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Filmmakers Need to Ask Questions to Get the Job Done

I was recently talking to someone about co-operating on a project together, and I immediately started asking him questions. Very basic questions such as:

– What are you offering to other filmmakers?

– What’s in it for me?

I had a feeling that he was caught off guard but at the same time very appreciative of being asked those questions. In reality, they were going to help him make his product better.

That experience made me realise that this is what I do and this is what most filmmakers do. We ask questions and try to answer them in the most honest way. It doesn’t mean we need to have all the “right” answers right away. It only says that we need to ask a question to find the solution to that question. The solution cannot be seen without the right question being asked.

For instance, while writing, all scriptwriters want to know why the character is doing what they are doing, why they’re happy or not, etc. Writing and re-writing help the screenwriter to find the right answers and the right solutions to the problems the characters are facing.

When I direct, I often ask my actors a lot of questions: about their characters, the scene, the circumstance, the past. I try not to give them ready answers unless it is something that must be in a movie such as a divorce, separation etc. I want them, not myself, to find solutions for their issues. I believe that finding the answers will help them build more believable characters, ones with the past that the audience can relate to.

When I work with other filmmakers and we try to find the best and most creative solution for their marketing and promotional outreach, we brainstorm and go on our way to find practical and cost-effective solutions.

We ask questions like: Who is your audience? Why would people be attracted to that film? What is the hook? How can we efficiently spend money? What are the online spots going to be focusing on?

Filmmaking is all about asking questions and searching for answers, preferably with a team of creatives. If you feel that you need to know everything right away, it is not possible, and your filmmaking will suffer because of that.

Your job is to make the best possible movie you can, using the tools you have at your disposal and I strongly believe that asking questions is a fantastic way to get to the bottom of the creative solutions you will need to make your masterpiece.

While you are here, you might also be interested in Creative Distribution.

Filed under: filmmakers, filmmaking, indie filmmaking

About the Author

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Magda Olchawska is an award-winning independent filmmaker, writer and screenwriter. She writes not only about making films and writing but also about financially independent and sustainable lifestyle. Her current projects include Ecotopia Universe and School Runs.

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