The FilmFest judges are on their way home after an incredible weekend, and as always, I’m left with my mind reeling and heart swelling with a grand mix of emotions.
I’ve been involved with FilmFest for the past four years, so this weekend has been especially significant to me as I look back over my college career and look ahead to life after graduation. Each year, I’ve learned something new about filmmaking, but this year I started to realize that those lessons are applicable to life in general.
1. Build a team. It’s impossible to make a film by myself. And why would I want to? Filmmaking is a beautiful collaboration. I can’t make a life by myself, either. Instead, I want to surround myself with exemplary people who will help me tell a more meaningful story.
2. Ask for critique. And I shouldn’t learn to just receive it gracefully; I should seek it out. Screenwriters workshop their screenplays because it’s so much cheaper to fix things on paper rather than during post-production. It’s the same with life. If I take the initiative to grow now, I’ll be better off when the next stage of life comes my way.
3. Be honest. Technical aspects of production will go obsolete, but storytelling always resonates. I never want to lose the ability to be vulnerable. I didn’t win Best Screenplay like I hoped, but several people said my story touched them personally. In the end, honesty is what creates the individual impact that really matters.
4. Don’t play it safe. Now is the time to dream big. I want to take on projects that are beyond me. I want to watch films I love and try to make even better ones. I want to set impossible goals, because then I’ll go farther than I ever imagined. Why would I waste my time on predictable achievements?
To quote one of the FilmFest entries, “Being a realist is always easier than being a dreamer.” Yes, it’s terrifying to dream and the possibility of failure is real. But what’s life if not a risk?