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Don’t Publish the 1st Draft Online
“The first draft of anything is shit”
Posted in My Journey as a Screenwriter 4 min read
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To all the younglings in the room,

Let me first state that this blog offers advice on filmmaking, but if you’re one who can’t handle constructive criticism, this plot of information may not be the best fit for you. All right, reader beware.

If you’re a first-time filmmaker who’s producing your first short film, unless you’ve been touched by the Divine or a grandchild of the great Andrei Tarkovsky, don’t publish your first draft online. 

By all means, make your short film. Write it, direct it, produce it, hell… act in it for all I care, but don’t upload your first project when you believe you’ve finished the final edit. Here’s why:

  1. Earnest Hemingway

The terrific novelist once said, “The first draft of anything is shit,” and your first short film is exactly that. If anyone is honest with you, you’re first project will always be is a pile of mistakes and that’s okay. That’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. You need to make every mistake in order to learn from them. There’s no other way. Your first short film is simply a teaching tool of professionalism and craft, but that doesn’t give it the opportunity to be critiqued by strangers. People you don’t know on the internet are harmful. They will either be Trolls, artistic supporters who live vicariously through others pursuing their dream, or worse, wannabes filmmakers. 

I produced my first short film in 2013 and it was awful. No one’s going to see it. Sure, I’m proud of it and I learned several great lessons from the process which will be disclosed in another blog, but the primal reason it’s not online is due to the fact that it doesn’t match my current skill level of storytelling after years of study. Moving on.

2. You’ll Delete It Anyway

If you are one who persists and learns from your mistakes, you’ll be relieved to have not posted your first short film on the World Wide Web in the coming years. I know you’re proud of your first project and you have every right to feel that way. It’s hard enough to get more than two people together to do anything, but the authentic artist will do everything in their power to hide their own work when it’s finished because they know it’s not good enough. Let’s play devil’s advocate and actually post your project online. A number of things will happen. Trolls will prosecute your work, starving artists will praise your vision, and critics will crap on it because they can, though if you’re lucky to obtain notes from a reliable source and learn about your mishaps, you’ll immediately become embarrassed and click the ‘delete’ button. Don’t invite strangers to this unnecessary evaluation of your work. 

Find someone who you trust to calculate your work, obtain proper notes and then apply your newfound knowledge on other projects. This steady practice of craft influences professionalism. Something to think on: if you bumped into Scorsese and knew your first, flawed short film was the only thing to showcase your abilities, would you risk it? 

Fun fact of the day, everyone in the world thinks they’re an artist because their told they have a voice and there’s currently a surplus of affordable film equipment, but it doesn’t make them talented. 80% of the people on the internet who put out films and or entertainment material are all about quantity over quality. They value viewership than craft and that’s not what filmmaking is about. The value of art is not built upon this idea of receiving a ‘thumbs up’ on social media. It’s something more and it’s your job to find the reason you have this need to be a filmmaker. So, don’t be like everyone else and ignorantly repeat their mistakes. If everyone is talking about apples, you need to talk about oranges.

In my perspective, art is designed to be a well thought out demonstration of truth of life and until you know exactly what you’re striving to say through your work, keep it hidden until you can’t find fault in it.


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