The death of my film career

6 01 2014

I spent the past few minutes submitting my latest film I completed last year, June, to queer film festivals. Only I did it with a sense of defeat. I’ve been telling people for the last while that I’m starting to move away from film; having written and directed short films for the past few years and not gotten much out of it except for a cool thing I can boast about every now and then, filmmaking, as fun as it has been, is so difficult to not just make money from, but to get people interested in.

I’d love to get screened at Outfest, but they’ve rejected all my films, year after year. I’d love to win the Gerry Brunet Award, but I haven’t. I don’t make films for money, but when I put money (and hard work and time and all that) into something I do and don’t get nearly as much after, it leaves you feeling a little deflated.

As with music, the first artsy project I undertook when I was exiting my teens and entering the scary world of the twenty-something, I found that people just didn’t care. And it was hard to make people care, especially when I’m not the type to go around proclaiming how everyone should “listen to my cover on my youtube channel because I’m 5 years old and it would mean so much to me please!” I don’t know what it is. Maybe I just marketed myself poorly when I went around the city and played shows, shows where the other musicians were all guitarists and seemingly more approachable than a gay, Chinese kid playing sad songs on a keyboard.

I’ve been unpopular my whole life, but I guess I thought that people would see through that and get interested in my music because my music was quality. So when I quit music and turned to film, that cycle and that hope began again– only now, I’m declaring the film world the winner, and me the loser.

I like my films. I know they’re not perfect, and I know they may not be super fancy because they’re simple films, but I like to think they’re different and they have a certain quality to them. I like to think I have interesting stories to tell, especially with June, which I’ve spent almost two years developing. I guess I wouldn’t be so reluctant and unenthusiastic about sending out my short film if I didn’t have to pay a submission fee, since it’s not even guaranteed that my film will be shown. And even when it is shown, many film festivals don’t pay, at least not short film filmmakers. So I end up paying a festival to watch my work, potentially paying more money to send an exhibition copy of the film — all in exchange for some people watching my film for 6 minutes.

Is this good enough? Is exposure really good enough? Not for short films. Maybe for features, but most people, I think, don’t really think about short films after (unless they’re exceptional), and even then, it’s unlikely that short film filmmakers get their big break via exposure. It’s difficult for me to justify sending out my film to a festival I feel won’t screen my work when they won’t pay me for it, after I’ve spent a long time working on it. But what else can I do?

I’ll still be sending out June because I spent so much time and effort (and money) on it that it would be a waste to simply let it sit on my computer this year. In a perfect world, short film filmmakers would get more than just exposure. I make films — and music and I write — because I love it. But I can’t use love to rent out equipment for my next film and to pay for film transferring, and for all the people who worked on my film. Wish I could though.


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6 responses

7 01 2014
bodgoing

I can relate to this post so well. I think the best thing for you to is just keep at. As long as you are passionate about this, it will work out. Submit to every film festival you can, work with as many people as you can. I speand so much money, taking class, going to auditions, eating healthy… i still dont have a paying dance job. It is such a let down but i know i dont want to do anything else amd therefore i have to keep going.

7 01 2014
weirdduck88

What if I used to be passionate about it but no longer am?

I’ve moved on to writing now, which I’m passionate about. If you’re still passionate about something even after you’ve been rejected and it goes nowhere for years, then I commend you. I hope you can stick it out with your dance. It’s a tough world out there for creative work, that’s for sure.

Thanks for the support though. I really appreciate it.

7 01 2014
bodgoing

I don’t believe passion is something you can control. It can be there one moment and gone the next. It can also move from one place to another. I think it is our job as people to follow our passions and go wherever they may take us. Maybe film was only meant to take you this far and now it is time for you to follow writing 5o the next place. Whatever happens, good luck!

7 01 2014
Adam

Aaron, I’m sorry to hear that you are at a part of your personal journey where you feel sad. I have to say, from looking through your blog and your website, I think you are pretty amazing. How intelligent, ambitious, organized and driven you must be to have completed all that you have with your films, music and these websites. Pat yourself on your back for me. Congrats on accomplishing more creativity at your young age than most people ever will.

I can not predict where your film career will head in the future, but I think if you can focus on all your successes, and the positives that I know have and and do exist, it will feel worthwhile. Be proud of yourself. You seem pretty freaking cool. Also, I am in love with your song ‘Little Puppet’s Waltz’. Truly Fantastic! Chin up, Buddy. You will get there.

7 01 2014
weirdduck88

Hi Adam, thanks for your comment and for the compliments. I suppose I’ve done quite a bit of creative projects for my age but I don’t really see them as much as accomplishments, but I probably should. And I like to think I’m cool, at least sometimes. :p You seem pretty cool yourself!

How did you stumble across my little page, if I may ask?

22 01 2014
Adam

I can’t even remember how I stumbled upon your page any more. Through links or something. Either way I’m glad that I did.

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