The Call for Creation
Video has become a huge part of our lives. Whether we like it or not, it is the medium of choice and will continue to be for the future. Movies, video games, and the advertisements that constantly bombard revolve around moving pictures. The reason that it has become this way is because video is the most effective at advertising and holding our attention while entertaining us. That means that there is video surrounding us; everywhere we look we can find a different style or genre be it narrative film, reality tv, conceptual art, gaming, or ads.
With all that, video is easily a multi billion dollar industry, creating thousands of job around the world. So you may be thinking to yourself, how would one get to be a part of said industry? I will be honest, it is a rather over-saturated market, so you need to be competitive and know your stuff. There are a variety of ways that a person can get into video as a career, but I am going to show you the way that I have found the most success with.
Crowd Sourcing is exactly what it sounds like, instead of a production company being the source of the video (typically an advertisement), a company will turn to a crowd of filmmakers to create a video. The reason that this has become so popular is mostly the cost. If you are paying a company to pay small time filmmakers to make your film you will get high quality (and some low quality) content at a fraction of the price of just producing a single advertisement through a production company.
This is good news for little filmmakers that don't have a name out yet. It gives them the opportunity to monetize their hobby that they love and the possibility to get noticed by big brands! There is a few hoops that you need to jump through if you want to get into crowd sourcing though.
The first, and probably worst (think like flaming hoop of spikes and scorpions) obstacle that you need to overcome is, there is no guarantee of profit. This creates a problem. To even think about being competitive in this industry, a filmmaker first needs a good idea, and that idea needs to relate to the creative brief that the brand provides. After the idea (which I hope you came up with on your own for free) you need to start the process of making the film itself which is going to cost MONEY! You cannot get around this fact. If you are shooting on a Vixia and all the people that are competing against you are using 5D's and D600's you are going to lose. If you are bound to your backyard and your competition is traveling to exotic locales to get a diverse array of shots, you are going to lose. So you can see the issue. You can either spend absolutely nothing on your production and never win a brand purchase, or you can dump copious amounts of resources into your film and MAYBE win and hopefully recoup your investment.
There are ways to overcome this though, but I warn you, it's going to add more hoops to jump through. The only way to get funded as a crowd source filmmaker is through a production grant, and that is a whole other animal that you need to tame. Crowd sourcing sites like MOFILM and Tongal have grants available for the funding projects. These grants typically come in amounts from $500 to $3,500 and sometimes even include specific props for the brief. Getting a grant is almost as hard as winning the contest, so make sure you are very detailed about your idea and don't be beaten down if at first you don't succeed!
So this is great, we have our awesome gear, a stellar idea, a crew that is on board and knows what's up, and now we have $2,000 to make our film! What more could we possibly need?
Oh wait...that $2,000, about that...you don't get that until about 60 days AFTER the project deadline. Well that's cruddy. But there is a good reason for that: if they just gave out production grants all willy-nilly like drug laced candy there would be some serious issues with people not doing the films, and then getting the money BACK. So as much as it does suck, it makes sense, especially if that company had never worked with you before. What this means for you as a filmmaker is that you need to somehow foot the bill for the project, but once you do that you know you will get your money back and the production that you make will be exponentially better than the one would have made without it, thus increasing its chance of placing.
Hurry Up and Wait
Then comes the really fun/horrible part! After you have tirelessly worked on your video and made edits and re-edits and you named a file with "FINAL" and then inevitably went back and made changes because the "FINAL" is never the final, you are ready to submit! So you finalize all the paperwork and start the upload.
And then you wait.
As my favorite professor whose name that I cannot recall (that is about how much I liked college) said, "now is the time to hurry up and wait." After what feels like FOREVER (maybe like a week or two max) you receive an email, or you DON'T receive an email. Most crowd sourcing companies will notify the winner first and then the runners-up. Sometimes you need to be vigilant on all the mediums that they use to communicate, that being Facebook, your email, or the actual crowd sourcing site. All in all it is super exciting from pre-preduction to getting paid! I can't even describe to you how much I love the whole process, even all the little annoying bits that seem to get in the way.
If you wanted to get into crowd sourcing videos, or even video, I hope this helped! Subscribe to my series for more awesome videography and photography blogs!