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If you are an Audio-Visual Creative who’s just starting out, I am pretty sure you are wondering about what and how exactly you want to start creating something. And if you are one of those who are interested in Filmmaking while also being drawn to Content Creation, (yes, they are both different & the same) then this article might just be for you.

If you look closely, filmmaking and content creation are quite different, but they also share some or a lot of similarities, as both involve the process of producing visual and/or audio content for an audience. Often times, the lines are blurry between the 2, sometimes making us wonder which is a better career path.

However, let’s first focus on the key differences between the two since that will help you ascertain which one, you are really interested in.

1. Scope and Scale

Filmmaking typically refers to the creation of traditional, narrative films that are intended for theatrical release or distribution through other traditional channels. This involves a larger production scale, including a professional crew, actors, and often substantial financial resources.

Content Creation encompasses a broader range of visual and audio content, which may include short videos, web series, vlogs, tutorials, and other forms of digital media. Content creation can vary widely in scale, from small-scale productions created by individuals or small teams to larger-scale productions.

2. Purpose and Intent

Filmmaking often has a storytelling or narrative focus, with a goal of creating a cohesive and engaging narrative that resonates with the audience. The intent is often to entertain, educate, or provoke emotions.

Content Creation can have a more diverse set of purposes, including entertainment, education, marketing, and more. Content creation is often driven by a desire to connect with a specific audience or community.

3. Distribution Channels

Filmmaking traditionally involves distribution through theaters, film festivals, and other established channels like OTT platforms. The focus is often on reaching a wide audience.

Content Creation has a more flexible approach to distribution, often utilizing online platforms, social media, and streaming services. Content creators may have a more direct and immediate connection with their audience through digital channels.

4. Production Process

Filmmaking typically follows a structured and well-defined production process, including pre-production, production, and post-production phases. The roles and responsibilities of various crew members are well-established.

Content Creation can be more flexible and agile, with creators often wearing multiple hats throughout the process. The production process may be more iterative, and creators might handle various aspects of the production themselves.

5. Budget and Resources

Filmmaking often requires a significant budget for equipment, talent, and post-production. Filmmakers may seek funding through studios, investors, or grants.

Content Creation can be more cost-effective, with creators often using consumer-grade equipment and relying on digital platforms for distribution. Content creators may be more self-reliant in terms of funding and may use Branding, crowd-funding or other monetization strategies.

6. Turn-around time

Filmmaking often has a long turn-around time, usually months or even years, because of the longer production process involved. So there is delayed gratification.

Content Creation usually has a quick turn-around time, usually daily, weekly or monthly, because of the shorter production process. So there is immediate gratification.

So these are some of the factors that differentiate Filmmaking and Content Creation. While some may argue that ‘film’ itself is ‘content’, in some cases they mutually complement each other or can be even mutually exclusive. Now that we‘ve seen what sets them apart, here’s the next big question.

How do you decide which one is right for YOU?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, certain personality traits may align more with either filmmaking or content creation. Keep in mind that these traits are generalizations, and as an individual you can often possess a combination of qualities. Here are some characteristics that might be associated with each:

Personality Traits Suited for Filmmaking

1. Visionary: Filmmaking often requires a visionary mindset, as filmmakers need to conceptualize and bring a unique vision to life on screen.

2. Collaborative: Filmmaking is a highly collaborative process. Individuals who work well with others, value teamwork, and can effectively communicate their ideas tend to thrive in this environment.

3. Detail-Oriented: Filmmakers need to pay attention to details, from scriptwriting to shot composition and editing. A meticulous approach to the craft can lead to a polished final product.

4. Resilient: The filmmaking process can be challenging, involving setbacks, rejections, and long hours. Resilience and a willingness to persist through difficulties are crucial traits.

5. Storyteller: Successful filmmakers are often skilled storytellers. They understand how to craft compelling narratives that engage and resonate with audiences.

Personality Traits Suited for Content Creation

1. Adaptable: Content creators often need to wear multiple hats and adapt to evolving trends and platforms. Flexibility and openness to change are valuable traits.

2. Self-Motivated: Content creation, especially in digital spaces, often relies on self-initiative. Those who are self-motivated can consistently produce and share content without external pressure.

