The Cavalry isn't coming
At what point do you give up? This is a question some of the most talented people I know have asked themselves, as have I, but each time we've managed to answer it with 'not yet', and I hope this blog post helps you find the same answer if you're asking the same question...
This week I stumbled across Mark Duplass's SXSW Keynote from 2015 on YouTube, and I recommend any budding filmmaker/entrepreneur/dreamer to watch this, as it will make you confront the unwelcome truth, but also find comfort knowing that you're not just unlucky, but realising what we all must at some point; 'The Calvary isn't coming'....We've all sent those emails and waited for the reply that never comes, or been promised an opportunity at work only to be overlooked when it comes to crunch time, and it's easy to lose heart and rant about the injustice of the situation, which is fine in the immediate aftermath, but once you've got it out of the system you have to pick yourself up and get to work. Carrying on when you've been knocked back for what feels like the billionth time is difficult, it's demoralising and it can take an awful lot of pride swallowing to be stubborn enough and refuse to give up, but that's exactly what you must do. I've watched other filmmakers get opportunities thrown their way and thought how easy it must be for them, but after you speak to them you realise they've worked in a bar every night for 3 months and taken out a loan to pay for their own project, with no financial backing whatsoever. Yes, there will be those who have it easier, who have rich parents or those well placed uncles and aunts, but they've still had to deliver on a promise, and they may be under all sorts of other pressures.
Personally, I've been rejected for every single funding scheme I've applied for, I've been told I'm not good enough by people who haven't even seen my work but are in the positions to halt my progress, I've emailed and phoned countless agencies just to be ignored, been stood up at meetings, had a budget halved the day before shooting, and looked over for opportunities that even my competitors can't fathom. But, I'm still here, and still adamant that I have something to offer that's different and unique, so rather than wait for the cavalry, I've been saving to self-fund my next project, and what I will consider to be my debut short film. There will be days I rage and moan and swear that I'm done, but I know there will be others around to pick me up, as I have been for them. Like Mark Duplass says, if you work hard enough and you finally get to where you are aiming for, then you can be the cavalry for others, and provide that support to others you wish you had had for yourself. So keep the faith, always support those trying to get somewhere, and most importantly, after you've sworn to your hearts' content about being overlooked yet again, get out of bed and get to work.