Filmmaking / Directing : Passion Project Failure by Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson

Passion Project Failure

First off I hope everyone reading this had a great weekend. So I've recently ran into a wall for the 3rd time in the last five years. Failed passion projects . I've done 3 and have miserably failed 3 times. However, when I don't do a passion project even though it feels less motivating it turns out better. Having said that prestigious filmmakers keep telling people to do them. I'm currently working on non passion projects but I had an idea for one today. Should I scrap this idea or should I make it knowing it could flop again.

Steve Guglielmo

Ian, every choice you make in this life is a gamble, especially in art! When I graduated college back in the early 90's, I had a streak of films I got involved with that ran out of money and never completed. But I learned something from every experience. I can't gauge what "miserably failed" is from your point of view, but you even attempting a passion project is much better than the thousands that talk, and never try. I just started a series on my blog that every Yes and No makes a difference and started with a no that could've changed my life, but I moved on. Here's two quotes I'm going to give you from Les Brown, a great motivational speaker I listened to back in the 90's: "The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream." "Failure is not a destination; it’s an invitation to unforeseen victories. Someone once said that a person that has never failed, has never done anything. Be willing to fail your way to success!" You work on that next passion project Ian! But this time, really reflect on why the others didn't work. Maybe you need a partner, a team or a different team. You will ALWAYS learn something from trying, all you'll get from NOT trying, is regret. I wish you all the best!

Mark Tarrant

if we don't have passion...then were just like them....

Matt Z. Bell

As long as you are learning from your mistakes and each project is getting better.. you're golden Ian.

JD Hartman

Are you learning from your failures or mistakes or are you just repeating them in a slightly different flavor? Did all three project fail for similar reasons? Not enough information is provided to give a meaning answer.

M L.

I would avoid the term "Passion Project". It induces eyerolls and makes most crew run for the hills. Not because having passion is a bad thing. It's just that filmmakers who stamp a project with that label do so because the pay is awful and working conditions are horrid. Not saying that was the case on your 3 failures but if it was, well, there ya go.

Robert Rosenbaum

I have produced my own plays, shorts, TV pilots, CD-ROMs, books and websites. You do not know my name, so I guess you can say those decades of my life were failures. I am just now returning to writing after a decade of "doing other things." I am promoting a script for which I just held a table read. I am starting work on producing two of my older 10 minute plays into film shorts (one animated.) I do not know if they will be viewed by anymore than a handful of my friends. Will they be failures too? Many of us produce because of our passion for our (dare I say it) art and hope it will be accepted and seen and loved and praised. If it isn't, has it failed? I'm not sure what you mean by they "miserably failed" or what your definition of failure is. What I know is that I have not been happy these past years not writing and producing my work. So fuck it. I'm too old anymore to worry about being successful. I'd just want to do what makes me happy.

Dan MaxXx

passion keeps you up at 3am. the other stuff u do because u need to do; pays for food, rent, etc. Find a balance.

Ian Anderson

Wow can't believe on all the feedback thanks everyone. As for details yea I was very vague and I apologize for that. I did 2 short films and one sketch that I've felt way more passionate about than most of my other projects. All three of those have gotten very negative feedback. That's why I called them "miserable failures". Maybe I care a bit to much about other peoples opinions. I've been analyzing all of them for months and the only things they have in common are budget and I was directing them. Starting to think maybe diversity is the problem. I have learned from them I believe but I don't want this belief to be proven wrong again. Oh yea and I've heard both of those Les Brown quotes before but thanks for posting them. Cheers to not being in the grave yard I guess :/

Steve Guglielmo

When you're used to doing everything, it's hard to release the reins, especially when it's your story or idea. But if the common thread is directing your previous works, then maybe it's time to try just producing and shooting and let someone else focus their total energy on directing. If you really believe in your idea, then it's worth trying a different approach to see a possible better result.

Clark Lewis

Its all about the passion

Robert Rosenbaum

Steve Guglielmo - I am thinking about having someone else directing my projects for all the reasons that you mentioned.

Mark Tarrant

Do it because you do not care what people think or care about it.Sure folks have advice but its your story and your passion so they can go to hell. Take that from a guy who has a dozen projects that go on a shelf but they are my projects and my shelf.Even If i do not like your idea, if its in your head and heart go freakin do it. Its art, and every jerk wad ego driven better than your idea piece of film trash that says no or dislikes it...its not theres and its not for them. Not for us means not our passion because we do not have passion for it,or we can cash in on your passion. Do your art man.It is hard,it sucks,its a curse,but its you. Everyone wants to be Rodriguez,or Tarantino or someone can't be them,but they can never be YOU!!!!!And who are YOU? Thats the journey we artists are on brother...the journey and finding YOU!

JD Hartman

@Mark Tarrant Not everyone wants to be a starving artist. You can't improve the quality of your "art" if you can't accept and objectively process the feedback, both good and bad that's given. Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing, the same way, again and again and expecting the outcome to be different.

Ian Anderson

Genre of film.

Mark Tarrant

Hey JD Your right take positive feedback from people,but do not stop what you do or writing a character because someone does not like it or you can't sell it. You write the book or the film you want to see or read. I may change a title because a few folks said to,especially if they have sold a script or two. But what I won't do is give up on a story I believe in even if it keeps getting rejected. Stallone didn't so why should I?

Mark Tarrant

Funny thing about writing,the product you see in market is not what they had in a lot of even if you do all they say and make it pure... someone buys it and rewrites it.LOLThere are always changes,so Its so wild to me when folks rip your work apart or give you good advice,you make the changes and then someone says I liked it before or change this and two others do not like the new changes? If you get the same feedback from a few folks then boom yeah change it but the way they change and rewrite there going to hack it up anyway.Also in this world of creating ideas...Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...yeah so write what you want.

Stephen Barber

Ian, in my humble opinion... NOTHING is a flop. Nothing. The only failure that is real is the one we choose to not gain from. Passion/non-passion, etc. If you're taking action then I'm positive you're headed towards your kingdom. Keep 'choppin' wood'!

Jim Duncan

Go for it!

Richard Gustason

Just go for it. See if you can work on both. If not, work on the one you feel is getting traction. My opinion here so.

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