Filmmaking - What Is A Pro?
The word “Professional” is often bandied about by indy filmmakers, and I’ve heard and read many things I just wouldn’t expect a “Pro” to say, though the person writing or saying them claims to be one. Time for a definition of terms.
Question: What qualifies a person to be a Pro?
That's the short answer, but anything longer is just embellishment. It's one thing to make movies. It's a whole different animal to get somebody to cut you a good check, for the work you've done.
Paycheck is more important than anything to a Professional, because you have to eat and pay bills, or you can't function, much less create pleasing Art.
Question: How does a person become a Pro?
Answer: By adopting a Pro attitude. The Pro attitude is “I work in the movie business. I do good work, and I must be paid for it.” This is regardless of the budget of his current Project, whether it is high or low.
Some don’t become a Pro until many paychecks, but you can have a Pro attitude right now, even if you’ve never been paid for doing your art. If you adopt the Pro attitude now, you multiply your effectiveness many times, and shorten the time until those paychecks come in.
A person with a Pro attitude has aligned his brain cells and unconscious mind, so every action and thought is geared toward one outcome - to be paid for his work, what his work is worth. This has many benefits, chiefly the quality of his work improves.
You can take years to get a Pro attitude, or you can do it right away. I recommend you read a book with a funny name by Stuart Lichtman, an expert on the human brain from MIT. http://snurl.com/brdr
Another great book on developing a Pro attitude is Napoleon Hill's classic "Think And Grow Rich," free in your library, or get it here online. http://snurl.com/hlk4
They are both good books. Stuart’s is like a series of games, so it’s almost effortless, and it will improve every aspect of your life. Napoleon's classic book takes a while, and you have to muscle it through by will power, but it’s great.
Once you've adjusted your attitude, your unconscious mind will steer your every action and memory, every skill you have, and those you need to learn, toward delivering what you need to do your job, and be paid your paycheck.
Once you do, your natural love of your Art has a chance of being fulfilled. Until you do, you're just floundering.
You may disagree with my brutal bottom-line assessment of what a Pro is. You may feel a Pro isn't defined by a paycheck. To you a Pro might be merely a person with a lot of experience in a certain area, or a person with a natural talent.
Well, “Professional” is defined,
"Pro*fes"sion*al, n. A person who prosecutes anything professionally, or for a livelihood, and not in the character of an amateur; a professional worker." -- Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
Unless he has a paycheck, his "lot of experience" just makes him a hobbyist. By definition, a hobbyist is not a Professional anything. There is nothing wrong with being a hobbyist, or an “amateur,” (which means you do something “for the love of it”), but generally, amateur quality is not up to a Pro standard.
It’s common to say, "You have so much talent, you're a real Pro," but even natural talent, practiced and refined, won’t be Pro until one’s work quality is good enough to motivate another to pay him for it.
While skill and/or talent certainly are important, the defining quality of a Professional is payment.
Think “paycheck.” May you earn many big ones.
This article was posted on September 14, 2005