moment.
That’s why it’s so easy to get stuck in a pattern like this. We consume and collect, consume and collect, all the while feeling good and thinking we’re doing something worthwhile.
Don’t be fooled. This is just procrastination in disguise.
We’re using a disproportionate amount of our energy on consuming and collecting stuff, and not investing nearly enough into doing the work that will move our careers forward.
And the more we train ourselves to consume—the more it becomes habitual—the harder it becomes to produce.
If we’re not careful, it can turn into a never-ending hamster wheel of doom.
If any of this sounds like you, don’t worry. I still struggle with this pretty much every day.
By our very nature, we’re designed to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. It’s one of those biological functions that at one time served to keep us alive.
But at the same time, shifting your energy from consuming to producing is one of the secrets to having a great film career. It’s not as sexy or fun as buying new stuff. But it’s damn effective.
In fact, I’m willing to bet that you could make an insane amount of progress towards your career goals in the next 90 days with the exact knowledge and gear you have right now. You just need to focus your energy on the right kind of activities.
And that’s exactly what you’ll learn to do in the Filmmaker's Guide to Success. It’s going to get you out of consumption mode and into a routine where you consistently tackle your important work every day.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First we’ve got another myth to tackle. Onward!
Have you ever looked at a successful filmmaker, whether it’s a Hollywood hotshot like George Lucas or an indie darling like Mark Duplass, and thought to yourself, “Well of course they were successful! They had [fill in the blank] advantage!”
Maybe it’s that they’re insanely talented. Or they came from a wealthy family. Or they’re naturally outgoing and great at networking. Or they were in the right place at the right time. Whatever.
These thoughts might be true—some people do have advantages in life—or maybe they’re not. Doesn’t really matter.
The only truth that matters is that when you start thinking this way, it makes you less likely to succeed.
Because when you start thinking about the advantages others have, it’s easy to justify why you aren’t as successful as they are, and why you never will be. It’s a way for us to protect our ego and feel better about our current position in life.
And there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable with where we currently are. We’re all on different paths and at a different place in our journey. Nothing wrong with that.
But when we view ourselves as being less privileged or gifted than other filmmakers, it robs us of our ability to author our future. It makes us feel like our potential is less than theirs because we don’t have the same advantages.
Not only is that not useful, it’s just not true.
Based on what I’ve seen and experienced, great film careers aren’t reserved for the wealthiest, luckiest, or most talented.
Instead, they’re reserved for those who are willing to think strategically, put in the consistent hard work, and be really damn persistent.
If you can do those three things, I guarantee you can build whatever kind of film career you want.
Whether you want to make it in Hollywood, build a successful production company, or make your living with indie films. All of it is possible, for anyone reading this.
Yeah, it’ll be easier to get ahead if you’re super talented, or if you’ve got money, or if you’re great at networking.
But not having those things isn’t a deal breaker.
It just means you’ll have to work a little bit harder. But when you’re doing hard work in pursuit of a career you love, it’s totally worth it.
So with all of that said, my two questions for you today are…
If you answered yes to both of those, keep reading.
Earlier in this letter, I mentioned that after years of frustration and spinning my wheels, I nearly gave up on filmmaking entirely.
In fact, I actually did give it up for awhile.
I was so burned out and depressed with my lack of traction, that I decided to make my living as a freelance writer, at least while figuring out what to do with my life.
And here’s the sad part, making a living as a writer was equally as frustrating!
I had a few steady clients, but my income was still low and inconsistent. And because of that, my motivation waxed and waned, and most days I wouldn’t write anything at all.
It was around this time that I hit my lowest point.
At the time, I happened to be reading Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Quick side note: if you’ve never read that book, stop what you’re doing and grab a copy. It might just change your life, like it did mine.
Anyhow, Pressfield talks about the idea of how “turning pro” is the key to making real progress. And one of the defining characteristics of a pro is that they show up every single day to do their work.
In other words, pros have a bulletproof, unbreakable routine at the center of their life.
They don’t rely on motivation or inspiration. Pros just show up and do the work every day.
“Well that’d be great,” I thought. “But I could never build such a rigid daily routine. I just don’t have the discipline to stick with it.”
And then I came across this passage, on page 101. It's actually an entire chapter by itself.
"There is no mystery to turning pro. It’s a decision brought about by an act of will. We make up our minds to view ourselves as pros and we do it. Simple as that."
I don’t know why, but that simple paragraph, just 34 words, hit me like a ton of bricks.
It was an epiphany. I could choose to turn pro. I could choose to wake up the next morning and do my work. Then I could choose to do it the following day, and so on.
There was a clear choice in front of me. Turn pro, or continue spinning my wheels and disliking my life.
