As the promotional media industry becomes increasingly competitive, consumers have started looking to experienced, tech-savvy production companies to create stunning and effective advertisements to draw people towards their products. Consequently, the amount of pressure on producers to start their journeys and portfolios early has also increased. As someone who hopes to someday become successful, I certainly felt pressured to start getting experience early. I started my film company, Timekeeper Films, in mid 2014, and in the couple of years since then, I’ve already gained a wealth of experience, and have recently been hired for paid jobs by companies in Seattle who are looking to advertise products. I hope that if you are aspiring filmmaker like myself, this article can offer you ideas for how to get started.
The first thing I did was to take some film classes offered at SAAS. I started off in the beginning film class, and worked my way up to advanced. Through film classes, I was able to learn how to frame shots, what camera angles to use, and many other techniques useful for creating films throughout all genres. Taking classes also allowed me to realize that my love of film was not just a phase, but it was something that I could stick with and truly enjoy.
My three years of film classes have allowed me to create a multitude of films and gain lots of experience. I started out with narratives, and quickly realized that was not my path. I moved over to what I like to call “silent documentary,” in which I utilized motion to showcase cities that I visited. These films had minimal dialogue, yet were able to visually tell a story. Around the end of my junior year, I switched to promotional videos. My film company was originally just a means to make some money on the side, but it turned out to be really enjoyable.
After gathering this experience, I began to submit my videos to film festivals around Seattle. Submitting work to festivals is a great way to gather criticism about work, and really showed me what my audience was looking for. It allowed me to see the techniques that the festival winners used to win their awards, and how to implement them into my own films. Unfortunately, many festivals don’t have promo categories. However, I also have found that festivals are more for films that are not marketed towards consumers, films that fall more into the narrative categories. Still, festivals are a great method of getting an idea of what other people are doing, and before I stopped working on narratives and documentaries, I greatly benefited from attending.
Finally, when I realized that my promotional videos could actually make me money, I turned to social media to advertise myself. I first created a website, closely followed by a YouTube channel and Facebook page. I bought a domain for my website, which I find to be an important step in showing independence. Self-advertisement is a vital part of any company, especially a new independent one. I publish new content on the internet, which in the case of social media will be shared and viewed by lots of different people.
While my company is not by any means where I would like it to be, I’m very happy with where it is now. I am creating more promotional videos than ever before, and I’m looking to continue to follow my passion. While running a film company can be tedious at times, it is by far one of the most rewarding and exciting experiesnces I’ve had. One of the widest misconceptions I’ve heard is that starting any kind of company before leaving college is not a good idea and won’t be taken seriously. That to me is one of the most hurtful beliefs. It’s true that it takes some time to become legit, but that doesn’t mean it’s unobtainable. The earlier you start, the earlier you’ll get there, so get out there and show‘em what you’ve got!