my first 100 days as filmmaker

Part 2: I started writing this two-part article on Your First 100 Days As A Filmmaker many moons ago. This Sunday morning sitting around with a coffee and a bit of spare time I thought I should stop procrastinating and pick this back up.

Here are Days 1 – 33 in case you want to catch up.

Day 34-66

14. Aim to have made (or written) 4 new shorts at the end of Month 2

That’s one short per week.

Rationale: to get you working with your camera, team and editor to learn what is doable and what isn’t.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • these shorts are going to have to be down and dirty, done with little or no budget
  • each short is going to be five minutes or less
  • each short is going to have 2 or 3 actors
  • each short is going to be in a limited location ie: the park bench, or coffee shop

For filmmakers: After you complete each short remember to include a 2-3 second pre-roll animated logo of your company. Each short then needs its own diary of festival submissions. If you choose to submit your film through your film will automatically get its own credit page.

For screenwriters: You need to start getting the word out there about your fantastic new scripts that need producing. As shorts get made you can start shouting about the fact you are a produced screenwriter.

This is why it’s important to stick with it.

15. Build up a list of useful contacts

As you start contacting potential cast and crew members you need to get a system for organising your new contacts.
Raindance Boozin’ N’ Schmoozin’ events

16. Start a crowdfunding campaign

Your project from days 90 – 100 is to shoot something more ambitious – for which you will need to raise £1,500 ($2,000). Launching, organising and maintaining a crowdfunding campaign is a useful crash course in social media.

Don’t forget that a crowdfunding campaign is primarily about letting people know about you and your career. Money raised is a secondary benefit. There are ten benefits to crowdfunding. Pick the ones the suit your goals.

Day 67-100

17. Make 6 new shorts by the end of Day 100

Again, the key to a successful filmmaking strategy is consistency. As your film inventory increases, more people will find your site through search and you’ll build credibility. Remember, these films don’t have to be novels. Know when good enough is good enough.

When I worked as a sculpture assistant to Henry Moore I was astonished to see he sketched pebbles he found in the stream that ran through his meadow. He once told me he was sketching them ‘to build up his vocabulary of shapes’.

18. Set up and optimize your social media accounts

Now that you have your bearings with keywords, blogging, and CTAs, it’s time to focus some more on your social media marketing efforts. The reason you didn’t do this until the third month is that you need to have content to share on social media to be successful — so you needed to spend time getting that all optimized first. Now, you should:

  1. Post comments on blog posts and Vimeo and Youtube videos that interest you (hopefully like this one). Aim for three a week. This helps establish your credibility and will eventually make you an ‘expert’.
  2. Reach out to at least one industry person a week. It could be a fellow screenwriter, a director, an actor or editor. You will find these people by networking (see above) Be prepared that few of the people you meet will end up being collaborators. But you must seek our collaborators.
  3. Set up Google alerts for the key topics and people that interest you.
  4. Post at least one article a week on your blog.
  5. Build your list. Create one new offer conversion path (offer, CTA, landing page, and thank-you page included).

Day 101

Whew, you made it! Pat yourself on the back — you learned a ton about the filmmaking methodology, you set up a blog and wrote some killer posts, you designed and created some terrific shorts. And you haven’t spent much money.

Most importantly, you developed the key, foundational skills and habits that will lead to success in inbound marketing — and ultimately more happy audiences. That’s huge progress.

Sit down and review the past 100 days

  • Did you cross all the items off the list?
  • Which goals were easiest to complete?
  • Which were the hardest?
  • What personal and company-wide strengths and weaknesses did you uncover in the past 100 days?
  • Which skills do you need to work on the most?
  • What will you master next?

You can see the first 100 days here.

You’ve got three options here:

You might decide this career path doesn’t fit. This is OK. Whatever, you’ll have a new appreciation for movies. We need informed audiences more than ever.

You might want to explore alternative storytelling techniques like 360/VR

You might want a more in-depth training opportunity like the revolutionary Raindance Postgraduate Film Degree or Fast Track programme.

You might want to carry on for another 100 days.

Each decision is a good one. Remember, there is no one way into the film industry. There is only your way.

Keep in touch.

Happy Filmmaking

Elliot GroveYour First Film Career



Photo Credit David Martinez / BIFA 2018

Few people know more filmmakers and screenwriters than Elliot Grove. Elliot is the founder of Raindance Film Festival (1993) and the British Independent Film Awards (1998). He has produced over 700 hundred short films and five feature films: the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead (2006), Deadly Virtues (2013), AMBER (2017), Love is Thicker Than Water (2018) and the SWSX Grand Jury Prize winner Alice (2019). He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance BREXiT trailer 2019

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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