This is a post looking at my Blogs progress for 2018. I do one of these reports every year to share how my blog has been growing and my plans for the new year.Read More
A look into the reasons why there are fewer female directors than male. There are many factors that crop up when you try to find out why there are fewer female film directors, which makes the solution hard to establish.Read More
This post has been a long time coming. I have found leaving the film industry very hard to talk about in the past. Talking about giving up on my dream career, admitting that I failed to achieve what I set out to do. These thoughts used to fill me with guilt.Read More
I have worked on 10 feature films, many more shorts, a few commercials and one TV show. In this post I am going to go through these feature length productions and show how I found work on each one.Read More
This is a post looking at my current efforts to make blogging and the online world pay for all of my bills. In brief I started blogging back in 2011 whilst at university. I started to consider blogging as a way of making additional income towards the end of 2015 when a blog post I wrote attracted a lot of attention. At the start of this year 2017 I started to take this blog super seriously.
My goal at the start of this year was to leave my full time job and make this blog my sole source of income. I quit my job in July and whilst living off savings I tried to make this blog pay. Currently this blog makes myself a part-time income (which is OK for 6 months of trying). I have lived off some savings and also I am lucky enough to share my household bills so my expenses are not too heavy. It’s a half achievement and my goal for new year is to double my blogs monthly income.
I am planning on getting a part time job to help out with my bills until my income doubles. (seeing as my savings are all used up - these saving where created especially to help me during the full-time job to freelance blogger transition). In other words I am doing OK, several times my blog income alone has paid for all of my monthly outgoings. Its not perfect but I know this career move is now very possible.
Most of my income has come from my 1-1 CV services and I have made a little more through online courses and affiliate links. Setting up services on my blog was the easiest and fastest was to make money. Simply my idea for the CV service came from looking at the blogs most popular posts topics and paying attention to questions I receive via email. The topic of filmmaker CV design kept showing up and so I created a service around this demand.
I have 10K unique blog readers a month. Which is a lot for someone who only posts weekly, this is due to SEO keywords ranking high on Google. Learning SEO has helped me a lot in finding an audience for this blog. It’s not so obvious that my blog is popular as readers in my niche are not the type to excessively leave comments. I am finding it hard to get sponsored content as my social media numbers are low. The social media will build up in time however sponsorship's where never part of my original business plan.
The best advice I read online about blogging was to only focus on one number - the profit. If you want this to make you money you need to think of it as a business. Treating my blog as a business and not comparing myself to others in my niche has helped greatly in making this blog profitable. My plans for new year as I say is to double this blogs monthly income. I am going to do this through creating more quality posts and videos, better content marketing, improved services and a new online course.
Here is some of the best advice I have heard and found useful and true to making an income from online –
Treat your blog / YouTube channel / podcast whatever you do like a professional business
The only number to focus on is your profit
Services are the easiest and fasted way to make money
Start growing your email list as soon as you begin
Before buying something most people need to have heard about it seven times before they hand over their money
So right now in all fairness this blog is a part time income stream however I believe I can make this blog double its income next year. If you have any questions on online income or any thoughts on how this blog should develop this new year let me know below.
It has been almost 5 years since I graduated. That is at least I think it was 5 years ago I cant quite figure out the dates but it has gone fast. I wrote a little more on film schools and how to find a good place to study film here.
Technically I did not go to film school but a university with a film production course. I graduated with a BA in Film and TV production. I can now say with confidence that my higher education has been of no use to me with finding work. I wish I had chosen a better course.
However at the time when I was applying to university at age 18, I did not know any better and can not regret a decision that was the best decision I could have made at the time with the knowledge I had. If you are reading this and thinking maybe I wont go to university to study film, all I can say is that everyone’s experience and take away is different and if you do wish to go make sure you pick the best course you can.
I was a very young 21 year old when I graduated, a lot of time has passed and a lot has happened. Here are some things I wish I had known when I graduated.
The Money gap
I feel that the post university life you hear about online mostly comes from middle class students 'gap years and living with back with their parents rent free'.
When I graduated I quickly moved in with my boyfriend and I had to make money straight away. I did not save up enough to properly meet the transition stage between student and worker.
