I’ve worked with a lot of creative people throughout the years, and I’ve also listened to interviews with probably hundreds of people that work in film, acting, and the arts. Almost every single person cited one thing that they thought could be the biggest reason that artists and creative types get frustrated and burn out–something that many of them had suffered from themselves at some point in their lives.
What filmmaker doesn’t want to have a better looking film?
Sure, filmmaking is about telling a story, and the story is the absolute most important part of any film, but great visuals can go a long way to help tell that story.
Directors like Stanley Kubrik, Christopher Nolan, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro, they all use stunning cinematography and camera work to help tell their story on film.
Now you may think that getting the kind of amazing images that these guys get in their films is something you need a huge Hollywood budget to do, but I’m here to tell you, that’s not true.
Do your shot in your films look very flat, or washed out? Do your actors come across looking like they have a bad spray-on tan, or blue tinted skin? Have you ever wondered how some digital films have consistently beautiful colors, look beautifully sculpted, and almost look like they were shot on film stock? The secret to great-looking films is usually achieved by color grading.
Attending film festivals can be an awesome experience–seeing great new films on the big screen, walking the red carpet, and feeling the energy in the air can be inspirational to new and experienced filmmakers alike. But festivals serve another very important function for anyone in the industry–the networking opportunities at film festivals can make or break a career. In the fast-paced world of Hollywood, you never know who can help your career in the future. That fresh, new director you met at a small festival–she could turn out to be the next Scorsese, or the guy you were shooting the breeze with in the lobby could be the buyer for an international distributor or the casting director for one of the major studios. Film festivals may be the one opportunity you have to connect with the person that will give you your big break in the film industry.
Film financing: the seemingly elusive holy grail of independent filmmaking that we all know we need but nobody seems to know how to get. In the old days financing meant hitting up the film markets in hopes that a distributor would find some potential in your project among the thousands of others out there, or begging for funds from private investors or equity firms. The last decade has brought some new advances that make raising funds for projects much more accessible to the average independent filmmaker, and one of the most valuable of these newer methods has been crowdfunding. Minneapolis Producer Ryan Strandjord is no stranger to the topic–in the past two and a half years he has managed crowdfunding campaigns for two different film projects and several food-industry related projects, raising a total of over $270,000 primarily through Kickstarter. In fact, one of his most recent projects, the Herbivorous Butcher, was featured in the New York Times. We talked to Ryan and he shared some of his best tips on how independent filmmakers can hack Kickstarter to raise funds and build an audience for their projects.