My First “Commercial Shoot”

Today I’m excited to film my first commercial promo for a private business. Maria’s antiques has agreed to allow me to use their shop for the main scene in Mountain Cult – Episode 5. In exchange, I’m going to film a promotional video for them to use on their facebook page (or anywhere else). It will be my first time filming something for commercial purposes, but I have a strong idea for how I’d like the video to play out.

My girlfriend surprised me on Sunday by keeping a visit from my closest friend a secret. I hadn’t seen him in years and he made a spontaneous trip from Portland to come hang out for a few days. He brought along with him his Sony A7III so I’ve been fortunate to experiment with it and share what little knowledge I do have. He’s going to join me today so that together we can fool Maria’s Antiques into thinking we’re competent filmmakers. On top of that, we filmed a comedy short film/scene that I thought was hilarious and hope to post in the next few weeks.

I just completed “Film Journal – Ep. 4”. I’m moving forward with my experiment in the belief that regularly posts will allow me to market Mountain Cult to a wider audience. Feel free to check it out below if you’d like. Any likes or comments on the video help me with the Youtube algorithm so it’s greatly appreciated if you’d like to absolutely obliterate that like button.

Will Work for Nothing

It’s been a wild couple of weeks for me and each day I’ve been making progress to begin production on Mountain Cult episode 5. My involvement in youtube videos, my online meetup group, and my full time job has made posting here a challenge, to say the least.

The meetup group is kind of booming – we’re up to 90+ members in one group and 30+ in the other. Each week a small percentage of that gets together to discuss our progress toward our own short films as well as host a discussion about how to make a group project together. The group has attracted professional photographers, experienced directors, small film producers, and a sound mixer. I am very proud of bringing these talents together, but also am depleted for any extra time. On top of that, I host the meetings following my week working a full time job at a graveyard shift.

I have finally summoned the gonads to approach small mom & pop shops in my city and ask for permission to film there. I offer to film a promo-style video for their shop in exchange for the right to film at their location. I have been shocked to receive a positive response, as I previously anticipated I would get laughed out of the building. This is a huge stepping stone for my filmmaking career – you can’t do much if you are limited to your own private residence.

This Monday I will be filming a promo video in the antique shop I anticipate using. It will give me a chance to develop a commercial resume as well as learn the acoustics of the environment and find out how everything plays on camera. This weekend I will have to do research and come up with a script for the short commercial.

My next steps involve Kickstarter and twitch. I would like to launch an effective kickstarter campaign in July in order to offset some of my expenses. Before that I have more to learn about how kickstarter works. As for twitch, my knowledge is bare minimum. But I do know I have a friend who raised $600 there in a night and others have had similar success. I plan on releasing a new youtube video each week. I think I could offer something of interest if I livestream each of my editing session. Though I am no professional, I do have a lot of experience using the software programs Premiere Pro and Aftereffects. I also could feature Ableton Live, as I have been creating my background music there.

Feel free to check out my latest film journal below, and please like and leave a comment if you’d like to support my work. Every like I get means I will get 1 more minute of sleep.

Film Journal – locating on a budget

I havent written here much lately. I’ve been consumed with work and making episode 5 happen. I did come up with a great story about a man realizing his situation was not confined to his luck but his effort to affect others positively, however i was drunk and it was 3 am and seemed like a bad time to flee my bed and girlfriend to go write. I have finished film journal 3 and in case you’ve been monitoring the progress of my web series, I’ll post the link below:

Day 1 – Production

Today marks the first day of production for me. I mean yeah, it’s technically pre-production, but this is the day I get the ball rolling.

I will be posting a youtube video diary later in the day discussing my plans and ambitions for the project. My goal is to begin posting videos 3-4 times per week updating my progress. I will discuss every meaningful event, from casting, to prop orders, equipment changes, crew acquisition, and location scouting.

My overarching goal is to build momentum toward a kickstarter campaign. If I can build enough online support to start gaining sponsorship I can offset costs and purchase better equipment. Maybe I can even provide a bonus to the actors.

