The 2020 public health crisis has affected everything we do. And in a few other industries than the creative industry and especially in filmmaking. You have to be pretty isolated not to notice that thousands of people refer to themselves as filmmakers. Is there a new generation of filmmakers?
Traditionally, filmmakers and those aspiring to filmmaking create content for the traditional distribution networks: film markets, festivals, theatrical releases and television.
Traditions are broken and will likely never be fixed. This is a whole new generation of filmmakers.
The new breed of filmmaker
The new generation of filmmakers are not interested in making a feature film. Far from it. These are the filmmakers who make YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook videos. These are the vloggers, web series creators, video essayists, influencers, and branded content creators. And big surprise! This new generation of filmmakers can make more money than the traditional filmmaker. And they are usually self-taught. They distance themselves far from traditional film schools.
Additionally, many of this new generation of filmmakers have an astronomical number of followers (reading audiences) far larger than any but a handful of A-list filmmakers. In fact, many of these filmmakers get projects from Netflix, Amazon, and the studios.
Another big change in the decades since I started Raindance is that this new generation of filmmakers doesn't need the film industry. Many are happy and content to pursue their own careers without the insights of executives and the creative interventions under which the big money film industry operates.
Why the new generation of filmmakers are avoiding Hollywood
Filmmakers like Freddie Wong turned down Hollywood's offer to feature its award-winning Video Game Hight School for precisely this reason. This show received over 110 million views. The advertising revenue plus the associated brand advertising revenue would enable any filmmaker to stop worrying about home.
How the new generation of filmmakers make money
It's a whole new world and a whole new set of rules. To be successful, you need to become an expert on social media. Let's look at how the new generation of filmmakers are facing the challenge of monetizing creative ideas.
YouTubers make money by advertising every time someone sees their movie. It's not a lot of money per view, but for YouTubers like Chris and Virgil at Indiefilmmakers, high quality film training videos are made that get tens of thousands of views.
Other filmmakers like TomSka by Thomas Ridgewell are a collection of live-action comedy and animated short films.
Another brilliant YouTube channel is created by the post-production software company StudioBinder.
For directors, my favorite is Every Frame A Painting, which was no longer updated in 2017. The content is still brilliant, fun, and formative. Well done for creating this Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou. My favorite is this episode from former Raindance volunteer Edgar Wright:
Spend some time checking out your favorite Youtubers. Analyze the type of content they create, how often it is created and how they market it.
The world's best Instagrammer is the footballer Christiano Rinaldo with an amazing quarter of a billion followers. Which filmmaker wouldn't want to achieve that? Instagram is a very powerful tool.
Raindance uses the video / broadcast function to host our daily Instagram Live with filmmakers.
Personally, I love Nike's “You Can't Stop Us” ad for 2020 that was posted on the Nike Instagram channel and received nearly 20 million views the day it was launched.
Starting from a monetization POV, Instagram is great for building audiences and awareness. Use an Instagram channel to promote your projects and build personal branding.
Facebook for filmmakers
Facebook is. a private network that is very dominant now. We've all seen the hype about selling products on FaceBook. Filmmakers use Facebook to promote films or run a crowdfunding campaign.
Facebook is great for building a community. Filmmakers can easily search for new crew or actor jobs on Facebook groups like The Mandy Network.
Charities like The Independent Film Trust use their Facebook group to promote their good community film group.)
Decide what you want to do with your Facebook presence – if you want to use this platform at all. This is a good and solid way to get your audience excited about your events and screenings. And also a very good place to look for work.
Branded entertainment is a relative newcomer to filmmakers. All branded entertainment is a new and sophisticated form of product placement where the core values of the brand can be embedded in a plot.
The filmmaker's trick is to find a brand with a marketing budget that is looking for alternative ways to get their brand's message across.
Raindance attempted this in 2019 by creating a festival trailer to demonstrate our core belief that BREXIT would be harmful. Unfortunately, the dystopian view of London has been fulfilled in the summer of 2019 with the public health pandemic. However, with this promotion for the festival we got a lot of attention.
Research brands and their marketing departments. Check out marketing magazines to see if you can find out what products are coming out and whether you can work with them.
Everyone loves it when someone else is committed to their work. It goes without saying that the more followers you have on social media, the more valuable you are to someone seeking help promoting their brand. When you have a large number of followers, you can get paid well for taking on a brand. You can also add the flowery title “Influencer” to your business card.
Of course, you also create films for brands. Sometimes these are traditional ads. And sometimes just videos demonstrating the product (like a camera) or a vacation destination.
In the entry-level class, influencers can be paid by the hour. Here is a list of 50 brands that are looking for influencers. You can be reimbursed up to $ 15 an hour for your efforts with everything from free products.
Getting paid as an influencer means you need to attract an audience. The more targeted the audience, the more useful it is to a brand you're trying to engage.
This is the hot new area for filmmakers. Companies like Punch Drunk and Secret Cinema specialize in immersive experiences that fuse the medium of theater and cinema.
But these new ventures are a good decade old. The pandemic has opened up an exciting new way to create content that combines live action and cinema. and I'm not talking about zoom.
Australian filmmaker Michael Beets created a way to combine live action, theater, films, and community viewing experiences. His new horror film, In The Shadow It Waits, is rehearsed with 6 actors in their homes each using the cameras on their computers. The feeds then flow back to Michael. He mixes them live and creates a film that is visually stunning and dramatically entertaining.
It's a brave new world. Now, like Micheal did, it is time to come up with a new way of creating and distributing your movies.
Acquiring filmmaking skills doesn't have to be expensive. Premium and Pro Raindance members can watch over 50 hours of our lockdown sessions for free! Learn everything from stop-frame animations you can do at home to how to get production finance.
We live in challenging times. Don't let these difficult times get you down. Remember: it is a time for innovation and renewal. The new tools for social media and digital creation and distribution offer you and your colleagues a wealth of possibilities. Make movies! And right.