There’s Nothing Wrong With Ambition

Your script probably isn’t very good. Even if it is good, probably no one will read it. Even if they do read it, they probably won’t give you the money to make it. Even if they give you the money to make it, the movie probably won’t be very good. Even if it is good, probably no one will see it. And even if they do see it, they probably won’t like it.

Don’t believe me?

Last year, 701 movies were released theatrically. Seven hundred and one movies! How many did you see? If you went the the theater every single weekend, you saw only around seven percent. And how many of those did you actually like?

But that’s not all. Visit your local Redbox, or head over to Netflix and Amazon, and you’ll find that for every movie that made it to theaters, probably ten went straight to video. If you’ve ever worked at a distribution company, you’d know that for every movie that gets released even on video, ten more are rejected by every outlet.

These are terrible odds. But, like Han Solo in an asteroid field, you don’t care.

In case you're wondering, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately three thousand seven hundred and twenty to one.
Hey, you guys ever see that really old movie, Empire Strikes Back?

Hollywood is a dream factory, so who am I to tell you not to dream big? Maybe, like George Lucas, your student film will lead to a life-long friendship with a legendary filmmaker. Maybe your short film goes viral and catches the attention of James Wan.1 Maybe you’ll shoot a feature for under ten grand and become the darling of Sundance.

You’ll never know unless you try, so keep at it. But don’t, for the love of God and the sake of your own career, brag about simply the fact that you’ve directed a short film. Literally everyone on set has done that.

You can be proud of the finished product. Hell, you may even want to show it to people (after you’ve become friends, of course). There’s nothing wrong with passing around the Vimeo link; that’s how things go viral, and get into the hands (and laptops) of real decision makers.

But you also need to keep your day job. Realistically, directing a $1,000 film for two days with a crew of six does not prepare you in any way for being a production assistant on a real movie or TV show. If you put that director credit on your resume, it’ll get thrown in the trash (or deleted, since that’s how we do things, now).

There’s a time and a place to show your ambition, and in the meantime, keep shooting.

You don't get it.
See what I did there? Shooting… with an arrow? Get it?
Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Thanks to Eric on Movie Set Memes for pointing this out.
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