Self-Doubt and How I'm Overcoming It

Self-Doubt and How I’m Overcoming It

This is the latest installment in a comprehensive series of posts where I share the process of creating my first feature documentary film, Still Moving. If you find this or any of my other posts valuable in any way, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the film via PayPal.

Over the past few blog posts, I’ve written how-to guides — on coming up with ideas, writing proposals, registering businesses, finding fiscal sponsors, etc. While I intend to continue writing these how-to guides, chronicling the entire process of creating my first feature documentary film, I want to take brief pause to discuss something a little more personal.

Self-Doubt and How I’m Overcoming It

Making a feature film is a monumental task. Making your first feature film is even bigger… Why?

Veteran filmmakers face many challenges, but at least they know what to do and when to do it.

First-time filmmakers, on the other hand, are bound to waste time and energy — their most valuable resources — on tasks that produce no results.

“Too much time spent on these kinds of tasks and you’ll never have a film to show,” I remind myself often.

This has been a major and consistent source of self-doubt throughout this filmmaking process.

See, I’ve worked as producer on several documentary television shows, but my job is usually “story producer” (the documentary/reality equivalent of a writer). I fulfill a very specific role in the production and post-production processes.

I have very little experience in things like development, fundraising, pre-production, distribution, and marketing.

And yet these are the very things I am taking on by producing and directing my first feature documentary film.

And it’s terrifying.

And it fills me with self-doubt.

Questions like, “Am I focusing my energy on the right tasks?” “Am I wasting my time?” “Do I even have what it takes?” These things rattle around my brain.

But I’m not writing this for your pity. I’m writing this to share my experience with you, and explain how I overcome these questions and the feeling of self-doubt that causes them.

The reason I can overcome this self-doubt is because I genuinely believe in the project I’m working on. I believe that creating it is the right thing to do.

And so I remind myself that, regardless of the quality of the film, regardless of the quantity of views it gets, I will make a film.

I will shoot something, I will edit something, and the result will be a film. It may not be a good film, but it will be a film.

It’s when I allow myself to get caught up in a desire for the film to be great that I create the spark of self-doubt. When I’m in this mode, all setbacks, whether they are internal or external, fuel the self-doubt inside of me.

But, I am resilient. I am determined. And, when the self-doubt becomes difficult to manage, I simply remind myself:

I will make a film.

And I move forward.

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