If you’ve been on YouTube and you’re into videos and indie filmmaking, you’ve probably heard of Casey Neistat. And if you haven’t, check out his video below.
In the video, Neistat says he turned to making videos for the internet because he became disillusioned with the purported Hollywood dream—the awards, the festivals, the notoriety. He realized that solely pursuing that track can hinder your audience, and with the internet you can reach millions of more people than you can with the traditional festival route.
He then goes on to say that even if you don’t reach millions, you can find a more targeted audience, a core group of users. He’s essentially describing something similar to Kevin Kelly’s theory of 1,000 true fans. And he has a point. Neistat believes that “filmmaking is a sport.”
But is he right? Do you agree? What do you think he means by this? Let us know in the comments below.
Well, here at The Film Fund we think he’s mostly right. With a few caveats.
If you win Sundance, Cannes, SXSW, or any of the big-name film festivals, you’re going to make some waves. You might score an agent or develop your short film into a feature or series. And that’s awesome.
So we don’t think you should totally ignore the festival route as he does with his videos. There’s no reason you can’t pursue both with a project—an internet video that also wins a big festival.
Festivals allow you to meet fellow filmmakers, producers, writers. People who can expand your creative reach. Your community.
But let’s say you don’t get into Sundance. You get into some local festivals. They might be in a cool room above a firehouse or maybe a really cool, old theater. But they’re just that—local. If you don’t post online, you limit your film’s reach. You may have made a gritty, terrifying, existential slasher film about teddy bears that the regional crowd definitely appreciates. But if you find the right community online, your project might be downright worshipped by online communities with a greater understanding of your penchant for plush-filled grindhouse.
And let’s face it: getting into festivals is tough. Even getting a film off the ground is tough. Like Neistat says, filmmaking has always been a bit of a club reserved for those with access to equipment and crew. It’s true that it’s easier to produce content these days, but getting that content to reach the right audience still presents a challenge.
Because while there does exist a 4K camera in your pocket, there’s a difference between someone who’s making YouTube videos with an iPhone X and someone who has true narrative talent. And can showcase it visually.
So we’re trying to remove that exclusivity with The Film Fund community. Get some funding in a simpler way without devoting hours to cover letters and screenwriting, and then stretch your budget. Creative producing. Think Robert Rodriguez’s Rebel Without a Crew for the social web.
And part of that guerilla-minded distribution includes community building. Post your content online and meet others who appreciate it. Hell, post it on Auteurs!
You won’t become a known force in today’s industry without an online presence. Get your 1,000 true fans. Odds are they aren’t all at film festivals.
Got an idea for a film? Need some money to help produce it? Check out our funding opportunities.