Make The Move from Amateur to Professsional Filmmaker

On New Years Eve 2009, I looked at all the work I had done outside my day job and was pretty pleased with myself. I asked myself how many hours a week I had managed to devote exclusively to my private ambitions of drawing, painting and creative writing. The answer was a paltry 2 hours per week.

What would 2 hours a week working on my dream(s) make me? I guess, it would make me a hobbyist.

My resolution for 2010 was to spend 10 hours a week on my dreams, which I have managed to accomplish. Over 500 hours doing nothing but major and focus on my dream.

What would 10 hours a week working on my dream make me? I reckon that would make me a professional amateur.

My 2011 New Years Eve resolution was to turn semi-pro with a whopping 20 hours a week working on my dream(s). And of course, what has happened is that I have dropped back to hobbyist!

There are many routes to professionalism. There are many things filmmakers can learn from the sculptor Henry Moore, whose special exhibition wing at the AGO in Toronto is one of the finest in the world. Henry Moore was a workaholic, but no stranger to a glass of champagne and tuxedo at one of the many gallery openings of his work.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange also has developed a work ethic that has propelled him from a nobody to a household name the world over. There are many things screenwriters and filmmakers can learn from Wikileaks.

You have heard the Canadian writer Malcom Gladwell’s web-theory that to become an expert at anything, from ballet to brain surgery, you need to spend 10,000 hours.

Make those evening and weekend hours count, and before long, you can rise out of the ranks of amateur and become a serious professional.

10 Resources To get You From Amateur To Professional Filmmaker

Here are some useful articles that might assist you in your quest to turn pro:

10 Things A Filmmaker Needs Every Day

Creating A Personal Genre

4 Habits Of Successful Filmmakers

10 Way Filmmakers Manage Their Online Reputation

3 Big Mistakes Filmmakers Make After Their Film Is In The Can

How To Get Film Work Without Experience

Zero Budget Software Guide

14 Websites British Filmmakers Use Every Day

5 Essential Filmmaking Skills (Not taught in film school)

Julian Assange’s 7 Lessons For Filmmakers



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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