One of the most important actions you can take to insure your success in the film industry is to constantly challenge yourself. You have to continually learn new skills, cameras, and even different jobs to be successful in this industry.
And that’s the easy part.
The hard part is dealing with how uncomfortable it can be to be thrown into the fire. You’ll be worried about screwing up or whether you’re qualified. You’ll stress about new pressures and unknown obstacles. You’ll fear that you just can’t do it.
But these are good things.
Please leave a comment letting me know how you plan to act on the challenge I mention in the video. And then come back and let me know the results!
Hi everybody it’s Evan from The Black and Blue and today I’ve got a challenge for you.
You may notice that I’m standing in front of the poster for a movie called Death Race 2000. This is one of my favorite posters out of my entire collection for two reasons. The first is that it’s an awesome movie — to me it’s the quintessential B-movie genre film. The second is because of what it represents.
This movie was produced by a guy named Roger Corman. Now if you haven’t heard of Roger Corman, you need to go research him right now! He’s the “father” of some really great filmmakers like Ron Howard, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese. He owned a studio, he still makes movies, still produces movies, and he gave a lot of people their first chances.
This movie, Death Race 2000, was directed by Paul Bartel who never really amounted to superstar status like James Cameron, but the point is that Roger Corman used to give filmmakers a chance. He gave them their first shot.
And the way he did this, he looked around his studio or filmmakers would approach him and say, “I think I’ve got the chops.” And he would trust them. He would look into them and see their raw talent and think, “This guy can really deliver a film for me.”
And maybe the movies weren’t always that great — they weren’t Oscar worthy — but what they did do is they would deliver a product. And Roger Corman never lost money on like any of his movies.
So he was very prolific and he was always willing to give people a chance. So I love the spirit of Roger Corman, even if his movies were kind of crappy — I always think they’re crappy in a fun way — but, he was giving people their first shot.
And so, it really reflects how I started my career. When I got my first job as 2nd AC, I had no idea what an AC was I just got thrown into the fire. By the end of the first 30 days of that feature film, people had no idea that it was my first gig. My second job was as a data wrangler, I’d never done that either — same thing by the end. Third job was as 1st AC, I never pulled focus before.
The important thing is that in every one of these instances, I had somebody — somebody like a mentor — who believed in me who saw maybe my passion, my motivation, my skill and felt that, even though I was uncomfortable in the position, that I would be able to do it.
And this is very much what Roger Corman was doing for people like James Cameron.
Maybe they haven’t proven themselves, but Roger Corman saw something in them that he knew they would prepare themselves, that they would try hard, so he threw them into the fire.
So my challenge for you today is to apply for a job that’s going to make you a little uncomfortable.
Now that can mean normally you work on short films, so you’re going to apply for a feature. Or normally you work in commercials, so you’re going to apply for a narrative piece.
Or it could mean applying for a new job altogether — stepping up from 2nd AC to 1st AC, 1st AC to Cam Op, maybe go from a grip to a camera assistant or vice versa.
Do something you’re not entirely comfortable in. Throw yourself into the fire and you’ll be surprised what you can achieve. And the reason for this is because you’re going to prepare like never before because you’re not gonna want to screw up.
So you’re going to try much harder, you’re going to be paying attention on set, you’re going to be so much more alert to everything going on around you. It’s very easy to keep doing the same job and get stuck in a routine and just know day after day what you’re doing.
But when you step up the next rung of that ladder or when you take another job completely, you’re really on your toes again and you’ll be surprised what you can achieve.
So I hope you take this challenge — try and do it in the next month if you can — and please email me what happens at evan[at]theblackandblue.com. I’d love to hear your stories. Look forward to hearing from you guys, have a great day!