As previously discussed, independent filmmakers are never too far from budgeting problems. Whether it’s forking out for music rights, travel or casting, one can quickly feel squeezed by what may have originally seemed a generous budget. However, a new wave of filmmakers are turning to stuff-sharing in order to make significant savings on projects and generate serious passive income from their own gear whilst not using it. Fat Lama is a stuff-sharing website which insures users to lend out their own equipment for cash. After launching late last year, the platform has quickly made a huge impact on the film and photography communities. Many creatives are now able to pay their monthly rent from their lender income, which for some is as high as £3000/month. On the borrowing side, many have made significant savings by avoiding unnecessary purchases or the deposits and premiums of traditional rental shops. We got in touch with three Fat Lama users and asked each of them their favourite films, their regular rig of choice, and why each of them are using Fat Lama to lend and borrow gear locally.

Name: Radu Stefan

Three Favourite Films: Amelie, Forrest Gump, Mr Nobody

Usually Operates: Red Scarlet MX

Radu on Fat Lama:
I believe it’s the best thing ever. And that instant live chat customer support never fails to solve any problem or answer any question. All film makers invest in equipment and we all have days when our equipment sits around. Hiring it can be an alternative way of generating income and being able to hire gear from other film-maker is very useful: cheaper most of the time and less complicated than hiring it from a hiring company. In a way it’s sort of helping or being helped by your competition but I think this just allows all of us freelance film-makers in London to compete over our skills and talent rather than over who has more equipment than the other. But I’m still waiting for people with good cinematic lenses to join and share. Overall, it’s opened new doors for me, new possibilities in approaching a shoot.

  • “It’s opened new doors for me, new possibilities in approaching a shoot.”

Name: Tom Bryan

Three Favourite Films: Die Hard, Drive, Tootsie

Usually Operates: My favourite set up at the moment is the Ronin with a Remote Follow Focus System and SmallHD monitor. It’s a great set-up for roaming and making everything look super smooth. In my recent short films I’ve been making the most of a home-made dolly track system.

Tom on Fat Lama:
Over the years I’ve collected a lot of film equipment and recently it’s been sitting there gathering dust. I’ve been more than willing to hire it out but never known how to reach out to people outside my network of friends. Websites like Fat Lama are a great platform to get connected with local creatives who have a demand for the kit that I own. From hiring out through Fat Lama, I’ve met great people in the industry. Some of which I will be working with in the future. As a lazy networker, Fat Lama has brought many interesting people to my front door, and considering that filmmaking is a collaborative industry, this is an incredible thing.

  • “From hiring out through Fat Lama, I’ve met great people in the industry.”

Name: Duncan Leigh 

Three Favourite Films: Kubo and the Two Strings, Good Kill, Goodbye Lenin

Usually Operates: For our last two projects we’ve shot on a Sony A7S II. Rig wise, we improvise mostly hand held with shoulder rigs. Gimbals are nice but an over reliance on them seems to be damaging the art of the properly composed shot – and besides we can get the majority of the classic, controlled, dolly-like movements with a slider. Audio wise I’ve relied for years now on an excellent (and relatively cheap) ME 66 mic by Sennheiser. I supplement it with a couple of Lavaliers where necessary.

Duncan on Fat Lama:
The equipment we needed was a drone to get a POV falling shot for a short film I’ve been working on through my production outfit, StrayLeft. I’d spent weeks on the shot and tried everything. From projection mapping layered photos at different focal lengths, to building an elaborate rig to safely throw a GoPro off the roof – nothing was giving us the result we wanted. I’d looked into hiring this type of equipment before but it went far beyond my self funded budget. Then my friend told me about Fat Lama and less than 12 hours later, I’d had my ID approved and got my first rental – at a price I’d never seen from traditional equipment rental companies.

Tomorrow I’ll be using a high end shoulder rig worth just shy of £1,000 for a commercial client job. It’s costing me just £22 for the day. They say it’s the operator, not the equipment that counts, and that’s generally true – but when it comes to commercial work, how you appear to the client can have an equally big impact on how they perceive you and your level of professionalism. In the commercial sphere, Fat Lama is enabling me to secure more work at a higher level, and do a better job with higher end equipment. In my personal work, it’s giving me access to the tools I need to boost production values and tell my story the way I envisioned it. I’m excited to see how things develop from here for the service.

  • “Tomorrow I’ll be using a high end shoulder rig worth just shy of £1,000 for a commercial client job. It’s costing me just £22 for the day.”
  • “Fat Lama is enabling me to secure more work at a higher level.”

Curious? Why not hire a camera near you? Alternatively, click here to start listing your own gear and earning a passive income today.

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From new and emerging to industry pros, Raindance connects, trains, supports, and promotes visual storytellers through every step of their career.