About the Filmmaking Fool

©Rachel Leah Blumenthal

My name is Michael J. Epstein and I am a filmmaker and a fool. Making films is a terrible idea. It’s the absolute worst. The problem is, we have no choice. We need to find ways to tell stories to make sense of our existences. We need to create and to see our creation unshackled from its original existence as an idea bouncing around our brains.

How did I get started making films? I simply decided that I would do it. A lot of people spend their lives worried about getting permission from others or worried about breaking the hierarchical rules of society. I just figure if other people can make films, I can too. So, for a decade or so, I’ve been involved in just about every aspect of creating everything from music videos to short films to features.

When I started, I had no idea what I was doing, but just bumbled through anyway. I’ve learned that even “experts” are still mostly bumbling their way through the world. It’s the nature of learning and advancement, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed. You will learn and you will get better. With this site, I hope to share some of my experiences on this confusing path that you might find useful.

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” ― Ira Glass


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