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February 7 at 8:37am

“I Am A Nobody Filmmaker”

By Ted Hope

Today’s guest post is from filmmaker & blogger Christopher J. Boghosian.

I’m a nobody filmmaker: I don’t have a recognizable name nor a recognizable film. In essence, most of the world couldn’t care less about me nor my movies. This sounds pathetic, I know, but coming to grips with this reality has truly liberated me and provided an invaluable perspective on my work and career.

As a result of the internet, mass media, and proliferation of panel discussions and seminars, beginning filmmakers can now listen in on the conversation between film industry experts. Insider tips and wisdom are readily available, from casting celebrities to negotiating a VOD deal. It’s true: gurus sometimes discuss broad principles and concepts that apply to every level of filmmaking, but more often than not, there is a buried assumption in their discussion: that a filmmaker or their project has a considerable amount of credibility, hype or leverage. As a result, many of these conversations are inapplicable to nobody filmmakers who have no reputable name nor a film with high salability. Nevertheless, in our earnest search for success, us nobodies continue to invest a lot of time, energy and money on experts.

A beginning filmmaker can learn all about financing, film production, marketing and distribution, but if s/he has little or nothing to back it up with, what’s the point? Living in LA, I’ve met countless filmmakers trying to raise thousands of dollars, even millions, with very little to their credit. Who do they think they are? What other business or profession operates like that? Like every other profession, filmmakers must earn the right to ask for thousands of dollars. They must earn the right to mass market and distribute their film. In the end, most of these filmmakers discover that only their friends and family are willing to invest in them, since that is with whom they have earned trust.

The baker bakes, the architect designs, and the filmmaker must continually make films. What baker bakes one loaf of bread and asks for thousands of dollars to open a bakery? What architect designs one home and expects to have thousands of fans on Facebook? None. It’s ludicrous. As a nobody filmmaker, I have come to realize that I need to earn my right to ask people for their time and money. And the way to do that is by consistently making films, plain-and-simple.

In fact, even the desire to make a great film must be earned. An expert baker who has studied and worked for years would scoff at a novice attempting to develop a great loaf of bread. It takes years of trial-and-error, blood, sweat and tears to bake great bread. How is filmmaking any different? Why do so many beginning filmmakers strive to make a great film? It’s presumptuous and disrespectful toward the art and craft of filmmaking.

Coming to grips with my nobody-ness as a filmmaker has set me straight in many ways. Rather than attempt to make a great film and attain thousands of fans, my focus now is to continually make the very best films I can within my means. Additionally, I have come to realize that I am, in fact, a somebody to a few folks out there. Most are friends and family members who watch my films, read my blog, and anticipate my future work. Thus, as I continue to make films and develop my craft, I will, first and foremost, share with them. Rather than create my own Facebook Fan page, I will call and email them, letting them know what I’m up to. And, hopefully, if my films are any good, they’ll spread the word and, maybe, create a Fan page for me!

-Christopher J. Boghosian

Christopher J. Boghosian is an independent filmmaker in Los Angeles, California. His blog, FollowMyFilm.com, focuses on the emotional side of filmmaking as well as highlighting the progress of his first feature film, Girlfriend 19.

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  1. Christopher J. Boghosian / Feb 7 at 8:37am

    I totally agree with you! I’ve been thinking more and more that the “Nobody” phase is some kind of evolutionary strain put upon folks to separate the chaff from the wheat!

  2. Jeffrey Travis / Feb 7 at 8:37am

    Well said, Chris. I think your words “My focus now is to continually make the very best films I can within my means” is exactly what many new and aspiring filmmakers need to take to heart.

  3. Susan Kim / Feb 7 at 8:37am

    Really great post, Chris! You are definitely a “somebody” to many people who support you to consistently make films and get your work out there! Awesome article!

  4. FollowMyFilm / Feb 7 at 8:37am

    Thanks, Jeffrey. I just hope they’re listening to, despite me being a “nobody”! LOL

  5. FollowMyFilm / Feb 7 at 8:37am

    Thank you, Susan. I really believe one’s inner circle is the most positive and encouraging place to start sharing one’s work. Though they may not all understand and embrace your work, at least a few are likely to. One can then build from their, broadening their “tribe,” to borrow from Seth Goden….

  6. Graham / Feb 7 at 8:37am

    Great thoughts. I believe you have hit on something. This is a humble perspective that is built on a dedication to craft. As a follow up, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the place that ambition has in a filmmaker’s efforts.

  7. FollowMyFilm / Feb 7 at 8:37am

    Thanks, Graham. Ambition in filmmaking is something that has always eluded me ideologically. There seems to be a fine line between inspiration and dogged determination, an ebb and flow, I suppose. My hunch is that one is best off when ambitiously creating while modestly listening. Definitely worthy of an article – thanks!!!

  8. J.Molina / Feb 7 at 8:37am

    I am a nobody filmmaker. Titles slapped to a social network without proof is a joke. Let the work, your movies, speak for you. Great post!

  9. Christopher J. Boghosian / Feb 7 at 8:37am

    This is late in coming: thank you, Josue!

  10. Les Butchart / Feb 7 at 8:37am

    Great conversation! For anyone who needs to set up a film investment, you might check out

  11. Les Butchart / Feb 7 at 8:37am

    er … my bad, my comment was published errantly …

    … you might want to check out http://www.cinecoin.com, a new website for publishing indie film investments under regd 506c. The filmmakers commenting here are exactly the kind of artists we need to have involved.

    Ted Hope’s article on “staged funding” was actually the inspiration for one of our investment designs for Highway 29. Ted, if you read this … THANKS!

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