I don’t like asking for things. Call it a weird quirk on a laundry list of weird quirks, but I really, really hate asking people for favors or handouts. I won’t ask family members and/or friends if I can crash on their couch unless they offer. I’m overly thankful when I order food from a waiter at a restaurant. I won’t even ask for extra rice at Chipotle because I fear retribution. No wonder I’m such a mess.
So the thought of asking anyone for ANYTHING weirds me out. Especially something related to making a film or TV pilot, which is the industry I work in. I think I’d rather die than ask people for money so I can make a video.
Working in this field, I get a lot of these fundraising efforts sent to me. “Help support my student film!”, “Support my webseries!”, and “Make my filmmaking dreams come true!” And I just want to shake these people and plead with them: Please stop.
Please stop sending these to me. I’m not going to donate, and I never, ever will. Stop begging casual friends, acquaintances, and random strangers on the internet for money. But more importantly, it’s time to get your head out of your own ass and take some actual responsibility for yourself.
You’ve got a passion project? Good for you. Finance it and make it yourself. Francis Ford Coppola basically financed Apocalypse Now by himself and damn-near lost his mind. Christopher Nolan made Following for $6,000 and shot it on weekends because everyone else had real jobs during the week. Lena Dunham took the money that her parents were going to use for graduate school and used it to make Tiny Furniture instead – a $25K budget that brought in almost $400K, and launched a pretty lucrative career out of it. So on and so forth.
On the flipside of that, I have a friend of a friend that happens to have two VERY famous parents. That person put up a Kickstarter asking people for $2,000 to fund their student film. TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS. FOR A STUDENT FILM. This person’s parents are BIG stars. They could find more than $2,000 stuffed in their mom’s couch cushions. But that person put it on their Facebook, and it came up on MY newsfeed, asking ME to fund the thing. Can you believe the absolute fucking arrogance? They must have balls of fucking steel. (Or not. Could be a female. Could be a male. I’ll never tell who.)
I was sent an IndieGoGo campaign today for someone I went to high school with to finance a pilot for a webseries. I could barely get through reading it because it was so riddled with spelling errors and horrible plot, it was godawful garbage. (And I know garbage…I’ve read my own articles.) Their test video looked like it was shot by freshman film majors, let alone young professionals that want to actually make it in this industry.
You know how to make it in this business? Get a shithole job on a TV Show/production company/network/radio station/film studio/etc. that pays you nothing. Work hard. Work your fucking ass off, do whatever they ask you to do with a smile on your face. Work your way up the ladder by being friendly and creative and nice and one day you’ll be able to make your passion project.
Or you can be a jerkoff that tries to skip that process because you think you’re too good for a low-level job. The world is just WAITING FOR YOU to be the next Larry David, Judd Apatow, Quentin Tarantino or Lena Dunham.
I almost felt bad. I would ACTUALLY rather donate money so this person gives up entirely and finds a new career path, vowing never to create something stupid again. That’s worth $10 bucks, right?
But no. They asked me for money. Anywhere from $5 for a “thank you!” email or $500 for an executive producer credit.
Here’s some advice for free: Give the fuck up and leave me alone..
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