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  • Writer's pictureArmen Dilanchian

The Harsh Realities of Independent Filmmaking

By: Armen Dilanchian

Filmmaking is often romanticized as a glamorous pursuit, filled with creativity and recognition. However, for the vast majority of filmmakers who lack connections to influential figures or established names in the industry, the journey is incredibly challenging. This post aims to shed light on the stark realities faced by these independent filmmakers, and why talent alone often isn't enough to break through.

The Gatekeepers of the Film Industry

The film industry is notoriously difficult to penetrate without connections. The gatekeepers—producers, executives, and decision-makers—hold immense power in deciding which projects move forward. Often, these gatekeepers favor individuals who come recommended by someone within their trusted network. This creates a significant barrier for those who are talented but unknown.

The Myth of the Self-Made Filmmaker

Many well-known filmmakers had a foot in the door through personal connections or mentorship from established industry figures. This doesn't diminish their talent but highlights the reality that networking and who you know can be just as crucial as your filmmaking skills. For those without these connections, the path to recognition can feel like an endless uphill battle.

The Costly Quest for Exposure

In an attempt to get noticed, many aspiring filmmakers invest in workshops, film festivals, and exclusive meetings with industry professionals. These opportunities often come with hefty price tags, sometimes costing thousands of dollars, with no guarantee of success. The financial burden can be crippling, especially when the promised opportunities don't materialize.

The Talent That Never Sees the Light of Day

It's a heartbreaking reality that many incredibly talented filmmakers may never get the chance to showcase their work. The industry is saturated with undiscovered talent, but without the right connections, these filmmakers remain invisible. This isn't a reflection of their abilities but rather a consequence of a system that favors familiarity over fresh talent.

Persistence in the Face of Adversity

So, what can an unknown, unconnected filmmaker do? The answer is both simple and disheartening: keep creating. Continue to hone your craft and produce the best work you can. While the likelihood of a breakthrough may seem slim, giving up guarantees that your work will never be seen. Moreover, the landscape of the industry is slowly changing with the rise of digital platforms and independent distribution channels.

The Changing Landscape of Filmmaking

Today's established talents, many of whom found success in an era with fewer content creators and no streaming platforms, are also feeling the pressure of the evolving industry. The democratization of content creation means that competition is fiercer than ever, even for those with a foothold in the industry.

Filmmaking is a passion-driven pursuit that demands resilience, creativity, and often, a touch of luck. For those without connections, the journey is undoubtedly more arduous. However, by continuing to create and seek out alternative paths to distribution and recognition, independent filmmakers can still find their audience. The road may be long and fraught with obstacles, but the passion for storytelling and the drive to create can fuel the journey, no matter how difficult it may seem.

Stay true to your vision, keep creating, and never lose sight of why you started this journey in the first place.

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