Green Background, Black line, They've Been Said, But Are They True? Seven Filmmaking Clichés Totally Debunked.



As a filmmaker you will want to develop the best practices that will help you to develop a distinguishable filmmaking portfolio. For you to be able to do so it’s of extreme importance that you avoid the following 7 Filmmaking Clichés.


1) WRITE A MARKETABLE SCRIPT: This usually equates to, write what’s popular, write what’s trendy. In other words, write what is already being written. But by doing so you are blending in with the crowd and never writing what’s in you.
Writing a marketable script is a cliché practiced by major studios to the benefit of great financial reward but to the detriment of extreme triteness. And lest we forget, they’re not all recipients of great financial rewards. Think of all the “blockbuster” films that have flopped. But major studios have deep pockets and can take the hit. However, most filmmakers don’t. Be cautious!


2) ONLY WORK WITH SAG-AFTRA ACTORS: SAG-AFTRA is a union that represents media professionals, including actors. You cannot work with a SAG-AFTRA actor without a basic agreement with the union.

There are plentiful talented SAG-AFTRA actors, but there are also many talented actors who are not SAG-AFTRA actors. These actors are just as hard working and dedicated and many have extensive experience whether from working in non union films and/or theater.

Don’t discount actors and potential actors because they are not SAG-AFTRA. You could be doing yourself and your film a great disservice and missing out on the opportunity to discover and cultivate new talent.


3) FOLLOW THE RULES: Often filmmakers can get caught up in certain ways of writing, directing, editing, etc., that they have been taught as the rules of filmmaking to follow. And often these rules stifle their creativity. They become confined and boxed in by these rules and they become afraid to charter new courses. After all, we’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” And great filmmaking isn’t about reinventing the wheel, but you must certainly be bold enough to go in your own direction.


4) PICK A GENRE FOR YOUR FILM: It’s become extremely cliché to categorize your film into a particular genre. Filmmakers will cut out dialogue and scenes from their movie because they’re told that it does not fit the genre of their film. Don’t let the genre of your film dictate the dialogue and scenes, but rather, let the film do so. A film is made to tell a story, not to fit a genre.

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5) IF IT DOESN’T MAKE MONEY, IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE: Sure you can make your film to make money or you can make money with your film. They’re different.Which is your intention?

And let it be stated, you should want your film to make money, a lot of it if possible. But that’s not to say that your film is not worth making unless it makes money, unless of course, you want to make your film strictly with the idea of making money.

There are many filmmakers who make films to make a difference, to bring awareness, to convey a message or to fulfill a dream, among other reasons. If your film makes money, great! If it doesn’t, remember why you made it and go from there.


6) IF YOUR SCRIPT IS GOOD ENOUGH IT’LL GET PICKED UP: This is a cliché many would have you believe is true because most of us wish it was. But let’s not be naïve. If this cliché was true then there wouldn’t be a ton of horribly made movies, because all the good ones would be getting made. The history of film accounts all of the movies made, whether good or bad. However, it does not account all of the good or bad films that were not made.

Only way to avoid your good script not getting picked up is to pick it up yourself and make it a movie. Read GUARANTEE FUNDING FOR YOUR FILM for more information on this.


7) MOVE TO LOS ANGELES (LA) IF YOU’RE SERIOUS ABOUT FILMMAKING: On the surface the aforesaid may seem like a true statement. After all, most of the highest grossing films, many of the most recognizable films and countless filmmaking institutions are based in Los Angeles. Los Angeles may unarguably be the filmmaking capitol of the world, especially when you equate its financial dominance in the film industry, its filmmaking skilled labor, its award ceremonies with their renown recognition and certainly it’s warm weather, though severe at times.

However, moving to Los Angeles is not for every filmmaker, whether a novice or seasoned one.

Moving to Los Angeles can actually be detrimental for some filmmakers because they’ll be one out of countless looking to “get their foot in the door” or looking for that “break.” It can be terribly discouraging to see so many filmmakers concentrated in one place and many not getting the results they moved to Los Angeles for.

You can be a serious filmmaker no matter where you are! You can be a serious filmmaker on all four corners of the earth, Los Angeles included, or not!



Would the abbreviation of Los Angles, “LA”, qualify as a cliché? It seems that it’s thrown around so much and in a lofty manner that it’s lost its worth.


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