I will have some obstacles to overcome as it is completely unfamiliar territory for me. I have 0 comfort and 0 interest in performing monologues in front of the camera to “sell my self.” I honestly think the word Vlog is disgusting, embarrassing, and disgraceful. But the reality is that entertaining videos take a lot more work then I am able to put in while simultaneously developing episode 5. The alternative is to produce 5-10 second humor clips, but I am not trying to be a tik tok star I’m trying to be a filmmaker.

I will publish the video later today and intend to post the link here as well. I’m guessing I’ll get around 20 views but that’s ok. This is where building a community starts so I’m going to do it.

Money

So I’m all set to begin the production process for episode 5 of Mountain Cult. I haven’t posted on here lately for multiple reasons, but the main one has been my hesitancy to begin spending money to make the 5th episode a reality. I also spent a week making a cartoon because I thought I could do it in one day.

No matter what we choose to do in life money will always be an obstacle. Part of the overarching goal of being human is to accumulate as much wealth as you can. If you are a foolish person like myself your goal is more likely “how to comfortably afford burritos.”

I’ve been saving money all year with the anticipation that episode 5 would cost me a pretty penny to make. I estimate it will wind up being $2000-3000. I have discovered recently that there are various ways to solicit investors in order to offset some of the costs. I have devoted time to better understanding various methods but they all pose their own unique challenges. I think it’s safe to say that raising money is not a strong suit of mine. My sales pitch is basically “invest if you want, but if you ask me I wouldn’t do it.”

I’ve been looking at platforms such as Kickstarter and Seed and Spark. They both offer awesome opportunities for low budget filmmakers and appear to be extremely viable options for a hustler. I do anticipate launching a kickstarter campaign but I need to be sure I do it the right way.

A major obstacle for me is branding. I feel the most effective way to attract investors for episode 5 is to build an audience. If I were pitching to actual investors, they would like to know that I have an anticipated rate of return. The reality is, however, that short films rarely if ever turn a profit. No matter how great episode 5 may be, the chance of me making money from it is minimal. The real underlying goal is to make something that is successful enough (in terms of execution and/or viewership) to take my filmmaking to the next level. I would like to make a movie or get my show picked up by a service that will pay for me to create more episodes.

So I’ve been weighing my options for how I can ask people for their hard earned cash and they don’t look good – at least right now. But I mentioned my great obstacle is branding – that’s because of the one way I can see myself successfully campaigning for Mountain Cult. I feel my best course of action would be to publish daily video journals about my process making the episode – from start to finish. By growing my platform on youtube I could guarantee an audience when the film is completed. I could also build momentum for the start of a kickstarter campaign. The branding issue exists because I don’t want to market myself as a analysis guy, advice guy, or youtube guy. I only want viewers for my films, but relying on the publication of a video months down the road is not a reliable way to build any type of community.

These are some of my scattered thoughts but expect to receive more of them in the future. I don’t truly know what I’m going to do, but the time has come for me to begin moving forward regardless. I’ll post the link to my shitty cartoon below if you want to watch it. And I’ll post the link to my $1.99 paypal button if you want to become the number 1 big-pockets investor for my project. Each donation is rewarded with a sense of deep regret and asking yourself why you are so careless with your money.

Cartoon Thing

This cartoon music video was made to raise funds for episode 5 of Mountain Cult. I had to learn Ableton Live to make the track then figure out how animate in After Effects. It was hard.

Episode 5 of Mountain Cult will cost $2000-$3000 to film. I have the main actors set and the script is ready. I will be looking at alternative platforms in order to solicit investors. $1.99 may not seem like much, but each donation adds up. The cool thing about receiving small donations from a large crowd it keep me free creatively. If Joe from accounting funds my project then I will be required to include the coffee mug his 1st wife threw at him.

I enjoyed making this cartoon and will consider making another one in the future. It is a great low budget way to tell a story. I also enjoyed making the song. If I improve at animations I’ll post stuff like this more regularly. If you donate to support my cause, feel free to comment below about how giving away those 2 dollars was the biggest mistake you ever made.

Song – “Galactic Space Boners” by TMWproductions