From a practical standpoint, there are tons of benefits to directing your own film, even in terms of trying to sell a screenplay, and here’s the best part – it doesn’t even have to be a feature! In fact, if you’ve never directed anything before, I cannot strongly enough recommend that you don’t begin with one and start practicing by making short films – lots of them.Making a feature-length film is a lot like getting married – don’t do it until you’re 100% sure that you’re ready to make that commitment. Otherwise, you could very easily end up with a half-baked feature film that no one will end up seeing, and that’s a terrible fate for all the time and effort you spent, so make sure that doesn’t happen to you by preparing!
In addition, here are some of the other things that directing your own work will do for you:
1. Demonstrate that you are capable of starting, and finishing, a job to a producer (this is a big deal when trying to sell a screenplay)
2. Provide you with an IMDB credit (these are invaluable in the industry, as they are your resume)
3. Allow you to have something that you can submit to a festival
4. Give you the ability to say that you have produced a movie (you don’t have to specify whether it’s a feature or not)
In addition, during the process of putting the project together, you will be forced to network in order to complete it. This means that the next time you want to make something, guess what? You already have a whole list of people that you can call up or e-mail and ask if they want to work with you again! I can speak from firsthand experience that this strategy really does work, and it is not a coincidence that directors often choose to work with the same people over and over again – if the team works, why mess with it? This all adds up to be a lot easier time when you want to sell a screenplay.