It took me only two months to get my first job but more money was needed. A deposit for rent, clothing for work and money to last until your first paycheck.
If I had known now I would have of saved more money. but its hard to say that to a student who is only focusing on getting through education.
A Change of Plans
Someone from my audience (you know who you are) called me a failure this week because my film plans have changed widely and I have not had any major success in my career.
I am nearly 27 years old and most 20 – 50 year old filmmakers have not had any major success. Film is a long game. I thought film work was for me when I graduated, I didn’t consider my first career plan to not work out I never considered a plan B.
My life has in many ways stayed the same. I am with the same bf, we live in the same house I rented when I left university but my career has been twisting and turning around. I doubt you will be able to avoid those twists and turns in such a creative industry like film. It is unlikely that your first plan will work out as you expect it to. When things change don't panic.
Being called Crazy
I was being questioned at age 19, on why I wasn’t married with kids. So if that is anything to go by some people out there consider an unmarried 27 years old with no safe day job to be unfathomable.
I have not gone down the typical housewife route because I would truly hate that life, I am very ambtious and a risk taker so in past 5 years, I have had roughly 18 months of self employment, 6 months of unemployment, 3 years of employed in 3 different types of day jobs, and now I am back to self employed once again.
I have been all over the place but it was good to try out different things and see how I felt with work. It turns out I hate having a day job I dislike working with people and strongly desire to be my own boss.
Rant aside, if you have a dream, it is unlikely that you will get the support you would get if you were toeing the line, it is to be expected that this road will be a little tricky to navigate.
This is something that all 20 somethings do, we set ourselves goals to reach by certain age points - can you relate. It is likely I will live a long life so why do I feel the need to meet so many personal targets in my twenties.
It is likely that it will take a handful of years to feel truely comfortable within your career - and make your creative job stable. It is unlikely that I will be a successful auteur in my twenties, or own a house.
It is likely that life's success points will be spread out from now to age eighty. My career highlights will be when I am middle aged or even in my sixties. So why did I place so much pressure on myself when I graduated. Que sera sera.
When I was 14 years old I overheard a conversation about Film Directors on the school playground. I remember the moment well, my friend Rachel was walking ahead of me talking about how she and her dad where going to attend a film festival. I had never thought about how films were made before this moment. I just took it for granted that they were made. It started to play on my mind, I started to wonder who where the people who made films.
and so by the age of 14 I had decided that I was going to be a filmmaker.
By this point I had never made a film before. It was not like the dreamy stories you hear making super 8mm animations with friends or memories of sneaking into movie theatres. It was not how your typical film director recalls their zeal for filmmaking. I just decided somewhere on a grey concrete playground that I was going to be a filmmaker.
I was always creative, as a child I thought about being an artist of some sort, at one point a Blue Peter presenter, another time an inventor. I liked the idea of ambition, having a life purpose to pursue. The dream of filmmaking was my escape.
That year for my 15th Christmas I got a hand held camera and started to make short films.
I pushed and pulled people from school to act out crazy stories for me, at one point I got a class of twenty students to act out a gangster fight scene.
Like many filmmakers my age I read Robert Rodriguez's book Rebel Without A Crew and I started to immerse myself additively into filmmaking. In my head I dreamt up vast exterior shots of armies clashing - in reality a group of school friends shot each other with plastic guns inside of a school gym.
I entered a short film I made into a local cinema’s film festival and it was chosen to be screened.
I was ecstatic to have my film shown on the big screen. I felt a weight on my heart that night when I didn’t win the prize. Not because I wanted to win but I thoroughly thought there were no prizes being given out, I naively thought we were all winners.
I observed at the festival that my film was not very good. The other “children’s” films had budgets and all round better quality. I didn’t understand it at the time but everyone else had adults help them make the films and mine was just me, my friend and my little brother playing with a camera in the back garden.
I judged my ability heavily and realised I needed more real life experience.
My school held a work experience week later on in the year. luckily someone took notice of my desire to work in film and I got an extended two week placement at a local production company.
I was a shy teenager at 15, everyone at the company was much older than me, I carried out admin work, I was too shy to eat with the others so I ate my sandwiches at my desk alone. My shyness faded as the days went on, I helped out on a location shoot capturing some behind the scenes footage. The next week a short film was being made. I was insulted when the actors looked down on my runner position and called me ‘coat lady’ as it was my job to hold their coats for them during takes.
