Every year Movie Making Magazine comes out with an article about the best cities to live in for filmmaking.
In the video, we talk about the best cities to live in to make films in 2019. Later on in the video we discuss why it doesn't matter as much as it used to. (Watch the video at the bottom of the page)
A few years ago I lived in Pittsburgh and then moved to Austin, Texas to follow the industry. My most successful projects have came out of my little home town area. It was a good idea to get started in those film cities while learning the ropes.
If you want a shortcut, here's the list:
The state has an incredible tax incentive that has made the area boom with business. It's more affordable than Los Angeles and still has the nice weather. There's a ton of talent there to work on movies with you that want to be working on films. It's a good mix of new industry talent and experience.
Canada also has a lucrative tax incentive. There's also a lot of productions happening here, sot he talent lives and works in the city already.
LA is still a hub of people interested in filmmaking. I wouldn't suggest people move straight to LA, but go here after you have some experience behind you. There's tons of talent to work with in the city, but you'll have to compete with all the other projects going on.
They have a lot of commercial production and quite a bit of television. It's a more unique way to cut your teeth in the filmmaking industry.
New York City
Well.... it's super expensive to live in New York, but there's tons of TV and commercial work. You'll have even more trouble finding collaborators because "everyone is busy."
What is great about Philly is the fact that it's easy to access other US cities. It's within driving distance to New York City, Washington DC, and Pittsburgh. There's also a major airport that gives you access to many other cities.
Louisiana has crazy tax credits going on. There's a lot of people making great money working on films here. There's not as big of an indie film scene, but it's growing.
You don't need to live in a major city to make movies anymore. Challenges exist everywhere, but so do opportunities. So take your pick and start making movies.
BTW, Movie Maker did come out with their 2019 list.
The Indie Film Distribution Course is on its way full of premium videos and resources to maximize your film's financial success.
You can signup for the prelaunch discount here: https://www.moviesintheblack.com/distribution.html
Indie Filmmaking YouTube Playlist
Gary Vee and about every marketing resource out there tells us that we need to be documenting our process.
Does this apply to filmmakers?
If so, what should we be documenting?
Gone are the days you can film behind the scenes and people will go crazy over it.
Should you film behind the scenes still?
Absolutely! But you should be doing more too.
Thankfully, vlogging has made it more acceptable for behind the scenes to be more low budget. AND everyone on set has a video camera in their pocket.
So, of course, film behind the scenes on set.
It's valuable to show more of the process too. The trick is, how much and what parts?
You're a filmmaker, you know the process isn't always glamorous. There is a ton of sitting behind the computer, or pouring over contracts, or a wall of notecards.
That's all good stuff!
You should also talk about how it relates to other parts of your life.
Tell us about your storyboarding process.
Tell us about that location fiasco and what you're going to do about it.
Some of my favorite YouTube creators used to share this process. Many of them have give up too fast. The notable exception is Darius Britt. He is killing it by BOTH documenting and creating. It took Darius years before he started gaining traction.
This advice is for myself too. Both in the content I share here and the vlog-style behind the scenes I'm making for my next film.
Start sharing your process. All the unglamorous parts. I want to hear about how your managing to raise two kids and do SAG paperwork. I want to hear about how moving half way across the country completely derailed post production. I REALLY want to hear what you're doing while screening at or waiting for film festivals.
Let's document AND create.
This chart below is something I found awhile ago speaking about "how to monetize your skills." In general it's a useful example of the interest in what you're doing. There are A TON of people out there taking an interest in filmmaking or getting started. Show them what you're working on.
Thank you for all the interest in the Movies in the Black Show so far! It's a dream to be able to sit down and talk with creatives about their process and business.
We have some bigger guests in the works, so I'm excited to be sharing those with you this summer!
The show has been moved over to podcast.moviesintheblack.com to make sharing the show to iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, YouTube, and Facebook easier. If you're subscribed to the newsletter, you'll still receive notifications of new episodes through that site.
Movies in the Black Show Playlist
Scott Sullivan is a producer, actor, and director from Pittsburgh living in Los Angeles. He is currently working on his short film, Red.
