Being an indie filmmaker provides you lots of freedom. There isn't anyone leaning over your shoulder picking apart your every move. It allows you to get across the message you want. Film, in general, is a remarkable tool for finding like minded individuals. Film has the incredible ability to bring people together. It is also an excellent platform for starting a conversation or sparking an idea. To me, the conversation is one of the most valuable assets of film, and that applies to both filmmakers and viewers. Still, filmmaking is such a subjective art; one may get something entirely different from one film than another. That, in itself, is beautiful. There's nothing quite like hearing a take different from my own on a film I love. It's immensely satisfying.
I believe life is about making connections with other people, and film is one of the purest and engaging ways of achieving that. Finding individuals who share your interests is a very fulfilling experience. Finding others who share your interests just as passionately as you do is a profoundly comforting feeling. For me, it is imperative to surround myself with people of this ilk. Not all artists or filmmakers––or anyone, really––feels the need to always work with others.
For me, it's vital.
I crave the energy of others. There is nothing quite like plotting out the details of an idea with others while clicking in harmony, step by step. For as reserved as I may seem in social settings, I am completely a "people person." I long to find a deep connection with everyone I come across. At times I imagine it makes me rather off-putting. I don't know how to be any other way, and if I'm honest, I wouldn't even if I could. I need to feed into and be fed from a circle of motivation.
Currently, I'm working alongside two other people on two separate projects. We have been a team for quite some time now. I share all of my ideas with them even when these ideas aren't about the projects we are working on at that moment. I talk to them all the time about the book I'm writing, random pieces I'm working on, or ideas I have for future projects. It is an ongoing process. I need to share. I need feedback. I need other people to experience my output. I need to create experiences people get something out of.
Maybe that's vain, but deep down aren't we all in our way rather vain? Don't we all want to share ourselves? Don't we all want to be heard, to be felt, to be known? Isn't that all love is? The desire to form a special connection with someone? I don't need to turn my idea into a product and profit from it. What I need is to share what I've created with others in hopes that the experience is memorable. Sure it would be a dream come true to be able to devote one hundred percent of my time to my projects and be able to support myself on them alone. Anyone who pours all of their efforts into a creative venture wants that passion to be realized, accepted and for others to want more of it.
I admit it's been a difficult task, finding people with whom I gel creatively. I've encountered numerous people who show an initial interest in working together. I've had experiences with people that start off well but eventually fizzle out for various reasons. After the honeymoon phase was over, we realized we didn't really get along after all; other times, a lack of commitment from either them or me, killed the possibility of working on a project. Still, other times there was a period of initial interest which amounted to little else.
Personally, I feel as though I'm more creative when I have the ability to bounce ideas off others, and they can bounce them off me, so together we can build upon them and enhance them. The search for others to collaborate with is crucial. Thankfully, I've attained this on my current projects. But I'm not sure how long this will last. Thus far, this creative partnership has lasted the longest of the others I've had yet. A good sign indeed. I firmly believe that two, or, in my current case, three minds are better than one. I know that isn't the case for everyone though I would encourage trying to find others who share the same drive you do and see what you can create together.
Finding the right team stretches beyond the writing phase. You need people with whom you share a similar artistic view. That's not to say that you should agree on everything all the time. (Quite the opposite in fact.) It's helpful when you and your colleagues disagree. Multiple options are never a bad thing. Disagreeing only becomes a problem when egos get in the way. You can and will be wrong. It will happen. Accept it and be open to others ideas and interpretations. The way you envision a scene's set up or shoot isn't the only way it can be done. In fact, someone else might have an idea that is more attainable or enhances the project in a way you hadn't considered.
Be open to everything.
My team and I handle everything together, from the writing to the direction, to the location scouting, casting, cinematography, sound design, film editing, sound editing, and so on. Every aspect of the project is a team effort. Maybe for you, having the final say on a project is a must and there's nothing wrong with that. Do your thing, but I think you would be remiss to pass on the experience of working full stop as a team with others. Finding those perfect compliments to yourself will not be easy, but in the end, I can assure it will be rewarding.