Filmmaking / Directing : 'Pick me up' Tips. by Audrey O'Reilly

Audrey O'Reilly

'Pick me up' Tips.

Hi guys,

I’m an Irish Writer/Director living in Paris, and I’m really curious what other people do to pick themselves back of the floor when they have had an (inevitable) set back? The longer I am in the business, the more I realise that talent accounts for about 20% of the battle, and the rest involves tenacity, networking, a big dose of good luck and most importantly, resilience! Personally, I find having other interests outside film making to be essential, so I volunteer with migrants here in Paris. It also gives me a necessary dose of perspective. What do other people do?

Nino Abate

Sounds like you have a great perspective. For most people, there are lots of ups and downs. Don't get too high on the top or too low in the dips.

Sean Wright Neeley

So glad you asked this question. I am dealing with the same thing. I have good scripts, gathering dust because I can't find a producer. It's hard to hang in there.

Victor Ramon Mojica

You're doing the right thing, Audrey. Sometimes you find your true calling in those distractions. That said - never forsake your dreams - never!

Karen "Kay" Ross

LOVE this question, Audrey, thanks for asking! I find this question particularly important for filmmakers (as opposed to writers, CamOps, editors, etc.) because our skill set almost requires momentum, so when that progress is halted, it's incredibly difficult to get going again. From a professional approach, I find using the last of my project energy to finish the work to my satisfaction is important. For example, I was just talking with a fellow producer about a documentary I was attached to that fell through, and specifically because I put my foot down about getting all available footage during events. When the EP decided against my recommendation, risking the integrity of the project, I still made a shot list with sound bytes, an interview list, and a preliminary script so I could show how that potential footage (Interview and B-Roll) would fit in together. Did they receive any of that work? No. But I was satisfied with my effort, and therefore could put it to rest and move on. And, of course, it covers my ass should they come back with a changed mind and I'm ready to hit the ground running. But really, it was for me.

From a personal standpoint, I would like to echo Nino Abate's sentiments which is managing expectations. It's sad to say, but you can't allow yourself to become too invested too soon. For me, I start my emotional investment with "wouldn't that be nice". That way, if it works out, then the answer is "Yes, it is nice!", but if it doesn't then it's just "Oh, well!". But I think that plays into your solution as well - perspective. Walking away and taking time to focus on something that doesn't work is a HUGE way to refuel for the next round in the ring!

Audrey O'Reilly

Yes, I suppose the thing is to enjoy the process and let the results talk care of themselves.

Joanna Karselis

All great advice above. From a very practical point of view, when I have disappointing news about a project I go straight to my punchbag and take out all my frustration on it. Fifteen minutes later, I feel much better and can plan what to do next. Works every time!

Nick Brown

That's spot on and directors/screenwriters generally have a lot less power than others in the industry. I've had three features optioned but haven't made the breakthrough though this year is looking promising. Directing gives you more options but I reckon screenwriters need 1) a large amount of talent 2) a huge amount of patience and 3) an inordinate amount of resilience !

Dan MaxXx

Lots of heartbreak in show business- for nobodies to established Talent. I was in film school and an Oscar winner Writer told me how several big name Hollywood billionaires intentionally torpedoed his passion project. He passed away without his passion project ever made. I guess the pick me up advice is TIME and PASSION. Your time will eventually come when all the current asshats in your way will be fired, or replaced. Then, maybe the next crop of Decision Makers will give you a shot - but you gotta be ready. Your craft has to be on point.


Yoga. I practice Yoga also with videos by Adrienne Mishler. She has a profound technique and to each theme a practice. They are related, body and soul, so walks in the nature can help,. You find back Your rythm in a walk and breathing fresh air, leave thoughts behind and start new ones. The arts, especially in Paris, are helpful and I am very interested in fashion design, this gets my head fresh with a lot of creative input by different people. I make an online course now in fashion design to create my own Yoga collection. I write on a TV series staged in the fashion scene of Paris " Models In Motion" and I research a lot on the internet for it. I would be happy to be in Paris like You, so You have all the chances to find the most beautiful places there and to be happy and inspired...

Lindbergh E Hollingsworth

Clint Eastwood said it's like building a brick wall ... you build it one brick at a time. As Dan MaxXx pointed out 'your craft has to be on point' ... and of course, it has to be presented to those that can say "yes". Do have those outlets to rest and recharge, and do have your pile of bricks and master the craft.

Kiril Maksimoski

We're talkin some serious patience here...some of the examples are Collateral, Looper, Phone Booth scripts all waited decades even more to see the light of the silver screen...

Victor Ramon Mojica

Kiril is some of that lag into production due to funding or weak enthusiasm for the project?

Kiril Maksimoski

Victor Ramon Mojica actually would love to chat with those writers, ask them myself :)

Victor Ramon Mojica

Me, too.

Christiane Lange

I have a day job, friends and many interests. Also, I have a background in business, and know that more projects fail than succeed. It's not unique to the film business, although it may be a bit more extreme there.

