Are These The 5 Reasons Why You’re Not Making A Personal Film?

David B. Levy is a man not averse to personal projects. This is his latest film, currently making the festival rounds.


Making a personal film is no easy task. It just isn’t, for a whole host of reasons. It’s a complicated, arduous process that may or may not end up the way you expected it to. Lots of people never finish there’s, but are these the reasons why you’re not starting yours?

1. I don’t have the time

Ah, do you really not have the time, or do you think you don’t have the time. There is a big difference between the two you know. Unless you work 12 hour days or 7 days a week, you really aren’t in a position to say you don’t have enough time. Besides, it’s not about the amount of time you have but how effectively you use the time you’ve got.

When it comes to these kinds of things, the quickest and best solution is to set aside time on a regular basis, say a Sunday morning or an hour every night after dinner. Perhaps more important than setting the schedule is actually sticking to it. You might find it tough, but over time, regular actions, even small ones, can have big results.

2. I don’t have an idea.

Well, go and find one! There are plenty of ideas that could be put on film. Remember, this is a personal project, so essentially, it’s all about you! And the best part about a personal film is that you’re completely unrestricted. The only person telling you what to do is yourself! However, a note of caution, once you have decided on a subject, plan out how you intend to move forward, don’t get stuck in your own version of “development hell”.

3. I don’t have the money

For years, this was the sticky point. Making a short film does cost money. However, the amount that it’ll cost is totally dependent on how much you’re willing to put into it. You could make a film for a million dollars if you wanted to but budgets ain’t the whole story. At the end of the day, be realistic. Do set a budget, and stick to it, that’s just basic common sense.

If cash flow is a problem, the best solution is to trim expenses and/or set aside some funds on a regular basis. You’d be quite surprised just how quickly even $20 a week will add up.

Also remember that while the cost of technology has dropped significantly, you don’t necessarily need the latest Cintiq tablet or Flash software. There are plenty of free alternatives that may not be as feature-laden but will accomplish a lot of the same tasks.

4. I don’t know what to do with it when I’m finished

I’m not too sure about yourself, but films are generally meant to be seen, by lots of people! Throw it up on YouTube! That blog you started to track the production (because you figured it would be a smart idea)? Throw it up on that! Show it to some friends! Have them show it to their friends! Put it in your portfolio! Show it to your boss! Take it to one of ASIFA’s open screening nights!

The possibilities are endless when it comes to a personal film. Some people are happy just to let as many people watch it as possible, others like to get awards from festivals, some folks like to make money from their short films. Although be aware that charging for a personal short may preclude you gaining a reputation first.

5. I don’t see the point

A personal film is essentially a proof of sorts. It says to the world that you can be uniquely creative. It says to potential employers that you have a logical enough mind that you can conceive and create a project using just your own initiative (employers like to see that).  It also gives you plenty of unique experiences that you’re unlikely to have anywhere else.

To conclude, there’s very little holding you back from undertaking a personal film. The challenges can appear to be insurmountable but only if you let them be. Figure out a game plan and before you know it, you’ll be making one.

1 thought on “Are These The 5 Reasons Why You’re Not Making A Personal Film?”

  1. Hi Charles,

    Thanks for the mention. Good inspirational post here. I’m addicted to making films. I have been this way since I was 13 years old, but it was only in the last few years that I’ve started to figure out what I really want to do as a filmmaker. A key thing for me was to look for inspiration outside of animation. I think that’s important because an indie animated film affords it’s maker a chance to do something uniquely their own. Why use the indie film to try to replicate commercial or commissioned projects? I learned this the hard way over many years.

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