We talk about people connecting through the internet, teen bullying, battling depression, and using the right screenwriting software.
Scott talks about making a movie with no bad guys. He also touches on why we need to take teenagers more seriously and respect their perspectives.
Check out Red: instagram.com/redtheshortfilm/
Ben Gibson is co-founder of the Un.Inc and is obsessed with helping change makers get through the struggles that life, business, and creating presents.
Ben's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/youvolution/
The Un.Inc on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uninclife/
Anthony Freeze talks about the power of networking though content like his 24 Hour Hustle Show. He also details his future plans for his content including an audience facing site focused on entertainment culture and hosting screenings for big movies.
Check out his latest project: https://24hourmedia.net/
Alyssa is currently an Artist in Residence with Odyssey Clayworks in Asheville, North Carolina. Her work is a close study of design and technique, marrying the two to bring beauty and functionality into everyday life.
Ali shares some of her Instagram secrets and what it's like doing residency programs. She also talks in depth about diversifying your revenue streams as a creative.
Follow Alyssa Ruberto on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aliruby
You can now listen to the show on iTunes! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/movies-in-the-black-show/id1447982585?mt=2&i=1000426589269
Kevin Interdonato is a bi-coastal actor and producer. His acting career propelled forward once he started taking on producing responsibilities. His movie, Bad Frank, was a hit online. His most recent film, Dirty Dead Con Men has reached a respectable audience as well.
Kevin talks about some of his strategies for building a strong career in the movie industry. We also discuss wearing many hats and trusting the right people.
Follow Kevin Interdonato on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thekevinintro/?hl=en
More on Movies in the Black: https://www.moviesintheblack.com/
This episode we speak with filmmaker, Steve Sensebaugh about running a freelance production company in a small town while still trying to make movies. We also talk through the making of and distribution of his faith-based micro budget feature film.
Steve fell in love with film and photography at a young age which led him to attend ICTC for Digital Media Technology and the DuBois Business College for the John Russo Movie Making Program. He has won awards at the Creative Minds Film Festival held in DuBois, PA, competed in the Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Festival where his teams have won awards for Best Film Runner Up and Best Cinematography. Most recently Steve has worked for the TV show Return to Amish airing on TLC. He also co-owns a production company in Dubois, PA called Everlasting Productions.
For more about Everlasting Productions, visit their website: https://everlastingproductionsllc.com/
Where should you dig in and start reading & watching to really get a grasp on making a movie?
I'm obviously biased and think you should read Movies in the Black blog, but we're just getting started.
This is an ever-growing list that I use to learn more about filmmaking (other than actually making films):
Jim Cummings is a heroic case study for making films in today's environment.
He also shares EVERYTHING he learned so far. Follow him on Twitter to get a constant feed of inspiration and real actionable advice.
My favorite are his Medium posts that are incredibly detailed. Check out The Short to Feature Lab Curriculum.
No Film School is a HUGE resource for filmmakers. It's name says it all.
The biggest issue (for me) is that it gets very gear-focused, BUT you can bookmark a specific topic and get a ton of value.
I check the Distribution & Marketing thread often.
Alex Ferari's blog and podcast are a great jumping off point to really dive into indie filmmaking.
Alex has a specific vantage point in the industry that won't apply to everyone but I often find a lot of value in his podcast episodes.
He also just started IFHTV which hosts all kinds of filmmaker specific video content.
Rob Hardy has been going strong for years now writing articles and releasing a podcast about filmmaking under Filmmaker Freedom.
He tries hard to take a unique perspective towards indie filmmaking that hasn't been beaten to death by all the other blogs out there.
His most recent podcast season focused on the psychology of being a successful filmmaker.
The site also has tons of contributed articles from filmmakers about making their films and the lessons they learned. That includes one from me about paying your cast and crew!
This website and blog by Jason Brubaker has been around for a long time. This is the most "producer-focused" site I know about.
The content used to be pretty shallow and always pushing towards his premium paid content before providing any real value.
Recently, however, the articles are starting to be more useful without having to pay for the good stuff.
