I taught a Saturday Film School and afterwards, I went to the pub with a group of the people from the class. The pub thing is something of a Raindance tradition. A very shy woman came up and falteringly asked whether or not filmmaking favoured the introvert. She then told me that she started off as a human rights lawyer before ending up in consumer affairs. Not thinking that either of those jobs were particularly introverted, I guessed what she was really asking was whether or not introverts had a hope in hell in making it in the film industry.

Susan Cain, New York Times best-selling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, even notes in her book that at least one-third of the population is introverted.

If you don’t work with introverts, you are cutting yourself off from a huge section of the population with unique and special skills. These skills are the very skills you can use to overcome your greatest filmmaking challenges. I outline five of these below.

Extroversion and introversion are not black and white character traits. Introverts can possess the stereotypical traits of extroverts and vica versa. Remember that personalities vary in degree, and everyone is a blend of both sides of the coin.

5 Ways Introverts Can Help Solve Big Filmmaking Challenges

Filmmaking Challenge #1: An Increasingly Complex World

Write and Sell the HOT ScriptIt won’t take long to figure out that our world is becoming increasingly complicated. New technology has made filmmaking faster and cheaper than ever before. New media distribution channels and platforms spring up all the time. The monetisation of film (especially indie film) relies more and more on crowd funding and self distribution.

Nothing fits. It all seems brand new. Information overload threatens to drown us.

Filmmakers need to do more than simply absorb all this information – they need to interpret and understand.

How Introverts Can Help

Introverts have two terrific character traits: they are deeply insightful and very analytical. Throw them a tricky riddle and they’ll solve it. Albert Einstein is considered one of the world’s most influential thinkers ever. And he did his thinking alone.

Introverts can look at your screenplay and come up with really good notes. Or look at your production plan and find the holes in it using their astute observational skills.

When you launch your website and social media campaigns, it’s an introvert that will take the time to analyse all the metrics and other data that your crowd funding, production and distribution campaigns will rely on.

Filmmaking Challenge #2:  An Increasingly Variable Variety Of Film

There is so much distraction in today’s world.

Filmmakers now have to choose between a wide array of types of filmmaking: features, feature docs, documentary shorts, music videos, viral shorts, commercials and other corporate work. Where to start and where to draw the line is the question that many of my filmmaking friends have to ask.

With all these choices, and the distractions created by the ever intensifying media barrage, it can be really hard to get anything accomplished.

How Introverts Can Help

Want someone on your team who can block out all the noise and chatter and just get stuff done? Get an introvert! They are able to focus and they aren’t easily distracted. Often they are self motivated too. Charles Darwin is well noted for turning down impressive dinner invites so he could walk in the woods thinking (and working) on his next project.

Filmmaking  Challenge #3: A Lack of Creativity

The competition for filmmakers is very harsh and severe. To make it, a filmmaker needs to stand out from a crowded throng of very talented people. Filmmakers need to create a film, or write a script that is so bold, fresh, original and dynamic that no one else has thought of it before and yet everyone wants it. This alluring challenge is what keeps a filmmaker up at night.

How Introverts Can Help

Most scholars agree that creativity often comes from seclusion. J. K. Rowling, a self confessed introvert claims her ‘Eureka’ Harry Potter moment came while on a train alone.

A subset of this implies that introverts are boring. Can introverts who live a very tame life be creative? The answer is ‘of course.’ Just remember the life of the Bronte sisters.

You don’t need to do a study to realise how important creative ideas are to filmmakers. An introvert might just be the person to create the big one that will launch your career.

Filmmaking Challenge #4: A Lack of Transparency

We live in an age overflowing with messages. The huge abundance of information means there is also clutter and chatter. In such an environment it is always difficult to know whether you are delivering the right message to your audience, whether you are seeking cast, crew, funding or a wider audience once the film is finished.

How Introverts Can Help

They can write compelling, eloquent and persuasive pieces. They are also intensely loyal, and somehow come across as just plain real. Thus, when they write, it comes across with clarity and resonance. Take introvert Mahatma Gandhi. His prolific, inspiring and persuasive prose inspired a generation and an entire people.

When you are assembling your filmmaking team, think how an introvert could create some in-depth articles for your press kit, write an engaging synopsis, or a compelling log line.

Filmmaking Challenge #5: A Lack of Stamina

Nothing demands time and energy like a film. They say that a filmmaker has no life after their movie. Having produced one myself last year, I have to agree: for months one’s entire life is 1000% dominated by the beast that you have hatched. The question is, how can you maintain your energy?

How Introverts Can Help

Introverts don’t need to wave their arms around, and race from A to B and back again just to make a point. They are deliberately slow paced and thus burn far fewer calories than us extroverted types. Meaning they can outlast the tempest and offer a calming influence to everyone around you.

I hope by now you begin to look at quiet people in a different light. Perhaps think about including both introverts and extroverts on your team. It can be a heady mix of yin and yang, like like Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg.

There is great joy in pairing people on a team. Power to the people.

About 

Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over 700 hundred short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006, Deadly Virtues in 2013 and AMBER in 2017. 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).

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

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