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If you’re waiting for permission to start making great films, chances are you’ll be waiting forever. Here’s the secret: You don’t need permission. We’re in the ask for forgiveness line of work here. There are no extra-credit assignments. There are no credentials. There are no grades. There’s just you and your camera and your inexplicable desire to put something worthwhile on the screen.

We’ve talked to some incredible women on our blog: directors, DPs, acting coaches, animators, Oscar Nominees, creative directors, artists. They’ve shared illuminating, perspective-shattering advice that any filmmaker can take to heart. Today we’re celebrating some of the wise women we’ve talked to on our blog by pulling some of our favorite moments from their interviews. Reader beware: the topics are all over the place — from storytelling to panic attacks — but we think that speaks to the overwhelming amount of great advice we’ve received over the years. Enjoy.

There’s maybe no one more qualified to be leading the charge for independent filmmakers these days than Jim Cummings. Since we talked to him a year ago, he’s gone on to make his first feature, Thunder Road, and win the Grand Jury Prize at South By Southwest. The film is currently sitting at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s already generated $500,000 in ticket sales in France alone. Maybe most notably, though, he and his crew made it on their own — no major studio, no executives, no distributors. It’s an independent film in the truest sense of the word. Let’s just say, he’s fired up about that:

Problems, if anything, are a lesson. Whether we’re defeated by them or come up with a genius solution, afterward they serve as nicely packaged tutorials in what to do and what not to do. So, it only makes sense that the production of a film is a wealth of valuable lessons because they’re filled with obstacles. As famed producer Lain Smith said in a 2014 interview with Screen Daily, “Making a film is a series of problems to solve.”

We know, we know. It’s another “Best of 2018” list. But, we think this one is a little different because it’s filled with things that can actually make an impact on your life as a filmmaker. If you believe, as we do, that we’re never done learning, then, by all means, keep reading.

Nothing gets wasted more often than inspiration. Sure, it’s the spark to something much larger, but far too often it fizzles, flashes, and ceases to exist. Poof. Gone. So, a word of warning: Don’t let your moment of inspiration go to waste. It may be temporary, there’s so much power behind it — and you can use that energy to bring something beautiful to life.