In addition to having a cool community of creators, Shooting People has a spot-on blog with a range of content about filmmaking.
7. IndieWire Toolkit
The Toolkit section of IndieWire doesn't get updated very often, but when it does it's great content. If you haven't read the articles already on there, go check it out!
These are all related to the bigger indie film industry. It may not be what you're looking for when you're just starting out but it's good to understand how the industry as a whole works.
The Story & Heart brand has a lot of interesting resources for creators including a storytellers academy. As a good intro (that is free) check out their blog. There's a lot to sink your teeth into.
9. Zacuto How-to Tutorials
Sort of like No Film School, Zacuto has a ton of content related to the technical side of filmmaking. They also have a few jems, though related to distribution and the business of filmmaking.
I LOVE the Seed & Spark blog. The only reason they're so low on this list is that most of their posts are related to their distribution platform now, but there's still a lot of great info on there.
The absolute best is their free crowdfunding course. Even if you're not crowdfunding, it's a masterclass in building an audience and marketing your project.
11. Articles on Tribeca
Tribeca has made a lot of content peaking behind the curtain of the films that premiere at the festival, come out of the institute, or just general filmmaking info. It's another good source to bookmark.
We take this serious. The Movies in the Black Show has been interviewing some really interesting filmmakers and creators that you can learn a lot from. Our blog posts based on producing low budget films is also a great place to start understanding the business side of filmmaking.
This episode we speak with actor, Dallas White about working and trying to make money while staying creatively satisfied in the movie industry.
Welcome to another episode of the Movies in the Black Show. We be interview creators about making a living in their fields. Movies are the main subject. We also interview other creative fields as we believe there is a lot to learn from other industries.
Dallas White is an up and coming east coast actor who has appeared in Discovery, Reelz, and Fox News shows. He has a small role on Mila Kunis' Bad Moms which ended up mostly in the deleted scenes.
Dallas also played a role in our film, Blood on the Leaves in 2015.
He has recently starred in the short film, 17 Locust Street.
For more about Dallas, visit his website: https://www.dallaswhite.net/
As indie film producers, it's wise to watch trends in media consumption.
Facebook IQ has a huge amount of data analysis to dig into. They have a great recurring article called "Topics to Watch" that helps me keep track of what's trending objectively.
In the October 2018 version, something particular caught my eye.
Inspirational fiction is exploding in popularity. There's lots of possible reasons for this, but the data is there regardless.
That is a huge growth spike, with older audiences again leading the way.
Maybe it is an antidote to increasingly divisive media coverage, more people are looking to creative outlets.
Either way, it's an interesting trend. I am paying closer attention to inspirational fiction on a genre of content and actively looking for opportunities.
Google Trends doesn't seem to agree. This is specifically "inspirational" and related terms in YouTube over the last five years.
While not a perfect comparison, it could be telling that the content trends on Facebook vary greatly from YouTube.
What are your thoughts on this data? Do you use trend data to help decide which projects to work on or just go with your gut?
This episode we speak with Liz Deering and Ben Gibson, co-founders of the Un.Inc in Austin Texas.
Welcome to the first episode of the Movies in the Black Show. We will be interviewing creators about making a living in their fields. Movies are the main subject. We also will interview other creative fields as we believe there is a lot to learn from other industries.
Un.Inc Website: http://theuninc.com/
From The Un.Inc:
WE BELIEVE THAT THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL IMPACT LIES IN THE HANDS OF DIVERSE AND CREATIVE FOUNDERS - THE REBELS, MISFITS, ARTISTS, CREATORS AND DREAMERS WITH THE HEART AND TENACITY TO LITERALLY CHANGE THE WORLD.
At The Un.Inc we are designing an unconventional path for change makers to grow, thrive and claim their purpose. We do that by surrounding them with the resources they need, from products, programs and mentorship to creative spaces and housing.
For over a year now, I’ve been struggling to follow up an earlier story I submitted to the Filmmaker’s Process. That post was written shortly after production when we were kicking off our crowdfunding campaign. The response from all of you in the filmmaking community was great, but in many ways things trailed off downhill after that.
