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Many people from all over the world want to make films and become film directors. Practically every country hosts film festivals to show new work from professional and independent filmmakers. Many universities now offer MFA degree filmmaking programs that cater to the large student population that want to be the next future directors, yet every year thousands of film graduates cannot find a film job. One can find a lot of information about how to make a film. However, when it comes to the hard questions about how does one actually break into the film industry and make a career, there is not clear path. Unlike other fields where the path to success and security is clearly delineated, the film industry is an insider's domain that accepts only the very few talented and lucky filmmakers who manage to negotiate the myriad challenges of finding the right door to knock on, the right person to know, and to make a film that people actually want to see. And when one finally succeeds in breaking in, there is little security except for those who make it to the top of their profession. This article is a practical look at the difficulties new and emerging filmmakers will face when trying to start a career and break into the film industry. It offers a road map on the decisions and steps filmmakers will encounter as they begin their profession. Besides possessing talent and motivation, new filmmakers need to find the means of opportunity to start making films. Many think film school is the answer, but as this article outlines, there are advantages and disadvantages of taking that route. Film schools are really a training ground, a resource to find creative collaborators, and a way to make some work, but the industry judges the filmmaker on the quality of the films themselves rather than the degree. Since most students make only short films rather than features, many fail to understand what makes a short film work. They try to put too much plot, stylistic devices, without taking advantage of the short film form-- a highly condensed story that revolves around a moment in a character's life. The article examines the components of what makes a successful short film, so students have a chance of getting their work seen in film festivals, which have their own agenda and may lead to a public screening but many times nothing more than that. In addition, this guide outlines how to make an interesting reel that acts as the calling card of the filmmaker. It delves into the possible different areas of filmmaking one can begin:Documentaries, Music Videos, Television, and Commercials as an alternative or a starting point to making feature films. But the problem today is not how to make a feature but how to get it seen. This guide also examines the challenges of distribution, which most often is also linked to how the film is funded. While the information is based on the author's experiences and observations working in the United States, this no-nonsense look is applicable to all filmmakers from any country. The article offers sensible advice on the seemingly insurmountable obstacles one faces in finding a job and getting your film seen. It provides some answers and also raises the questions independents must ask and answer for themselves if they want to go the distance and make filmmaking a way of life.