Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A long career in film?

Most of us start out dreaming of long careers as elements in the world of filmmaking. And why not? Steven Spielberg has directed/produced some 150 feature films and, at the age of 67, is still going strong. William Goldman, now in his eighties, has written over 30 feature films (and worked uncredited on many others). Morgan Freeman, a mere 76, has appeared in over 100 films, five of those completed in the last twelve months. 

It seems that the sky is the limit, but the reality is most aspiring filmmakers fail to get started.  I've met so many wannabe screenwriters who have never completed a screenplay. And never will. Others have completed one, which failed to be picked up, and they will spend the rest of their lives licking that particular wound. 

And most of those who crack all the barriers and complete their first feature film, never make a second. Over the last fifty years, 70% of the people who directed a feature film in Australia have failed to make a second.

All of which brings me to the point of this post: British writer and producer Stephen Follows has published his analysis of the careers of British filmmakers. Here is a short extract from his article.
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Thanks to the BFI, I’ve managed to build a list of all the UK films budgeted at over £500k since 2003 and all the UK films budgeted at under £500k since 2008. That’s 2,737 feature films in total.  I’m starting to crunch the numbers on this large dataset and in the coming weeks I’ll share what I discover.
All the data in this article relates to UK films, although the people aren’t all UK nationals. First up – let’s take a look at how many films each person has been involved with.  In summary…

  • Only 13% of producers of low budget films have subsequently produced a second film
  • Under 3% of directors who have directed a film have gone on to direct two more
  • 23% of writers who wrote a film wrote a second film
  • Directors are more likely to make a second film than producer, writers or actors
  • The vast majority of writers, producer, directors and actors stick within either low budget (<£500K) or higher budgets (>£500k). Only 15% have worked in both budget ranges.
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You can read the entire article here. His blog is well worth reading, especially if you're interested in British filmmaking.
 
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1 comment:

Kathy Smart said...

This is incredible information. I assumed that anyone who had succeeded in entering the industry would do more. Possibly industry expectations are so high that if your film is not hugely successful, you are not invited to do more. That is, you are judged on your one, first, product. Could that be it?