It wasn't a difficult choice.
So I started writing every day—just 10 minutes to start—first thing in the morning. I wrote whether I felt like it or not. And most days, I didn’t feel like it, but I put my ass in front of the keyboard, and I pushed through the discomfort.
And no, it wasn’t some magical immediate transformation, because life doesn’t work that way. But it’s also not an understatement to say that within two or three months, my life began to change for the better.
This daily routine is the reason my freelance writing career took off. It’s the reason that I no longer go to bed with that nagging “I should have accomplished more today” feeling. And above all, it’s the reason I have confidence that I can achieve anything I want in the world of writing, film, or whatever else.
I didn’t stop learning after those initial months either.
Increasingly, I found myself interested in psychology and behavioral economics, and how we can create positive changes in our lives without all of the cliché self-help guru crap that’s floating around on the internet.
As my bookshelf began to fill up, and as I began to apply these powerful concepts to my life—routines, habits, goals, the 80/20 principle, emotional resilience, etc—I continued to make progress in ways I never had before.
And I started wondering, if all of this works so well for a writer, why not a filmmaker?
In December of 2015, I started getting back into the world of filmmaking after my little break.
I also founded a site called The Filmmaker's Process (now called Filmmaker Freedom), to figure out an answer to that question I asked earlier...
Why are some filmmakers insanely successful, while others spend years spinning their wheels and getting nowhere?
Like I mentioned, I've interviewed hundreds of filmmakers since then.
Some have been incredibly successful—as Hollywood editors and DPs, as production company owners, as commercial filmmakers, and as indie film entrepreneurs.
Others have been less successful—doing many of the same things that kept me stuck and spinning my wheels back in the day.
I took what I learned through these interviews and started applying it to my own journey as a filmmaker.
Turns out, these ideas not only work in the context of filmmaking, but they work exceptionally well.
It was around this time that I started sharing this stuff with a few of my closest filmmaking friends. I wanted to see if it could help my film peeps as much as it had helped me.
One of my friends, who had been struggling for a year to build his fledgling production company, started a new daily routine around prospecting for clients and reaching out to them. In three months, he was booked solid and had a waiting list of good clients.
Another friend, newer to the world of filmmaking and anxious about actually making stuff, started producing one new “micro film” every two months. Now she has a cushy job doing video work for an agency in Denver. She’s also developing a few cool passion projects on the side, and couldn’t be happier.
In my own life, I began writing and working on films again. Not with an eye towards film industry success—because that's not a path that interests me anymore—but instead with a focus on making work I'm proud of, building an audience, and making my living independently.
And sure enough, with my new path through filmmaking, and my new emphasis on routine, I've been able to write 15 films and counting, build an engaged email list, and learn valuable new skills like producing, sound design, and marketing.
None of this is to say that I'm a wildly successful filmmaker now. That would be a convenient thing to say on a sales page like this, but it wouldn't be true. And I don't roll like that.
Instead, I'm just a regular dude who's passionate about making films and learning new things. And I'm using what I've learned to finally make real, measurable progress towards my own definition of "filmmaking success."
And that's the reason we're here right now. I'm 100% confident these strategies can help any filmmaker who's wants to get unstuck and make real progress of their own.
From all of this research, which I've been doing for about 3 years now, I found that there are just a few key things that will help you as a filmmaker make the progress you’re looking for.
Seriously, that’s it. None of this stuff is particularly complicated, and I didn’t invent any of it. There’s no “magic bullet” here, and none of this will solve all of the problems in your life at the snap of a finger.
Instead, it’s just about giving you a framework to build your film career. It’s about directing more of your energy to the things that matter, the things that work, and less of your energy towards the things that don’t.
That’s not to say any of it is easy. Far from it. Like everything worthwhile in life, this requires hard work and dedication. Nothing will be handed to you.
But I promise this stuff works.
It works if you’re just starting out in film. It works if you’re trying to break into the film industry or move up the ladder. It works if you’re an indie filmmaker. And it works if you’re a freelancer or a production company owner.
Regardless of what you want to accomplish as a filmmaker, this simple system can get you there. It can put an end to the frustration, and help you make progress toward the career of your dreams.
With all of that said, I’d like to show you what I’ve been working on this year.
The lessons in the Filmmaker's Guide to Success are plenty valuable on their own, but it's the extras that make this course one of a kind. Let's take a look:
No good online course would be complete without a thriving community, and the one I've built for this course is among the very best. You can chat in real time with fellow students (and myself), or you can message people directly for 1-on-1 conversations. We're a helpful bunch, and we'll make sure you stick to your goals.
