I have been very fortunate in my work at Raindance and met scores of successful independent filmmakers. It makes me rankle when I hear how one must have talent in order to be successful. I believe we all come into this world with an equal amount of talent.

What I have observed, however, is that successful filmmakers tend to do these four basic things:

1. Goal Setting

Set a goal with milestones in between.

If you want to make a film in one year’s time, target to
increase your work rate and break down your goal into manageable steps.

Make sure that each day includes as much time and energy as possible to achieve the next step towards your larger goal.

2. Investing In Learning

Invest in learning and discovering new filmmaking techniques is the next keystone to success. Film is changing rapidly right now. The last big change was the introduction of sound. This time around it is movies on the internet and mobile telephones.

Attend seminars, like the workshops and classes at Raindance, or buy a good book to read. There is always something new to pick up.

Sometime back, I wanted to learn the art of screenwriting and I picked up The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler and Anatomy of Story by John Truby. Both excellent reads, very user friendly. And I learned heaps.

3. Investing In Good Tools

Treat your career as a business. Invest your earnings into good tools that can enhance your business. Film businesses are the same as non-film businesses. Ploughing part of your earnings back into your filmmaking business would grow career exponentially.

Hiring a PA (or getting an intern), developing your company’s website, hiring a publicist (at the right time), traveling with your first films to film festivals, going to major film festival like Cannes all help you grow.

4. Apply What You Learn

The most successful filmmakers are not always the most knowledgeable ones. They are the ones who put action to what they learnt. They do, not talk about doing.

And they watch film after film, read script after script.

You can see great movies onine.

Here are my two favourite shorts at the moment:

Goodbye To The Normals – shown on BBC
Devil’s Doll – shown on www.raindance.tv

Cultivate these habits and you are set for a lifetime of unstoppable filmmaking.

What are you reading this for when you could be out making a film or writing a screenplay?

Elliot Grove


Elliot Grove


Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over hundreds of short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006. He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance trailer 2017

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

He has produced over 700 shorts and 6 features including the new action film AMBER.

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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