Ten Thousand Hours Rule For Filmmakers and Screenwriters

In 2008 Malcolm Gladwell published an influential book Outliers in which he unveiled his ten thousand hours rule for the first time.

What is an outlier? According to one dictionary definition, an outlier is ‘something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body’. Kind of the definition of an independent filmmaker, isn’t it?

And Gladwell’s book examines what it takes to be a genius. At the same time, he deconstructs the commonality between genius’ of different fields. For example, Mozart started composing a the age of eleven but wrote nothing masterful until he was twenty-three – more than ten years late.

By examining the lives of a multitude of genius Gladwell discovered that what they shared in common was each had diligently concentrated on their particular skill for about ten thousand hours before they got really really good.

In the clip below, Gladwell discusses how the Beatles played live together more than 1200 times before they broke into America in 1964. And the reason? Because they were determined to undertake meaningful work.They were willing to throw their heart and mind into something they believed in – and then they were able to get something back.

Malcolm Gladwell explains it much better here:

How much time are you prepared to devote to what you love? Are you prepared to undertake ten thousand hours of meaningful work to make your dream come true?

Here are some Raindance ideas for your ten thousand hours:

Your first 100 days as a filmmaker
[500+ hours]

A step by step guide, almost a daily diet of activities you can undertake to start honing your craft.

Some Raindance film course ideas

Here are some of our mouth-watering film classes. Remember – we don’t teach filmmaking. We make filmmakers. and that’s going to take ten thousand hours.

Postgraduate Film Degree
[1800 – 3,000 hours]

You’ve heard about our revolutionary Postgraduate Film Degree? Drop in for an evening chat on how this revolutionary programme could enhance your filmmaking career.
MA Info Session 10 January 6pm-7pm [1 hour] Register for a free place here

BTEC  Level 5 HND in Moving Image
[1800- 3,000 hours]

Do you want to get practical? And get writing scripts and producing and directing shorts and documentaries? Then this is the course for you. Two days a week, thirty weeks a year for two years. In person at Raindance Film Centre, London. Find out more

Taster Day Saturday 12 January 11am-3pm + Networking drinks 

[6 hours]

OK, so you’ve heard that Raindance doesn’t teach filmmakers, we make filmmaking. This is your chance to meet the filmmakers who will teach you how to become a filmmaker. Eight taster tutorials PLUS a drink on us. All for a fiver (Or free for Raindance MembersBag a ticket here

99 Minute Film School 15 January 6:30pm-8:30pm

[2 hours]

You can’t learn filmmaking in an evening, can you? Let us try to teach you with Raindance founder Elliot Grove taking you behind the black curtain. Just £25 or free for members.
Find out more here

Directing Essentials 17 January 6:30pm-8:30pm

[2 hours]

If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a film director this is it! Take this short, sharp class on film directing basics. Just £25 or free for members.
Find out more here

Saturday Film School 19 January 10am-5pm  

[8 hours]

This is the one-day introductory film class everyone is talking about. Taken by over 15,000 wannabee’s since it’s launch a few years ago. If you’ve wanted to write, produce or direct a film, this is a must. With Elliot Grove and Patrick Tucker
Just £150 or £59 for Raindance members.
Register online here

***Ate de Jong Directing Masterclass Sat & Sun 26/27 January 10am-5pm

[16 hours]

This weekend film directing masterclass is presented with one of Europe’s most respected and seasoned film directors: Ate de Jong. He will be illustrating his masterclass with clips from his films such as DROP DEAD FRED, ENIGMA, DISCOVERY OF HEAVEN, HIGHWAY TO HELL, MIAMI VICE, DEADLY VIRTUES, LOVE IS THICKER THAN WATER and many more.
Don’t miss this chance to study with a master
***Save 33% Until January 2nd!

Raindance Foundation Certificates – London

Six different evening classes – five nights each. Pick your poison and specialise!

Filmmaker’s Foundation Certificate begins January 22nd

[30 hours including assignments]

Writing, directing, no-budget producing all explained in this information-packed evening session.
Want more?

Writer’s Foundation Certificate begins January 23rd

[30 hours including assignments]

Learn how to take that idea for a movie out of your head and onto paper in five Wednesday nights.
Don’t procrastinate!

Directors Foundation Certificate begins January 24th

[30 hours including assignments]

The basics of film directing. Learn how film directors look at a screenplay, cast and work with actors, direct the shoot and oversee the editing process.
Learn how to join this class here

Producers’ Foundation Certificate –  begins March 5th

[30 hours including assignments]

In filmmaking it’s about getting the script, then getting the money. Getting the money means getting the paperwork together. Learn how to create the business plan, plan the legal contracts, prepare the budget and schedule and finally how to get the money. Find out how.

Documentary Foundation Certificate – Begins March 6th

[30 hours including assignments]

If you’re interested in causes or issues of social justice then learning how to create and monetise a documentary might be the route for you. Documentary filmmaking is hotter than hot right now. Don’t be left sitting on the sidelines. Get some.

Technical Foundation Certificate – Begins March 7th

[30 hours including assignments]

Learn the basics of editing, sound, lighting, shooting with DSLR, and low budget special effects in five single evening classes. Take them all, or take the one(s) that interest you. Let Raindance’s professional tutors help you demystify the technical side of filmmaking. Get some.

Higher Film Education at Raindance

Raindance Special Events

Boozin’ n’ Schmoozin’ – Second Monday of every month

[Many hours – networking is such an important part of your career]

This is our monthly networking event, free to members. It’s a chance to pick up cast and crew or commit yourself to someone else’s project. Or just get drunk and exchange business cards. Suit yourself.

Of course, this is not all that’s going on between now and the end of 2019. We’ve got countless more courses, events, talks, workshops and networking parties to get through. You can really build up your ten thousand hours. To see them all, check out the tab on the right-hand side of the page here or take a look at our super-packed London Calendar.

We hope to see you at a Raindance event soon! And remember: make 2019 yours. Kick yourself into filmmaker!



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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