Knowledge isn't worth anything until you take action and start using it. That's why each lesson has an "interactive workbook" embedded directly below the content. The questions in said workbooks are designed to get you thinking—and applying—these principles to your unique situation. Plus you can use them to ask me questions about the lesson. It's pretty freakin' cool.
An immense amount of research went into this course, and I want you to have access to all of the same sources I used to build it. While the lessons themselves are condensed and actionable, if you really want to dig deeper, I've made it much easier to go down the rabbit hole. You can thank me later.
There are close to 200 silly gifs in the Filmmaker's Guide to Success. No joke. Well, it's kind of a joke, but that's the whole point!
"This course absolutely rocked. I've been waiting for something holistic and substantial in helping succeed as a filmmaker, rather than tired 'ol lighting and camera setup tutorials. This is the best comprehensive filmmaking guide I've seen."
-Samuel Neff, Filmmaker from Portland, OR
"I loved the enthusiastic, honest and never overbearing tone, as well as well-curated and written content. Most such courses get on my nerves, but this felt like a super knowledgeable friend helping you with a range of things that are rarely talked about."
-Katrina Brown, Filmmaker from Scotland
"I think that every filmmaker should take the course. There are golden nuggets throughout that I probably would have never heard otherwise. And overall, I feel that I now have tools and strategies to be successful."
-James Drake, Filmmaker from Waverly, VA
"You know when you have a bit of a lightbulb moment, and you want to get up off your seat, pace around the room and call someone? I had several of those reading the daily Filmmaker's Guide. I found that it really gave me a confidence boost, and great insights and framing I'd not had before."
-Elizabeth Mizon, Filmmaker from Bristol, UK
"This course gave me confidence that it's actually possible. I have almost no experience in filmmaking, and your course confirmed (with a ton of good advice) that I can actually do something, and the key is to do it little by little, providing a little bit of work every day."
-Quentin Désert, Filmmaker from Mexico City
Before we get to that, I have two important questions for you…
Here’s the first one. How much do you spend on gear each year? Just give me a ballpark estimate.
For me, I always had a habit of buying every vintage lens I could find. There was one year, 2012 I think, where I spent like $1600 just on random old lenses I found on eBay. That doesn’t even take into account all the money I spent on a new shoulder rig and follow focus.
I'd say my ballpark for the year was somewhere around $3000. And I didn’t even buy a new camera or computer or anything. So it was a light spending year, all things considered!
Thinking back on it, despite getting some cool old Soviet glass, that year kind of sucked. I spent so much of my time frustrated and pissed at myself for not making progress. For not moving closer to my goals.
It didn’t matter that I had “spent money on my passion.” It made me feel good briefly, but it didn’t move the needle.
That’s why my second question for you is a bit tougher. What would it be worth to you to have the filmmaking career you’ve always wanted?
I mean, really imagine your ideal career. Do it. Right now. I’ll wait…
Feels great, huh?
When I stop to imagine this stuff, it makes me realize something. I would have gladly traded in that $3K I spent on gear to learn everything I know today. Had this course existed in 2012, I would have paid every last spare dollar I could find.
And it would have been 100% worth it.
So, that’s why I’ve priced this course at $300, or six payments of $50.
It's an afforable price for anybody who's truly serious about building a great career, but it's still an investment. And you should treat it like one.
Because if you pay attention and put in the work, this price is just a drop in the bucket compared to the value you’ll get throughout your career.
Hell, even if you take away nothing else, and just use some of the marketing and positioning strategies I share in the freelancing lesson, you could make tens of thousands of extra dollars next year. No joke.
I can't stress this enough, though. You've got to do the work for this course to be worth anything. Otherwise, you might as well hold onto your money.
But if you're willing to think outside the box, do some hard work, and be persistent as you chase your goals, I guarantee this will be the best $300 you've ever spent.
Will I really be more successful after completing this course?
Come on now. You and I both know that's an unrealistic expectation to have of any course.
However, I can promise you that once you finish the course, you will have a comprehensive understanding of how to succeed, as well as all of the tools and resources you'll need in order to take action.
But make no mistake, you have to take action in order for any of this stuff to work. If you're looking for some kind of magic bullet, look elsewhere.
What kind of filmmakers is this course designed for?
Good question! I designed the Filmmaker's Guide to Success to be universal and timeless. No matter what kind of career path you want to follow, it can help you make progress.
Each of those three career paths get a single dedicated lesson in the course, while the other 28 are spent on things that are universal to all types of filmmakers. Things like honing your skills, finding your voice, building your network, and so much more.
Will this course teach me all of the technical skills needed to be a successful filmmaker?
Nope. There are already a gazillion places online to learn how to set up your camera, light better, or write a great screenplay.
