There are many things that you need to keep in mind if you want to succeed as a film director and follow the likes of Tony Jeton Selimi. Once a homeless man feeling helpless on the streets of London, he is now a globally respected educator, screenwriter and an award-winning author. He is also the co-creator of Living My Illusion, that since it hit the film festivals around the world, it has instantly become a global phenomenon.
In the first episode titled “The Truth Hurts”, the protagonist Joel Van der Molen, through Tony’s careful process and powerful questioning, he willingly and openly expresses on camera his deepest secrets and what is truly going on with his intimate relationship with his wife, creating suspense, drama and the desire to want to know more.
As someone who is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities in personal development and on the psychology of breaking through perceived limits, Tony uses his 30 years of knowledge to help others create life breakthroughs that pave the way for a healthier and happier life.
Many actors, musicians, film directors, entrepreneurs, educators, scientists, doctors, MP’s, lords, royalty, billionaires, celebrities, politicians and people from all professions hire him to help them create the life outcomes they desire. Organisations seek his help to teach his unique self-mastery values-based strategies to help them mindfully implement change programs, mental health and wellbeing strategies and engage their employees.
More and more film festival organisers book him to train filmmakers, directors, screenwriters and producers how to pitch their ideas and film to distributors, media, press and financiers so that they can build a business and wealth on the back of their film.
Since starting on his filmmaking journey, Tony has become an avid fan of filmmaking and has a few tips to share with others. Here are a few tips on how to succeed as a film director.
- Pitching (that is, the presentation)
“If the presentation does not get you hooked in the first two sentences, do not expect anyone to get hooked”, says Pegah Farahmand, the editor of the Random Acts program of Channel 4 UK. Most common in a pitch are the empty palaver and the endless descriptions. According to Farahmand, it is best to write a short, clear and concise paragraph.
- The idea
According to Selimi, many believe that the best stories have already been told, but the truth is that the key lies in the way of telling them. Do you have a different point of view? If you are presenting your story to a producer, ask if you have the liberty of finding a way to develop it within the context they ask for, or if you should adapt specifically to their needs. Also, make sure you create a logline that captivates the person you are pitching your idea to.
- You have to sell your movie!
Filmmaker Jake Witzenfeld – who premiered his documentary Orientated at Doc/Fest – says you have to focus on selling your work and not waiting for opportunities to knock on your door. Witzenfeld said that until Sheffield showed interest in his film, he had to move his work everywhere (and had to hear “no” a lot of times).
- Find your mentor
Find someone happy to be your mentor. “When I was just starting, I was lucky enough to find a person who helped me understand all the ins and outs of the film: festivals, networks, distribution…privileged information and someone has to teach you,” said Tom Davies, the producer of the movie Breaking a Monster. Tony J. Selimi is not the cheapest one, but he is considered one of the world’s best.
- Commit yourself
It is very important to be attentive to everything that is happening in the world, both socially and culturally, to broaden your perspective.
If you want to be a director, you will need a camera operator: find someone with the home you share a common vision, have matching values, and you want to work with. Some prefer to share costs others create joint venture partnerships. “Networking goes way beyond meeting Steven Spielberg, you have to find people who are in the same situation as you,” says Charlie Lyne.
- Be kind
“The size of your ego can make certain people not want to work with you, I’ve seen many filmmakers work for the wrong reasons,” says Farahmand.
On that note, let me leave you with this kindness quote:
“Kindness is a quality of your heart that maintains the equilibrium between your narcissist and altruistic nature.” –Tony Jeton Selimi