1. Come up with an idea for a movie
2. Keep your day job
3. Write the script, fund raise while writing the movie, also get gear together, see who you might want for cast & crew (from people you know or people a couple of degrees removed from your personal network)
4. Shoot the movie, while keeping your day job
5. Edit the movie, look for a venue to hold the premiere screening
6. Complete the movie, show it to some friends & fans, get feedback, make any final changes necessary
7. Blog & or start publicizing your project from the earliest point possible (script, shooting, or maybe after editing is completed), also network, keep in touch with interested people using the web & all other available means
8. Once final cut of film is ready, select a venue to hold the premiere screening
9. Take a month or two & publicize the screening well
10. Prepare DVD screeners or possibly DVDs for retail sales
11. Send out screeners to interested press (this can be done prior to the premiere screening or before the retail DVD release) & or you can put up clips from the movie, trailers, etc. on the web to generate interest in the project
12. Have the premiere screening
13. Start selling DVDs as soon as possible, after the premiere screening - through your own web site, through mail-order, if no other way is easily available to you. Of course work on getting press for the DVD, & also advertise a lot or consistently, as much as you can.
14. Start work on making the next movie while continuing to promote the DVD of the previous movie, also whenever screening opportunities show up, take them, could generate press & awareness for the movie & its DVD
This is of course a very narrow path that cuts film festivals & distributors, including internet based distribution, out of the equation - so, may not be for every or even the majority of indie filmmakers. However, if you like the movies you make & there are people interested in paying to watch what you make & your career has not been greatly aided by elements of the indie industry such as fests or distributors or on-line distribution, then this is a path that you can take with a project or several. This path will allow you to make & release movies. If you make enough interesting movies & get them out on DVD & publicize their existence, in a few years you may own a nice little catalog of real indie movies, & who knows, then you might be able to quit your day job from the generated revenue from all your movies & just work on making & releasing new movies - if that's (quitting day job) something that's very important to you. Otherwise, & regardless - this relatively narrow & relatively simple, quick (not waiting to hear from fests, etc. will save time) approach puts total control over your filmmaking career in your hands - and for some that may be a very good & useful way to go. Such ultra-indie approaches certainly have worked for some bands, plus no doubt other artists, including filmmakers.
This route is based on DVDs remaining items of value. If & when that changes, then you would have to adapt this approach to whatever revenue stream that replaces the DVD or come up with an alternative way to generate revenue from your movies.