3. Authenticity: Authenticity is key in content creation. Individuals who can express their genuine personality and connect with their audience on a personal level tend to thrive.

4. Tech-Savvy: Content creators frequently use digital tools and platforms. Being comfortable with technology, social media, online tools/apps and various creative software is advantageous.

5. Entrepreneurial Spirit: Many content creators operate as independent entrepreneurs. Having a business mindset, understanding branding, and being able to market oneself can contribute to success.

6. Engaging Personality: Being able to capture and maintain audience attention is crucial for content creators. An engaging personality, whether through humor, relatability, or expertise, can make content more compelling.

To summarize, if you are a visionary, collaborative, detail-oriented, resilient, story-teller then you are likely to fare well as a filmmaker.

And if you are adaptable, self-motivated, authentic, tech-savvy, engaging(personality-wise) with an entrepreneurial spirit, then you are better off being a Content creator.

Another important thing to note is that the process of Independent filmmaking is very closely associated with Content creation in the way you operate. They both require you to be entrepreneurial, iterative and wearing multiple hats by handling various aspects of production yourself.

It’s also important to note that there is overlap between these traits, and you may or can excel in both filmmaking and content creation. But ultimately, passion, dedication, and a willingness to learn and grow are essential characteristics for success in either field. So it is better to make a decision with respect to what resonates or aligns with your core value as a person.

Either way, whatever you create must be able to resonate emotionally at some level. If you are able to do that, then you are on your way to becoming a valuable creator.

7 Essential precursors to becoming a Screenwriter

Becoming a screenwriter happens way before you even realize you can write. There’s a general perception that you have to learn to be a writer to be a writer. Yes, of course, you can learn the craft to be a better writer but essentially writing is about living life in all its dimensions. You have to have the lived experience that acts as a raw material for your ideas and how you articulate your thoughts.

In that context, there are 7 essential factors or precursors that I consider pivotal to developing into a solid screenwriter —

1.      Travelling a lot, I mean, a lot. Going way beyond your comfortable geographical zones. Travelling gives you a bird’s eye view exposure to life and how you look at the world around you. Travelling forces you to think differently than the context you grew up in. It adds layers to your understanding of how the diversity of  life functions which can be a great stepping point to how you write layered characters and stories and avoid falling into the trap of the danger of the single story.

2.      Not being too quick to judge others. We are often told not to judge others with good reason. Because if we judge everything at face value, then we lose the value of looking deeper into things and learning life lessons. But of course, considering human nature, we are by default in a judgmental mode. If that’s the case, then judge yourself judging others i.e, see things from the others’ POV. Filmmaker David Fincher says of writing characters – that every character is/must be right, from their own perspective, if we are to create great drama. Which brings us to the next point – self-awareness.

3.      Having a keen sense of self-awareness. Knowing the right balance between your potential and limitations as to where you stand in a creative domain. Talking to yourself and practicing a healthy dose of critical thinking does wonders to our self-awareness. Self-awareness is also a way to keep yourself grounded and be humble which in turn makes you always open to learning new things.

4.      Engaging in a lot of creative, intellectual, philosophical, spiritual interactions both online and offline. Especially observing and learning from them. Most writers are apparently introverts but that should not stop us from engaging in a critical debate. It sharpens our critical and analytical thinking and helps hone the way we articulate thoughts.

5.      Practicing some form of visual or performing art. Sketching, painting, dancing etc. Other forms of Art especially involving the physical body or senses open up our minds. If a simple walk through the woods can open up your senses, imagine what a physical performance can do to your psyche.

6.      Connecting with people aka Being in a lot of relationships – friendly, romantic, familial, professional, whatever that adds to your sense of people psychology and dynamics. This is one of the foundational ways of understanding how people/characters’ minds work. This helps in developing characters that are multidimensional.

7.      Reading. Of course, one of the most foundational blocks of being a writer/screenwriter. You can create only if you ingest words, thoughts, perspectives, minds and ways of thinking – all of which come through reading fiction(novels), articles, poetry, comics and non-fiction or anything you can get your hands on. Your writing is directly proportional to your reading. Reading opens up new worlds in your head without ever stepping into one.

 In essence, having a wide and deep life experience can greatly influence your maturity as a screenwriter. If you already are practicing any or all of the above, then you are already on your way to developing into a solid screenwriter.