Welcome to the jungle - surviving film industry

Last week I attended seminar "How to survive the film industry" run by passionate Italian Enrico Tessarin, who has great experience in producing short films, documentaries and commercials, and confident Rebekah Smith, who runs promotional business for filmmakers.

Reassuringly, the name of the opening slide was "Welcome to the Jungle", which perhaps reflects the tough nature and the level of competition in the industry.  

While the whole event was really informative and useful, I just want to highlight three take aways that were valuable for me.

First, if you are only starting in the filming industry, it is very important to apply for funding - not necessarily because you need money to produce film, but because the fact of obtaining funding is a credential in itself.  That means that somebody assessed your potential and recognised your skills to produce a good script.  This matters when you apply for festivals or jobs.

Second take away is that, when you are starting in the film industry, it is almost impossible to make money on film production (particularly short films) if you do not have other streams of income such as filming commercials or corporate videos.  However, once you are an established award-winning player, then doing commercial work may damage your reputation of the filmmaker.

Finally, third take away.  If you are serious about filmmaking, you have to apply to competitions and festivals.  You absolutely must do it as a prerequisite to get any attention from more serious players, for example, if you want work commissioned by a TV channel, or if you want to apply for certain funding schemes which will consider you if you have not got certain awards.

What do you think are the other tips for surviving in the filmmaking jungle?