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Hey dude, why does DIY filmmaking suck?

  • Yes Beavis, DIY filmmaking literally does suck.

    Let me tell you about my experience producing Quality of Life.

    Each day, I worked a full-time day job and then put in 4 - 8 hours more on the film at night. I still declared personal bankruptcy during pre-production.

    Then I was fired from my job for focusing on the film too much instead of my work.

    My girlfriend nearly left me since she never saw me.

    My friends stopped returning my calls for fear I'd ask for favors for the film.

    And in the end, the entire "indiewood" film industry basically ignored us. Sundance, the speciality distributors, the major indie film press outlets and of course just about anyone with money couldn't be bothered.

    And that was all before we decided to self-distribute the movie and things really got rough.

    So listen up: DIY filmmaking is not for the faint of heart. It sucks.

« Why you must re-write the script | Main | DIY secrets of Sundance and building a team of experts »

January 12, 2011



Great article!
Using these sites as a platform is a great way to think about it.

I had seen one film maker with a page on their own site dedicated to the project. The donation buttons linked out to IndieGoGo. It seemed pretty smart too.


You're wrong, most people use Twitter and their followers support them. Nobody in your family is gunna donate $100, and even if a few did, its not gunna add up to enough. If you're younger like me, people at your school won't have money to donate. We have many great Twitter fans, over 1,000 followers, and many people who will spread the word for us. There was one campaign on Indiegogo that said around 60% of funds was from people they didn't know from social networks..... Time to get up to date, nobody sends mail anymore, its called Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and the media. Oh and also having a good story.... which, you probably didn't have....

Bad Vegan

Jerry, this post is almost two and a half years old. Times have definitely changed. You're right that crowdfunding sites can bring you donors that are new -- that's a change from the early days. But these still aren't likely to form the majority of your fundraising. These still come from your own personal connections. 1000 followers on Twitter is great, but only a very small fraction will donate unless they are absolutely rabid for your work.

As for family donations, it depends on the family (and friends) you have. If your family is struggling (like when my dad was laid off), then you're right that not much can be expected if at all. And if all your friends are young, out-of-work kids, then don't expect much from them.

But you might have more potential donors than you know...possibly former teachers, bosses, co-workers (again, depends on the job), grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc. Can't hurt to ask.

I've been surprised time and time again -- people with modest means have stepped up and given their cash to support our projects.

Personal connections (real live snail mail, phone calls etc.) can be more effective than Twitter and Facebook -- both all are needed.

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    Make your damn movie.