That's why the purpose of this course is to teach you everything else you need to know in order to be successful. Because let's be honest, there's far more to it than just being good at the tech stuff.
With that said, I've included a great lesson on how to build your filmmaking skills in a methodical and practical way. If you start applying that process to all of the tech tutorials you watch, you'll be a skill building ninja in no time!
How does this course work, and when does it start?
Well friend, the very moment you sign up, you will be redirected to my fancy welcome page, where you'll get a virtual high five. (Not even joking about that.)
While there, you'll also be able to sign up for our chat community and the rad workbooks that are embedded in each lesson.
You won't get added to the course platform right away. I prefer all students to go through the course at the same time, as it makes the community better and more focused, since everybody just did the same lesson.
So on Sunday, August 12th, you'll get added to the course platform, and the following day you'll get access to your first introductory lesson. After that, you'll be getting a brand new lesson every day for a month.
By doing those lessons consistently, you will be building a daily routine. Once the course is over, you'll be able to take what you learned, then fill your new routine with work that moves your career forward. Cool how that works, huh?
As for what you can expect with the lessons themselves, each one follows the same basic template:
I just don't have time to keep up with daily lessons...
That's totally ok! You have access to this material until the end of recorded time.
With that said, I'm going to urge you to try to show up every day and do the work. It shouldn't take more than 20 minutes each day, and you'll be laying the foundation for a new daily routine.
Like I mentioned before, once the course is done, you're going to fill that routine with the work that moves your career forward.
Also, if you're struggling with time management, the first two lessons will help you make extra time each day.
What if I'm not confident in my ability to take action on all these lessons?
That, my friend, is a valid concern. It's one thing to know what it takes to succeed, and it's another thing to put in the work to actually achieve it.
Luckily, there's a thriving community to keep you accountable to your goals. If you're ever facing self doubt or a major roadblock, just talk to the community and they'll give you the advice and strength you need to keep going.
And if you want even more support, I'm offering a 1-on-1 coaching option to solve that very problem.
We'll work together to make sure you have clarity on your goals and what actions are necessary to achieve them, and then I'll keep you accountable as you move towards success.
What if I don't like this course?
No worries, amigo. You can go all the way through the course, fill out the workbooks, participate in the community, etc, and it's all risk free.
If you don't dig it for whatever reason, just shoot me an email within five years (yes, you read that correctly), show me that you did the work, and I'll give you your money back. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
What if I have more questions?
Awesome! It's super smart to do your research when making purchases like this.
If you ever have any questions about the course, just use that little blue chat box in the bottom right corner (or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org), and I will do my best to answer you within the hour.
This all sounds great! How can I sign up?
Glad you asked! You should scroll down, choose an option that works best for you, and then get ready for lessons to start coming to you tomorrow morning.
I believe so strongly in this course that I'm basically giving it away.
Go through the entire course, use all of the lessons and advanced tactics, fill out the workbooks, participate in the community. And most importantly, put this information to work in your life.
If, after FIVE FULL YEARS, you're not seeing the results you want, I'll give you every last dime of your money back. Seriously.
It's a crazy refund policy, but it's the right thing to do. Because this material isn't going to help you build a great career overnight. It's going to take awhile to get where you want to go. So you have five years to see if this stuff actually works.
If you put in the effort, and you find I've steered you in the wrong direction, I don't deserve to keep your money. It'll probably be too late to actually refund you through the credit card companies, but I'll just wire you your money back.
All I ask is that if you want a refund, show me that you've actually done the work. Help me understand how I could have made the course better and more useful to you. Those are the only conditions on this insane guarantee.
This means that you shouldn't buy the course if you're not serious about this. If you only scan the material, don't fill out the workbooks, don't take action, and then ask for a refund, there' a very real chance that I'll say no.
But if you're serious about building an incredible filmmaking career, and you're willing to do the work, all of the risk in this transaction falls squarely on my shoulders. You, my friend, have got nothing to lose.
Here's the tough but simple truth that you already know. If you want different results than the ones you've been getting in your career so far, you need to start taking different actions.
The Filmmaker's Guide to Success is full of the kind of actions that will lead to the results you want. That's my promise to you.
Now it's time to make a decision.
You can stay on the road you've been traveling—getting the same results and experiencing the same frustrations—or you can branch off, try something new, and forge your path to the film career you've always wanted.
If you're brave enough to choose the latter option, I'll be with you every step of the way.
P.S. I really mean it about the money back guarantee. You've got a five full years to test this stuff out and put it to work. It's crazy, but I believe the world needs as many successful filmmakers as it can get. Will you be the next one?
FilmProcess LLC ©2018 — All Rights Reserved