Making films shouldn’t be a drag – Independent filmmakers offer their advice to break into the industry

“Make peace with rejection early on” – that was the advice independent filmmakers Mike Beddoes and Amy Clarke offered to aspiring filmmakers from Leeds Trinity University.

The lesson Mark and Amy wanted to pass on was resilience in the face of adversity, citing their own personal experiences as evidence that persistence pays off.

Opening up on his journey to becoming a filmmaker, Mark revealed the challenges he had to overcome just to establish himself in the industry.

“I was trying to break in, and I had gone down to London and written a ton of letters and I got one reply,” Mark said.

“It was an American producer called Cyrus Yavneh, he wrote a letter and he sort of became my mentor for years. And just from that one reply and one connection, it was endless help.”

The talk in the conference centre was full.

It was that one connection that allowed Mark to kick start his career and gain the knowledge and experience he needed to start making films of his own accord.

He did insist however, that his journey was by no means easy and, as such, was not without its ups and downs.

He said: “I must have written easily 100 letters, probably more. Emails and letters distributed throughout every production company I could find, and I got one reply but I wouldn’t be here making films without that one reply.

“So you have those days when you think you shouldn’t bother, but it is a case – in the early days – of mass networking, reaching out to as many as possible, and if you only get one or two replies, those are the one or two you need.”

Amy supported Mark’s point, claiming that any aspiring filmmaker shouldn’t let themselves be floored by rejection.

Amy and Mark, sitting on the right in this image, gave their advice to aspiring filmmakers

“In filmmaking, for every yes there will be 100 nos” Amy explained. “So you just have to try and get past that. Eat a tub of ice cream, and move on.”

Having shared their advice and experience, the duo went on to promote the release of their short feature film Sequins. This is a project about a young man with a passion for drag who seeks guidance from a veteran drag queen, set for release next year.

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