Filmmakers: Spring Clean Your Career: 6 Tips - Raindance

When spring breaks and the buds start forming on trees we start to think about a good spring clean. But what about giving your very own career and career strategy a good and thorough spring clean- and shake up your filmmaking career.

The 21st century workforce is changing. Filmmaking has been revolutionised through advances in digital devices both for production and distribution. New technology means many of the traditional work practices have changed. Robots are replacing workers, and as a filmmaker you can work freelance or on short term projects. You can set up your own production company. You can even take a job with an organisation or company and run your pet creative projects on the side. There’s a myriad of opportunities to consider.

Tip 1. Clarity is the key

Having a clear vision for where you want to go with your career requires hard work, discipline, patience, innovation and clarity. This also pertains to the clarity your project pitch has. The wrong message, the wrong pitch, is generally one that lacks clarity.


Take a good hard look at your life experience to date. Take out a pencil and jot down the experiences you enjoyed and those that fill you with memories of pain or regret. What does this reveal about you? What are your special and unique skills? What type of experiences and interests do you want to take forward in the next stage of your life?

These factors will inspire and motivate you and assist you in forming a good solid career trajectory that will enable you to realise your dreams.

Tip 2. Attitude is important

P.M.A. Positive Mental Attitude.

When you show up at your day job or interact with your friends, how do you feel? Are you motivated or do you feel like a damp rag? Are you feeling positive or negative? Powerless or powerful? What do you feel others think of you when they first meet you? Regardless of whether you are employed or self-employed, going back to work after raising a family, etc. That first impression lasting just a few seconds will create a lasting impression in the people you meet. That impression can last for months and even years.


Become more self-aware. Ask yourself  what kind of attitude you convey. For example, are there things you say or do or feel that convey a negative attitude? It you aren’t sure, ask four trusted friends what they think. Note their responses and then you have something to work on to become clearer and more sure of your attitude. Perhaps pick one comment that will give you something to work on that will give you this upbeat and postive bearing that will impress all you meet and work with.

Tip 3. Spring clean your network

No matter who you are, if you’re reading this post you will have a network. What types of people are in your network? Are they people who compliment your skills and with whom you would like to collaborate? Or is your network full of people who are critical of you and who sap your energy?

Your network is valuable source of expertise and advice. It’s vital you keep in touch with the right people in your network.


Get out your address book, line up all your social media contacts on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Find a dozen people who you think would be the most able to assist you in your dream. Make sure you keep in regular contact with them. Make sure that they know you will support them in their endeavors too.

In a separate file keep track of another dozen people you want to send the occasional email, have the occasional coffee with, or go for a night out with.

Your network is where you will find out about new opportunities. Plus, you’ll get news of jobs and commissions. There are people with whom you’ll form strategic alliances. Some will stay in your network for years and years. Others will flow in and out of your life for a season or two.

Always be on the lookout for new people you can add to your network. When you attend networking events, don’t fall into these common networking faux pas. You might even want to get the Raindance Networking eBook full of tips and resources.

Tip 4. Check out your equipment

I’m not talking film kit here!

Are you investing in your film training and development? Your experience, past learning and acquired skills are priceless. How you plan to develop your skills, nurture your ideas and expand your learning are key assets you’ll need in the coming months. Do this right and you will be able to deliver outcomes far greater than presently, and can move your career and your filmmaking projects from average to great.


Look at the next calendar year and plan a self-development programme for the next 12 months improving the key areas that interest you. Are you interested in directing, writing or producing? Are you more interested on areas of filmmaking that touch other areas like converging with gaming or VR? Play to your strengths and learn how to minimise your weaknesses. How you perform and what you deliver is how your colleagues and potential investors will value your ability and hopefully your greatness.

Self-development isn’t just about taking courses like the excellent short open classes and the higher education courses at Raindance. You can learn loads online, through reading books and by watching movies.

Tip 5. Strive for excellence

What does excellence mean to you? How do you rate others? How do they rate you? And most importantly, how do you rate yourself? When you start maxing out your filmmaking career others will want you to share with others the successes and pitfalls you encountered along the way. When I hear such stories I become inspired. Don’t you? Learn to be visible. Learn how to communicate your success. This will create an aura of confidence and positive energy around you that will bring out the very best in the people around you, from the lowliest intern or runner, to the top actors or directors.


Set your standards of excellence as high as you possibly can. Remember in your heart of hearts you will know whether or not you are putting out or simple coasting on your laurels. If you decide to stay in your comfort zone remember that the bar of excellence will keep getting raised- so cut the crap and step up to the plate.

We all have the capacity to become better people and better storytellers and filmmakers. That’s why I read a mindfulness Twitter feed each morning- it always has great quotes and ideas for excellence.

Here’s another tip for our rapidly changing world: what worked in the past might no longer work today. Be ready for change, and learn to use your innovation skills.

Tip 6. Pause and reflect

How are you feeling today? Have you been worried and agitated since Christmas? Have you forgotten your New Year’s resolutions? What are the things in your day-to-day life that you most enjoy, and vice versa, that you don’t? Be proactive. Write out a list. Remember: no one knows what tomorrow could bring. The Tibetans believe that each of us has a finite number of breaths in a lifetime, so make each one long and deep.


Pause and reflect. Take stock of your physical, mental, spiritual and financial self. If one of these areas is out of kilter try to get a plan to reflect this. For example, if your work is too stressful why not plan a yoga retreat in Marrakesh?

Looking after yourself is not selfish. It’s become down-right essential in this supercharged world that demands a filmmaker’s attention 24/7/365. Guard your time and your resources.

Fade out

You’ve come this far, congratulations! Which one of these spring clean steps are you actually going to turn into positive action? First steps are always the most difficult. You’ll need to plan carefully. Remember: New Year’s Day isn’t that far away.



Photo Credit David Martinez / BIFA 2018

Few people know more filmmakers and screenwriters than Elliot Grove. Elliot is the founder of Raindance Film Festival (1993) and the British Independent Film Awards (1998). He has produced over 700 hundred short films and five feature films: the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead (2006), Deadly Virtues (2013), AMBER (2017), Love is Thicker Than Water (2018) and the SWSX Grand Jury Prize winner Alice (2019). He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance BREXiT trailer 2019

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).

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

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