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What’s stopping you from making films?

Over the years I’ve heard a lot of different reasons why people only ‘talk’ about making films. They would love to actual make films but there are always one or more reasons that hold them back.

I’d like to hear, in simple terms, why you are not making films. Here are a few stumbling blocks.

1. No money
2. No time / work full-time / have family commitments
3. Have no idea how to make a film / lack of training
4. No support / no crew
5. No script / no good script
6. No resources - camera/sound/grip/editing/post
7. Other…

If you’re not making films and you want to, which of the above are stopping you?


  • What’s stopping you from making films?


    If you want to make a film, or be involved with a film, get in touch:

    What do you have, what do you need?

    1 year ago
  • Finding people who share my values who also have a work ethic. I don't just want to make films. Film is too vague, it's a medium.

    The problem is, if people are only working for money, they can be okay with mundane tasks, but they become completely uncreative. Every shot in every film they make looks the same. If they are only working to get to the next step on the ladder, they become terrible team players. They need to believe in the project when art is concerned. That's what makes art different from finance.

    One time, I was going to have a producer for a PG screenplay I wrote. He wanted to change it to a rated R picture, which was just gross. I ended up making it as a microbudget film, and he hasn't made a film since.

    Well, for a while I focused on novels and short stories, and even writing a few stage plays, because I didn't want people ruining my hard work. But, then I decided that there are a couple of films I really want to get made.

    The challenge is finding people who are honest about their values, who aren't swayed by BS about what the market allegedly wants. The market is diverse, over 900 films made it to the UK cinemas last year. Not all were blockbusters, but more than you might think eventually made a profit, and made a living for their filmmakers.

    1 year ago
  • It's cash from where I'm standing, Wozy. Everything else flows from there. Crew, cast, training, etc can all be solved with cash, cash can't be solved with anything else :'-(

    1 year ago
    • Very true Paddy :) Hence my other post - "Why do film projects fail to get made?"

      1 year ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren :)

      It's good to have you back - shame you're no longer running the VFX studio, but life moves in phases, I get it :)

      1 year ago
    • @Paddy Robinson-Griffin I still have all the kit and would wheel it out for the right produicer on the right project. But I'm not trading per se anymore.

      1 year ago
  • I've made several short films by saving up for a year (each time), writing the cheapest script I could come up with and getting it produced in the US. I'd love to make some here in the UK but so far I've found it cheaper to produce in the States and easier to make the contacts.

    1 year ago
    • That's worth a thread in itself. Why would it be cheaper to leave the country (implying travel and accommodation expenses), and make contacts abroad? What makes it so much more difficult in the UK?

      1 year ago
    • @vasco de sousa - I didn't leave the country. I hired a Director in the US through a mutual friend and produced it online. We Skyped a lot, all the auditions was done via live streaming etc. Basically it cost me $2,000 to make my last short film, which was a sci-fi and shot in Milwaukee. To shoot the same film in the UK would cost me a lot more but I also don't have a decent network in the UK yet, for some reason my stuff seems to resonate more with the american filmmakers more than my home country so I do work with it. This is one of the reasons I joined SP - to try and improve my local network.

      1 year ago
    • Hi Mark. Wow! I love your approach. That's a real can-do attitude. I just checked out Survivor via your website and you did a great job for $2000, especially with such an ambitious premise. The poster is also brilliant.
      Good luck with your future projects and if I can help with any network connections at all just let me know. In fact if you fancy collaborating on producing a film in the UK drop me a line. I'm based in London so if you are based there too, or visit, we could meet up for coffee.

      1 year ago
    • @Mark Renshaw Wow. Makes me think "I also know people in Wisconsin." Sometimes it seems that everyone in the UK with an internet connection wants to be a screenwriter, which is another challenge.

      1 year ago
    • @Zoe Cunningham hi Zoe, I'm in London right now at the Robert Mckee Story Seminar at Regents university but the schedule is intense. It starts at 9am each day and finishes at 8pm so don't think I'd get chance to meet up. Just done the first day out of three and I'm exhausted already lol. Would love to chat further though so send me an email!

      1 year ago
  • Hi Wozy

    Good to meet you! Thanks for this post - I think this is a very interesting discussion.

