When I first conceived of Filmmaker Freedom, I knew that I wanted it to be far more than just a one-man filmmaking blog.
I imagined that it would be a community of like-minded independent filmmakers, where we could all share our experiences and learn from one another.
While there are numerous ways to implement community in an online setting (commenting, forums, discussion boards, etc), I want to try something a little bit different, something that I haven’t ever seen before.
As of today, we’re introducing a new recurring column on the site that any filmmaker can contribute to. It’s called Filmmaker Stories, and it’s a way for filmmakers to share their experiences and lessons learned with the entire readership of this site.
The idea behind this column is simple: every time we make a new film or work on a project, we learn something. We grow as filmmakers and artists. So why not share those lessons and those personal insights with a community of filmmakers who are looking to improve their craft?
The benefits of submitting a Filmmaker Story
First, it’s an organic way for you to promote your films and yourself as a filmmaker.
With so many people making films these days, it’s harder than ever to stand out. However, when you share your work and provide value by telling people how you accomplished what you did, you not only build an audience, but you build trust and good will with that audience. That good will goes a long way when it comes time to start sharing and selling your films.
Second, it gives back to the community and helps a future generation of filmmakers.
This one is pretty self explanatory. Providing useful, insightful content is the best way to ensure that the next generation of filmmakers succeeds. This, of course, builds up your filmmaking karma. Then in your next life, you’ll be reincarnated as something cool, like a bald eagle or a tiger. However, if you don’t share, you risk getting reincarnated as a duck-billed platypus. Sorry.
Third, it’s extremely helpful to reflect back on your work.
The process of sitting down, collecting your thoughts about what you’ve accomplished (or want to accomplish), then translating those thoughts into a cohesive, organized article can really help you grow as a filmmaker. For me personally, putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) has helped me better think through various problems and solidify ideas for films.
How to submit a Filmmaker Story
Submitting a Filmmaker Story is simple, although we do have a few guidelines in place to maintain the quality of each post.
In order to submit, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Filmmaker Story.” Our editor Tyler Jones monitors this inbox. Say hi to him, and introduce yourself.
Then you can include the article in the body of the email, or as a PDF or .docx attachment.
Include any BTS photos, videos, storyboards, screenshots, or supplementary visual content that we can include in the post. These can be attached to the email, or sent through Dropbox or Google Drive. Please include something visual with your submission.
Make a list of links that you wanted included in your article. This could mean links to your website, your film's website, your social media accounts, or a crowdfunding campaign.
What should you write about?
In terms of writing a story, we have a few questions and prompts below to help you decide what to write.
What film or project are you talking about? Give us a brief synopsis. If it’s online already, or if you have a trailer, send a link so we can embed it.
Why is this project important to you? Tell us why you felt compelled to tell this particular story.
If the film isn’t finished, tell us where you are in the process (writing, pre-pro, production, post, etc), and how it’s going. What obstacles are you facing, and how do you plan to overcome them?
If it is finished, give us an overview of your entire process from start to finish, telling us what you learned along the way.
If you don’t want to share the entire process, you can also focus in on one particular aspect of your experience. Tell us how you went about writing the script, finding locations and crew, how you shot or edited. If you want, you can submit multiple Filmmaker Stories, each detailing a different piece of the process.
What’s the biggest lesson (or multiple lessons) you’ve learned so far while working on this film?
A note about gear: We don’t really care what gear you used for a project. Instead we want to know how and why you did something. If that includes brief mentions of your gear, that’s more than alright. However, we are not looking for overtly technical posts about cameras or workflow. The Filmmaker's Process is about the art and process of filmmaking, not the tools.
How should you write it?
We strive for a consistent writing style here at The Filmmaker's Process. We try our damnedest to make our stories as readable, engaging, and friendly as possible.
As contributors, we expect the same from you.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be a world-class writer, or even a good writer. It does mean, however, that you need to think carefully about what you want to convey, and then communicate it clearly.
Luckily, we’ve put together a helpful style guide that will make that much easier.
Lastly, we reserve the right to edit submissions for both style and clarity. We won’t add things that you didn’t say or impede on your voice. This column is about you sharing your experience, so we want it to be reflective of you as a person.
But we will correct spelling and grammatical mistakes, as well as format the post to meet our style guidelines. More often than not, this means that we’ll break up longer paragraphs into much shorter ones, bold important points, and add subheadings.
With all of that technical stuff out of the way, we’re genuinely excited about this. There’s nothing else like Filmmaker Stories on the internet.
Instead of taking the route of other filmmaking sites, where you will constantly encounter headlines like “Tarantino's Directing Techniques Revealed,” we believe that the best way to learn filmmaking is directly from one another.
If you’re wanting to make your first short film, reading the first-hand accounts from people who've done exactly that will be far more valuable than the second-hand accounts of the production of some $100 million feature out of Hollywood.
The same will be true for people embarking on their first independent feature, documentary, experimental film, or anything else.
So, let’s see where this grand experiment takes us. We’ve got a hunch that it will be epic.
Are you ready to tell your filmmaking story?