• Sean LaFollette


The word confidence

Most artists are missing the one main ingredient required to become great. Confidence. Without it, you may never put yourself out there. You’ll never show your work. You’ll never share your voice. You’ll never make a difference. You can be the best artist out there, but your dreams may never be fully realized if you have a lack of confidence.

When I started my creative journey, it was all very hush, hush. I went to acting classes several times a week and nobody really knew. I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t post about it on Facebook, I didn’t share my experience with my family. It wasn’t until I started working behind the camera, that I would begin sharing my work.

I think part of me was afraid of being in the spotlight. I’m not talking about fame here. It’s simpler than that. I’m talking about simply putting a face with the name. I felt okay posting about my work and sharing with my friends and family. I felt very insecure talking about it more personally. I wanted to hide behind the computer and sometimes I still do.

Since that time, I’ve gained enough confidence to begin moving in the right direction but it’s still something I struggle with. It’s still something I’m very aware of and I continually take actionable steps towards gaining more and more confidence along the way. It’s still a process, it’s still work, it’s still a battle each day.

I know the key to realizing my dreams lies in my own ability to be vulnerable. I know that I need to be brave, if I want to take my art to a higher level. I know I need to progress daily and constantly move towards my goals. I know I need to practice and work harder by taking actionable steps that will first break me down, only to later build me up. My actionable steps are below.


The first thing you can do is simple, post on social media. If you haven’t already, be brave, get on your favorite platform and simply tell people you’re an artist. You must claim this title if you want to be it. Whatever it is, writer, director, producer, actor, painter, musician. You must let people know and put it out in the universe.

There’s a fear holding you back from letting people know. You’re afraid that somebody is going to take your dream, something so precious to you and they’re going to shit on it. You’re afraid somebody is going to make fun of you and ruin the thing you hold so dear. Fuck those people, as they do exist. However, I’ve never once encountered one in my over 10 years of doing this.

People are always going to talk shit about you behind your back. Who cares, let them. You don’t know it, you don’t hear about it so you shouldn’t give a shit about it. You’re being open, honest and vulnerable. You know who you are. They don’t have a clue about who they are. They have no goals or ambitions and they want to make fun of you? It really makes no sense when you think about it. Haters are always going to hate, so let them. It’s only noise and it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

So take that first step and tell people about your art today. Still not feeling comfortable? Create an alter ego, start a new social media page using that alter ego and post through there. Something like, The Failed Filmmaker. Don’t tell your friends, don’t tell your family. Just post and let strangers see your claim. It’s not about WHO you tell, it’s about telling.


Submit and submit often. One of the biggest hurdles I needed to get over was hearing the word NO. I know it’s something you struggle with too. The bad news is...you’re going to hear it and hear it often. So, get used to it.

When it comes to festivals, big or small you should be submitting to them all. The goal of a festival, at the early stages of your career, is to simply help build confidence. Use them as a tool to hear the word NO and get used to hearing it. After your first few NO’s, you’ll become numb to it and simply see it as noise.

Now, with the good news, you’re going to also hear a YES. Not quite as important as hearing NO but it’s a small validation that your efforts are being noticed. A YES can keep you in the game and push you to work harder. A YES feels good. Don’t be afraid to go after that feeling. This is why I suggest submitting to many festivals.

Obviously, some festivals are bigger and more prestigious than others. When you submit to larger festivals, the competition is greater. That’s fine, submit, cross your fingers and hope that the judges find the genius in your work. However, submit to the small festivals too. With less competition, you increase your chances of hearing a YES and you want to get a chance at hearing this.

If you have a script or film sitting on the shelf collecting dust, clean that fucker off and start submitting it places. Start hearing NO as you work towards hearing a YES. Becoming numb to NO will give you the confidence needed to move more aggressively towards your goals.


When you’re on the outside looking in, industry professionals can seem like untouchables. They seem like they’re on another level, inaccessible to yourself. I’m here to tell you they’re not. They’re just people and were once in your shoes. They’re accessible in many ways and you should find a reason to reach out to them.

Looking for advice from your favorite writer, director, producer, actor, cinematographer? Send a message on their social media account and ask your question. Depending on who it is, they might not answer and that’s okay. It’s not about the answer. It’s about taking a chance and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Looking for an agent from a large agency? Find one you want to be represented by, do some research, find some email addresses and send them some messages. I once spent an hour in the morning performing this exercise. I located the email address of several agents at a large agency (this is surprisingly very simple) and sent the same email to each of them separately. Out of 4 emails, I heard back from 1 person.

I didn’t get an agent from my efforts and in fact, I still don’t have one. Again, it wasn’t about getting an agent. It was about taking a chance, stepping out of my comfort zone and building some confidence. I no longer see industry professionals as people who are above me. I now see them as my peers. THIS is confidence.

Take a moment, take a chance and reach out to those you want to talk with.


Small baby steps in the right direction will always make a big difference in the long run. It’s important to take small steps towards your goals, as often as you can. You need to break down barriers and the walls you put around yourself, if you want people to see you. To REALLY see you.

You’re stronger and more brave than you think. So be strong, be brave and work at being the confident artist you want to become.

If you still have reservations and need a little more help, let me know. I’ll gladly post about you on my social media and give you the nudge needed to push you in the right direction.

- The Failed Filmmaker






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