    I should say at the outset that I *am* making films - one short just finished the festival circuit (, one about to start and two in post, plus I just finished principal photography on my first zero-budget feature.

    However, I still feel like I'm not making films *fast enough* and I'd like to join in this conversation from that point of view.

    Like everyone, I feel instinctively that the problem is money, however when I look at everything on my slate, nothing is ready to pitch yet because we are still working on script development. So for me, it's a 5.

    I totally accept Paddy's point that we could do 5 much more quickly with some cash :).

    Fingers crossed I'll have something to pitch in a month or two - could I come to you for some advice and guidance then? :)


    1 year ago
    • Zoe - that's great that you have projects on the go. Sometimes not moving fast enough, in our minds, keeps us on our toes even if we are making good progress. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your next film.
      My role now in film is one of mentor and guide on film and TV projects, for those who need and want it. There's a number of options available :) Message me directly.

      1 year ago
    • Thanks Wozy - will do!

      1 year ago
  • I find it ironic that so many people want to be writers, yet so many say they can't find a great script. I agree with woz, that script may be down to money. (Although, it's not in the rewrites. The original script is not going to show up if you're too cheap.)

    If you offered 70k, I bet a lot of great scripts you didn't know about would appear from the woodwork, which were crafter over a year. I saw a lot of great scripts 20 years ago which still haven't been produced (all represented by WGA agents, so not cheap.)

    If you offer 10k or less, expect to find something thrown together in a week, or written on weekends. People who work hard on their scripts aren't likely to show them to just anybody.

    1 year ago
    • Becuase everyone has a story they want to tell and some have the ability or perserverance to write it down. But like with anything worthwhile, it takes practice to become good at something. And you need to know 'how' to write before even starting. Acting or directing doesn't all happen the moment you need it to. It can take years to develop the skill and master the craft.

      A lot of scripts I've been sent over the last 10 years have come from writers who have some great concepts but they have never been educated on how to craft a cinematic story. It's an art form as much as a technical one. So the scripts actually don't yet work and need a lot more work. Saying that to most 'uneducated' writers ends up putting up a wall between you. They don't underdstand what you're really saying.

      But it's not just like that with writers, most trades suffer the same way too. Some people label themselves as DoPs becuase they bought a 4k camera and filmed their cat in their kitchen. SOme people think that because they can give instructions, then they can direct.

      It ALL takes practice. It will be shit at first. At second. At third... At twentieth... but if you keep going and make good progress, then you get better and better.

      But back on track, and "What's Stopping you from Making Films?"...

      1 year ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren Ah! I have another reason that I'm not making films as quickly as I'd like. Experience. Which you only get by doing things. From which I conclude that actually it's all going in the right direction. I've been told this by professional coaches before - "stop worrying, this is how the process works" :).

      I'm not sure what you wanted to get out of this with the original post, but this has been some great free coaching for me :). Thank you.

      1 year ago
    • @Zoe Cunningham The reason for the post originally was to find out from members where their pinch points are and to see if they are still the same as when I was last active on SP. Guiding, mentoring, supporting and funding filmmakers from shorts to features is my goal.

      1 year ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren Well, the scripts I was sent 20 years ago were for the most part, awesome. They were better than most of the films that have been on screen since then.

      One great script was pretty annoying, because it was based on so many living people, and the writer refused to even change the names (even though some of the facts were changed.) Also, there were two writers, and the writer I was talking to refused to introduce me to the other, or even send over any contracts to the other.

      That's the last time I tried working with an outside writer.

      1 year ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren I'm a new film maker and Actor and I have worked on two short films while I was in India recently. My first film is on YouTube and my second short Film -
      Password is krishna12$34%
      I'm sending to film festivals. I'm working on a script now that I'm back in London and may need your advice after its finished so that I know I'm going the right direction. thank you for this post.

      1 year ago
    • @Harish Vipin Parekh Thanks for the links Harish. Well done on your two films. I'll have a look. Message me directly and we can talk about your project.

      1 year ago
  • And then of course the term 'film' also applies to factual productions. Increasingly factual documentary uses many of the devices and methods of pure drama. Some are hybrid in that they actually incorporate dramatic reconstructions that might even claim the biggest part of a films duration.