At the end of the work experience, I decided to get editing software for my 16 birthday (nothing special but it allowed me to edit my short films on something slightly more advanced than windows movie maker and it's use of star wipes). I spoke to the director on my last day of work experience, he was dismissive of me and impolite. I was enthusiastic about filmmaking, perhaps too much enthusiasm for others to handle. On the last night I felt dishearten again as a fake award ceremony was held and everyone cast and crew was thanked for their work apart from me.
I passed my GCSE’s at age 16 despite sitting at the back of classrooms drawing storyboards and daydreaming.
I enrolled in college sixth form and spent three years studying film studies English language and art. I had a messy fun few years, of drinking and partying. I still made short films, they slowly started to improve in quality. I enrolled in a summer film school, that although fun, it had far too many rules for myself. Naturally I am bad with authority, fiercely independent and too enthusiastic, my naïve enthusiasm rubbed off badly with others. Adult Bullies keep propping up throughout my later teenage years, perhaps the jealousy of seeing someone do what they want and living care free. It seems like when you're on a high there will always be people around to push you down.
When I was aged 19-21 I studied film and TV production at university.
The university dropped the course after its first year. The class protested, but we were ignored, the last two years where carried out with less enthusiasm from substitute teachers, the course felt broken and pointless, my grades dropped from As to Cs. Seeing as my university study years could not be saved, I enjoyed my time with drinking and dancing.
I graduated at age 21 and jumped flying head first into film crew work. My enthusiasm had so far surprisingly ‘despite the efforts of many’ not been killed. I had by now some experience on low budget sets.
I narrowed my job role down to Script Supervisor and I pushed, applying like crazy to any job I could find.
Bit by bit I found the work. The first 6 months went well, if I made a mistake I tried not to beat myself up over it, sure the mistakes I made would cost money , but I had already saved the production countless errors.
I pushed onwards, but then suddenly the work took its toll. On feature film shoots I was working 6 day, 70-90 hour work weeks. I done this for 3 months solid and by the end felt rightfully exhausted and mentally broken. I had been trying my very best working for every director I met, but most were not what I had hoped for. My logic was simple I wanted to be a film director, as a Script Supervisor I got to sit next to the director all day.
even on the most professional of film shoots the director never met my romantic expectations.
The director was supposed to be sure of themselves, assertive, logical, honest, rational, powerful. But I found myself sitting next to directors who where far too interested in Twitter to pay attention to an actor's performance , or not putting the care or thought into their crews safety. I lasted 18 months before I decided that film set work was not for me. And I say this to not put you off, a lot of people like the work, the travel, the hours, the teamwork they like it all. But I could not hack it, I romanticised the idea of filmmaking so much that when I saw it as it was I could not bear to see it torn up like that. I started making films for the escapism, and working on film sets took that away.
My last job was a commercial, the director a young hipster fancied himself the next big thing, screamed orders at crew, told me he didn’t understand what my job was, told me to join the art dept instead. He didn’t like the set already built so demanded that a new one was found, when I realised that the 8 hour work day was going to turn into 20 hours I walked out. The experience and disbelief of film sets caused a major problem.
I thought that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I was wrong.
It wasn’t long before I was in debt and depressed. I worked many low paid jobs to get by, feeling lost, hopeless, I couldn’t see the future, the ambition and dream had finally died.
A year later things got a little better, a better job kept me at the same level but allowed me the time to clear my mind and think. There is a problem when you spend 10 years of your life working towards something, only for it to not be what you first thought it was. I had a messy breakup from film.
You learn more from bad times than you do with the good. Last year I tried to make a short film. I shot it but I have been unable to finish it. Working full time gave me no free time to edit, and having no plans for the future left me feeling low. I need plans and creativity in my life which I why I am pushing blogging as a career and filmmaking for fun.
I hope to complete my short film this year and start making my own films again, my way.
I have not finished with filmmaking but I do need to start thinking differently. My enthusiasm has died down, but it is still there inside. I still dream of film festivals and red carpets. I still believe if I keep trying one day I will be good at all of this.