Timothy Ramirez

Once you set your 'time to write' pattern and infuse daily life into it, you can feel good about your tenacity to never give up on your dream. Remember, in a world of 'No's' it only takes one Yes to set your project in motion. Consider your volunteer work as a learning environment. getting to observe, listen and actually infuse those experiences into dialogue, scenarios, fresh perspectives. Blessings .

Ricardo Barretto

I got three degrees, studied cognitive psych, neuro, philosophy, studied and performed classical piano at large venues and private recitals, learned the guitar and how to sing (I'm now at Soprano range) pursued a masters program in depth psych and mythology, and pretty much designed the next ten years of my life, that is after I exhausted the field of screenwriting, and taught film and tv executives and helped people greenlight projects and win awards. Is it hard to break into screenwriting, you ask? It is easier to land a spaceship on Mars on the proverbial dime flying at several times the speed of a bullet. There's a map, a blueprint, mathematics, hard work with a certain degree of uncertainty. Screenwriting on the other hand? It's pure chaos. So, work on 'you', because when you find that awesome story you want to pursue, that exciting feeling of OMG this is awesome, there's no greater experience. When you stop listening to gurus that's when Confucius would say 'Now, you're ready. Now I can be your student.'

John Ellis

My day job (driving a truck for local pick up and delivery) gives me a lot of time to think about stories, as well as plenty of diversions (traffic, etc.) so I don't obsess (too much!).

Matthew Walsh

This is a wholly unpopular opinion, but it works great for me personally:

"I don't think about it."

--- I don't schedule time to write and I don't force myself to write; I often try to find other things to occupy my time and mind with... and often the more menial/tedious tasks (like doing my actual job for 8hrs staring at a computer) eventually stimulates my imagination and creativity begins to flow out of me like a fire-hose.

I've found that the more I pressure or force myself to write, the more my passion and ability resists... it becomes stressful and unfun, like anything you "force" yourself to do, and I generally don't like the stuff I churn out..

Naturally I write in ebbs and flows where I'll take 1-3 months off and not write anything.. but when that hose turns on, I breeze through scripts.. I just try to ride that wave as long as it lasts, stress-free, and the products I turn out are consistently great (semi-finalist and quarter-finalist Features and "strong considers"), and these waves of inspiration can equally last 1-3months..

Just thought I would offer a different perspective/suggestion than what is typical for this career field. But it also seems like others above in this chain are sharing somewhat similar ideas -- that they are distracted by day-to-day work or other hobbies , etc..

Debbie Croysdale

Pre covid , to chill from work I was training to be a Samaritan in UK, in gym an hour a day, a fixture in the pub and used to climb mountains.

Doug Nelson

MANY years ago - when I was ten feet tall and bullet proof - I did all sorts of things (skiing, auto racing, motorcycle trials, mountain trekking, wildlife photography...). But those days are long gone and I'm left with the memories and the aches & pains. I'm much more Stoic now - I just go with the flow.

Clayton Dudzic

Take some time and step back away from writing anything. Then over time get yourself involved with the film industry. Watching films both good and bad. overwhelm yourself in some offbeat writing of anything. Soon the itch will be there and soon will forget about why you stopped and excited knowing you are not alone. You can do it.

Audrey O'Reilly

A great thread, thanks very much guys. Nice to have company

Karen "Kay" Ross

Thanks so much for the question, Audrey! Hope you're back at it and kickin' butt! * long-distance high-five *

Paul Moxon

HI Audrey, it may sound a bit dumb but I literally just step back and go for a walk with my dog. She loves it and getting out in the fresh air usually helps me get over the inevitable feelings of rejection or not being good enough. Absolutely agree with you on how important resilience is.

D.E. White

I eat a lot of chocolate, go for a run and drink gin ;-) Seriously though, it took me a long time to realise the road is bumpy and when you get a high it will be inevitably be followed by a low. Rejections are a killer! Hang in there. x

Thomas Tamburello

I liken the act of doing what you supposedly love doing to trying to have a baby. If you're only after the end results it will always feel like work and having to try try again. If you love the process...keep F@cking. "The nature condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. Strangely enough it all turns out well."

Gayle Herbert Robinson

I think it's important to keep living as we stay on the daily rollercoaster ride of our chosen passion. And that means broadening our experiences outside of screenwriting, whether it's volunteering, or stepping into or overcoming one of our "I'll nevers, secret fears and "I'll do it one day" projects. You'll be surprised by the creativity it taps into and the joy that comes with it.

Clayton Dudzic

I start by watching some feel good films. Then read the Hollywood reporter for some updates in the industry. After all that, i get over whelmed with my own screenwriting.

James Welday

I find solace in my family and loved ones. Resilience is a major part of what keeps me going, creatively, as well as a sense that I don't want to let myself down. I truly hope you find the boost you're looking for, and if you ever need any advice on anything, please let me know!

Stefano Pavone

I keep going until I break down the wall in front of me, so to speak.

Kiril Maksimoski

Uve got all the tips right there in your post + one taboo - luck ;)

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