    Being proscriptive for no better reason than ones umbrage is a luxury few can afford, if not actually unpleasant.
    Better to take talent where one finds it.

    1 year ago
    • Just to be clear I was referring to Vasco's declaration earlier that he was only going to employ film graduates in his upcoming production.

      1 year ago
  • As Paddy says, having no money is the major obstacle. But with a script written for a nano-budget, a lot can be done by a team of talented and committed people who want the same thing. So the trick is to build that team, do something good anyway, and say "If we did this for peanuts, imagine what we can do for real money."

    Behind the lack of money is another issue - lack of contact with people who have money. Serious investors don't make themselves accessible to beginners and wannabes - they'd be inundated. I'd like to know how many filmmakers get money because they have contacts high up in the industry. A fair few, I'd guess - via friends or family, or because they've acted or crewed, so they know directors who know producers who know investors. Doors may be closed, but at least they know where the doors are.

    The rest of us have to find our own way into this rarified world where money lives, by some combination of talent, persistence, likeability, and BS. No-one does it by staying in their room making plans. There's proabably luck involved too, and to paraphrase a sporting adage, the more one networks, the luckier one gets.

    1 year ago
    • You make a good point Glyn about a nanobudget script (or even picobudget!), you can do a lot with a little, and indeed I have done! Things change with a bit more cash. Some things get easier, some new problems appear, some of which are not intuitive. I think one way to think of a nanobudget shoot, though, is that the cast/crew/people involved are subsidising the production to varying degrees. The production still costs what it costs, but you recognise that some of that cost has been made up by people doing favours.

      1 year ago
  • Vasco, I don't agree with your views on the price/quality relationship of a script. I spend a lot of time on all of my scripts, but why on earth would I turn down £10,000 for a first screenplay and the all-important credit just for more money. Doesn't make sense. Maybe someone may want to test me on this.
    Wozy, I spent a fair amount of money on putting myself through film school to obtain an Masters in screenwriting and even more on the production of my first three short films. I now shoot and edit off-beat comedy sketches myself just to get my words out there on my Youtube channel, but producing a feature? I don't know enough yet and it will only take up precious writing time. If money fell into my lap then maybe that would have to be the way, but what I really want is to link up with a producer who wants my story. Five completed screenplays and a spec sequel to The Wicker Man are all waiting for the right people. As for me, I want to write.

    1 year ago
    • Alan, I'm not sure about you, but "the all important first credit" doesn't tempt me.

      I also have lots of stories to write. When I was looking at other people's scripts, it was because I thought that having another writer on board would make a better selling point. It's no longer just one person then, but a team.

      I had a few chances to get a "credit picture" done in the past (for almost no money, or no real guaranteed money) and I found that in every circumstance I didn't trust the producer to make a good film. I thought, they'd through together cheaply made garbage, not even read the script properly, and blame the writer. Maybe that fear was unfounded, but those people never ended up making good movies. But, I suppose money was part of my excuse back then.

      1 year ago
    • @vasco de sousa Abject fear of working with other people can curtail a career in filmmaking to the point of paralysis. It's all about team work I'm afraid matey...

      1 year ago
    • Hi Alan - its good that you're invested in yourself to understand your craft. And hats off to you for producing your own shows. I'll take a look at your Youtube channel. Writing features certainly is a big commitment on time and can effectively stop other things from happening at the same time. I worked on a spec script a couple of years ago with an A-list writer and for 6 months I had to stop all other activities to focus on the work. When that happens, the money dries up unless there is a cash-cow somewhere else to support you. If any of your scripts fall into the thriller/drama/action genres, I'd be interested in reading more.

      1 year ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren Abject fear of working with other people? Okay Wozy, I don't know what I did to offend you, but please stop twisting my words.

      1 year ago
    • @vasco de sousa You haven't offended me Vasco. Just from most of your posts I get the impression that you prefer to work alone. If I'm wrong then I owe you a pint.

      1 year ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren, thanks, I have sent you a message about the scripts. Alan

      1 year ago
  • If the guy in this movie can make a movie, so can we:
    Awesome movie, that one.

    12 months ago