Updated: May 21
“Produce where you are. Creativity isn’t bottled up in some location. There isn’t a secret elixir that can only be found in Los Angeles.” Ryan Hartsock
When Ryan provided our filmmaking audience with this piece of advice in episode 25 of the MAKE IT podcast, we agreed in principle but with a caveat in practice. The sentiment here is simply that content can be created anywhere and that you can build a career right where you are. There are production studios (of varying sizes), networks of filmmakers (of varying talent), and audiences (of varying tastes) everywhere. Ryan is right. You can "produce where you are."
But here's the caveat: Where you produce content is very much dependent on your own unique career aspirations. Though there is no "secret elixir" to creativity held only within the city limits of LA, there are filmmaking hubs whose networks, talent pools, and access to filmmaking technologies have much more to offer. Just follow the locations of the top film schools in the country: USC, UCLA, NYU, LA Film School, and American Film Institute. Their locations and their infrastructures are designed to maintain the powerhouse influence of the major studios and, if being a part of Hollywood is your goal, this is where you likely need to be.
With his advice, Ryan is inviting indie filmmakers to consider the value and potential of producing where they are as opposed to keeping both eyes firmly affixed to the allure of Hollywood. Considering the low percentage of filmmakers who actually make it into that gated community, this is certainly wise advice for anyone who wants to build a career in filmmaking. Sustainable work, which can be achieved right at home, can be the one thing that provides the indie filmmaker with adequate stability and resources to try new things, continue their education, and develop the network of professionals needed to bring their own unique projects to life.
We invite you to consider Ryan's advice as well as your own career aspirations as you make the choice of where to live to advance your filmmaking career. As a career is defined by both its longevity and its opportunities for growth, you have to identify the best place for achieving these two outcomes.
Give a listen to episode 25 of the MAKE IT podcast to hear even more insight and perspective from Ryan. As a producer of successful short and feature film content, he has a world of experience to offer.
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