I only want to send positivity out into the world. That is basically my core mantra. So… when all I could report on was perceived failures, I wasn’t able to frame it in a way that was honest and also positive.
In complete honesty, I dove into a pretty deep depression after making our movie. Blood on the Leaves was incredibly satisfying to make and we were really proud of the end product… but our distribution plan just stalled out and it felt like nobody was ever going to see the movie.
Our distribution plan just stalled out and it felt like nobody was ever going to see the movie.
This article is going to go through everything that happened since post-production without getting to granular. Up front, I want you to know there is a happy ending; that’s why I’m finally writing this, because I can end on a positive note.
If you haven’t already, please go read our first article about Blood on the Leaves for some context.
Post Production Nightmare
As a producer, organization is everything to me.
One of the biggest rushes I’ve ever experienced was managing the schedule on set of our two week mad-dash to film Blood on the Leaves.
Just like planning for production, you should really have an extremely tediously planned post production if you want things to run efficiently.
This post originally appeared as a Filmmaker Story on Filmmaker Freedom submitted by Craig Inzana.
I’m a filmmaker from a small market in rural Pennsylvania. DuBois, PA to be exact. Here, micro-budget filmmaking is essential if you want to make movies at all. After a few years of producing short films and a web series for under $1,000, I finally was able to work on something where we could pay people. The difference was amazing!
In 2016, we produced a feature film for $10,000 in twelve consecutive days in the middle of the Pennsylvania woods.
That film is called Blood on the Leaves; not only did we do the crazy thing of trying to make an intense survival drama with a budget and schedule like that, we made the crazy decision that we needed to pay people.
I’m going to preface all of this by saying, every film project is different and your film might not need to pay people in order to get what you want out of it. Also, not everyone on our film got paid. If it weren’t for the immense amount of work myself and the two other producers put in on and off set for free, there’s no way this film would be happening.
When we released Blood on the Leaves, we intentionally skipped the festival route.
This was a big mistake.
Even if you're planning to distribute your film independently, you should still aim for film festivals.
Also, consider distribution offers. If you are remotely business-savvy, you will be able to negotiate a moderately good deal out of a distributor that you may not be able to achieve on your own. Remember that rights can be sold in pieces. So having an international theatrical distributor (yeah-right) would cover something you're unlikely to achieve on your own.
Getting a Strategic View of Distribution Options
After years of watching the indie market and distributing a few projects of my own, I've come up with a pattern that works best to maximize potential profits from a film.
At the end of the day, if your movie is not interesting to audiences, it won't make money.
Following this roadmap, however, could be the difference between $2,000 in returns and $200,000.
Hi. I’m Craig and I have a film degree.
It feels a little dirty to say. With so many resources online and the ability to get your hands on a video recording device for the price of a videogame, the value of paying for film school has diminished drastically.
I do still think there is value in film school. Networking, focusing solely your craft for two to six years, and being forced to work on deadlines are just a few of the benefits you’d have trouble finding without it. (Here's a guide on how to do all that on your own)
Even though I think film SCHOOL has value, I’m not convinced that a film DEGREE does. I would argue that getting a degree in creative writing, psychology, financing, business management, or marketing would be a MUCH better use of your time and money. Those degrees would all help you achieve the same filmmaking goals-- maybe even moreso.
Here is a list of successful filmmakers who never got a film degree:
This post originally appeared on Sideline Pictures' Blog written by Craig Inzana.
Many great filmmakers never went to film school. In part because there was much less competition.
The reason there is so much more competition these days is because resources are so widely available. This is EXACTLY why you don't need to go to film school.
Some concentrations lend themselves better to formal schooling (like cinematography, sound, editing), but even those might be better off mentoring under a professional.
Here are five steps you can take to educate yourself and start a filmmaking career without spending tens of thousands of dollars:
This post originally appeared on Sideline Pictures' Blog.
We review our earnings and reach after one year of using Amazon Video Direct. We were very satisfied with the platform as an alternative to YouTube for free distribution... then in August of 2017 we were hit with a big surprise that made the experience even more amazing.