Film is a fiercely competitive field. Everyone’s fantasized about getting behind the camera and calling “action,” and twice that number have probably imagined themselves getting in front of it.
Furthermore, good equipment is cheaper and easier to use than ever, so anybody can hang their shingle in front of their door and call themselves a filmmaker. If you’re somebody with real talent and training, it can be hard to raise above the fray and find your niche. It can be even more difficult if you aren’t in the film mecca of SoCal.
But there are still ways you can make some money with your filmmaking skills. Here are just a few possibilities.
The editor is In
Video marketing is exploding, and the amount of people watching videos on mobile devices is doubling every year. It’s no wonder that brands and businesses want to hop on this train. Despite this, relatively few of them have the editing chops to make something that really pops.
This is where you (potentially) come in. Mastering the editor’s suite means that you can be the person that makes all of those online videos go viral, but to make it in the marketing biz, you’ve got to be versatile.
As Indie Film Hustle, a website that caters to filmmakers outside of Tinseltown, notes, “If you have a varied resume that covers many different genres, you’ll never be out of work and can always fill up those gaps in your schedule in between projects you really want to work on.”
Photo is your friend
Filmmaking and photography are cousins, and if you’re a skilled filmmaker, chances are that your camera skills can capture stills. People need photographers for almost every event imaginable, including graduations, weddings, birthdays, and bar mitzvahs, which is why it is wise to market yourself as a filmmaker and photographer.
Additionally, skills as a colorist or editor open another avenue for business. You can offer edited packages for professional, bridal, and graduation shoots when people will want to look their best.
Consider corporate training
One often-overlooked niche for video makers is corporate training videos. It’s estimated that the enterprise video market will be worth a whopping $19.8 billion by 2023. This is a huge and growing industry that is hungry for people with video expertise.
So what do corporate training videos look like? Making effective learning tools bundled with effective methods of evaluation is key to success in the corporate training market.
Sell national, buy local
Thanks to the advent of the internet, everything but the shots themselves can be done remotely. A weekend shoot in Malibu can be penned in NYC, planned in Ottawa, and edited in Cape Town.
Pre and post-production is untethered from geography, which means that you, as a film pro, can accept business from anywhere. But to do that, you need to know how to draw in all that widespread business. Buying access to a database of sales leads can help you compete on a national and even international, level.
However, connections are everything, and we recommend hiring and buying locally, even if you are working on jobs a thousand miles away. If you live in a small or medium-sized city, hiring local talent and freelancers means that you have access to talent at the drop of a hat.
If you need a special lens, particular camera, or unique lighting instrument, working with local businesses means that you can have the equipment in your hand in hours, rather than days. Finally, hiring and working with local talent means supporting the local economy and cultivating the local talent pool — always a plus.