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The Power of Positive Filmmaking: A Guide to the 3 Lives of Your Film

As a new independent filmmaker, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the creative process.

But have you ever heard of your film having three lives? Yes, three lives!

"Your film: three lives and two deaths. It is born in your head, it dies on paper; it is brought to life again during shooting, where it is killed on film; and then resurrected in the editing, where it opens up like flowers in water." — French filmmaker, Robert Bresson. Interview with Walter Murch.

Here's my take.

With every life, there's a chance to make your film better, to make it more impactful, and to bring your (new) vision to life. Here's why that's helpful.

Understanding that your film goes through multiple stages of creation can give you a newfound perspective on the filmmaking process.

First, your film is born in your head.

It starts as just an idea—a spark of creativity.

This is where the magic begins, and where you get to shape your vision. When you write, some of your ideas may get lost (or don't translate well). This challenges new ideas to surface.

While your original ideas may die, new ones rise above.

Second, your film comes to life on set.

The entire production (and everyone involved) starts to interpret the script for their roles.

During the shooting process, the actors bring your script to life, and the camera & crew capture it all. Film is one of the most collaborative mediums. So, just one added perspective can better the film.

Embrace the constant changes and adapt quickly.

Third, your film is resurrected when editing.

This is where the footage is carefully rearranged to retell the story.

In editing, it's polished and transformed into a finished product. It "opens up like flowers in water" when shared with the world. (Bresson)

Your (new) film will instruct you on how to cut it. Listen.


Your film has multiple chances to come to life. To be shaped and molded.

Embrace each stage of the process, and always look optimistically towards the end goal. Walter Murch even states that each film lives a fourth life: through the audience's interpretation. I agree.

This fourth life showcases the power of art to impact and evolve.

See you tomorrow. Matt Cici

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