Last year I decided to make a short film. I wrote the 5 page script in June 2016 and shot the film in October 2016. I have not made a fictional film between university (studying film production) and working on film sets (as a Script Supervisor).
I thought it would be good to see what I could make with the skills I have 5 years after graduation.
I really should have written this post around the time I was filming, so I am trying to remember everything correctly, thinking back to 6 months ago this is how I felt.
It was my intention to keep making films after university, but unfortunately I didn’t have a solid plan. In reality working on film sets was all too time consuming. This break between film work and filmmaking had a negative effect. I found that I was very doubtful of my ability to make this film.
I am not a director yet so I felt anxious giving people orders.
I had a great guilt filling inside of me throughout this whole production. Was I wasting everyone's time? Getting people up in the mornings to work on a short film for me?
It is fun to make a film when everyone is a student and there is no real pressure to make something good. Now my cast and crew have become more experienced. I feel that I owe it to people to create something good for the sake of their careers. For the sake of giving up their free time for me.
Originally I was going to shoot the film over the summer when I had a few weeks off work but the shoot kept on getting pushed back. I had to organise the filming around my full time day job. As well as everyone else's film jobs. I could not afford to pay people to work for me. This made organising very stressful, Everyone had other commitments, so what could have been shot over three consecutive days took 5 weeks to complete.
The film was shot over 5 days stretched out over 5 weeks
Bit by bit
The first day was cancelled over bad weather, the next day we only shot half of what was planned. It is so hard to get everyone to show up on time and get to work. It took on average 2 hours after call time to get set up and when we began the filming was slow. I forgot how long it took to shoot a film.
I need more people
I had a small crew of three people to help out on camera and sound, as well as drivers and general help but I need more people. I played Director, Producer, Art Director, Costume, Continuity my mind had too much to think about.
And the previous work I did as a Script Supervisor showed up ugly. I could not get the small details out of my head, moving the actress's hair to match the previous shots, moving props to their places after every shot. The work I did as Script Supervisor made me mad for detail. But if I didn't do it no one else would.
I needed to focus on the story and actors. My head hurt. I desperately need someone to take care of Continuity for me especially since I have spent so long doing that job myself.
I Enjoyed directing
Ok so here are the positives, I enjoyed the actual directing. When it came to auditioning, rehearsing and working with actors on set I had fun. The actual directing, the working with actors and using your imagination to create the image from your mind onto screen is fun. It is a shame that most of filmmaking is organising and disappointment.
A Better story
My story is not strong enough. I new this from the start but I just wanted to make something anything. I am definitely not a screenwriter, I am a very visual filmmaker, but I have not developed my skills to write a good story. I will need to work with a screenwriter in the future.
I have completely scrapped any plans of placing my short film into film festivals. I will not be moved on this, my film is just not good enough and entering into film festivals will surely be a waste of money. When I finish the film I will place it up online. This film was simple practice to see what I could do.
I have been far too busy to finish editing my short film. I aim to carry on with post production later this summer. As it turns out having a full time job, blogging and making films is too much for me, I need to focus my energy on one thing at a time.
I am not making a film again if I have a full time job to organise the shoot around. I am not making a film again unless I can pay the cast and crew 'I feel far too guilty making people work for me, for free just so I can experiment'. I definitely need more skilled crew and help during production. I need more money. So it will be a while until I make a film again and I am happy for it to take a while so long as the next film I make is a more professional production. I hated the guerilla style filmmaking.
I will put the film up online later this year. It probably won't be that bad either, definitely the best thing I have made, so I guess my experiment was a success.
I hope this has been a somewhat helpful and interetsing post to read. I wanted to be as honest as possible with the struggles I had making this film, most of them were in my head, my lack of confidence, the guilt I felt for making people work for me.
Leaving Film Production behind for several years whilst I pursed film work made not for an easy transition. I am not a student anymore so I wish to make better quality films. I am definitely aiming higher and in doing so giving myself far too high standards to meet.
I am still going to be making films, I have definitely learnt a lot from this experience. I like a slow pace to a film production, I like a professional film set. I can't see myself being the indie filmmaker making low budget feature films and relying on favours. Perhaps this wish for a quality production is a blessing or maybe the curse of working in the film industry before becoming a film director.