So…you want to be a filmmaker? Get in line. Literally. Because of the increasing affordability of high-definition cameras, everyone and their dog can make videos. Good heavens, you can even make movies with your smart phone or tablet nowadays.
So, the real question you need to ask yourself is: “What KIND of filmmaker do I want to be?” Do you want to be that “go-to” guy that produces incredible media in the utmost quality? Or do you want to be stuck filming weddings, dance recitals, parties, and etc. just like most freelancers out there? I tell you what… you will be more in-demand, you will obtain more high-profile clientele, and you be noticed by industry professionals by being the “go-to” guy.
If all you want to do is film weddings and such, then please stop reading and go back to your Facebook stalking or continue watching stupid cat videos on YouTube. This website is for those who want to go beyond that and actually make a name and reputation for themselves.
Now that we have separated the wheat from the tares, let’s take a look at what you need to do to get started. You may think that you need to go purchase a whole bunch of expensive equipment right away. Big mistake. You may think that you need to go find an office space to rent. Nix that. You may think that you need to spend hours and hours creating logos and branding for yourself. Umm….no.
The most important thing you can do right now is to formulate a plan. In the professional world, this is called a “business model”. In a nutshell, you need to think of what type of business you want to create, how you intend to carry your plan out, and how you will generate consistent income. (I highly suggest an entry-level college course in Business Management for this purpose.)
Once you have a business model in place, then you need to go through all the legal formalities to establish your business. Contact your city and state government offices to obtain the necessary permits to make your business legit. Once you do that, then you can open a business checking account and apply for loans if needed.
Having a business model in place will save so much stress and heartburn in starting up. Keep in mind that most businesses fail because they didn’t have a good plan to begin with, couldn’t manage their finances, or had too much debt. Make a plan and stick to it. A good rule of thumb is to plan big and then start small. You can implement new phases of expansion as your business grows. So, start small (with a bigger picture in mind) and then expand as circumstances permit. The last thing you want to do is create an enormous start-up business that is too unwieldy and unsustainable.
Once you have established yourself legally and ideally, then go to work. Assuming that you have done cost analysis research for necessary equipment and other expenses, you can start to implement your plan. You should adhere to a very strict budget and only purchase equipment and other things that you absolutely need. Avoid the temptation to purchase more than you need or can afford. Another post will deal with basic equipment needs.
Be aware that it might (and should) take you several weeks to get everything put together before you can actually start functioning. Taking time to do things right will have untold benefits in the future.
Copyright 2018 Steven Vest. All rights reserved.
All images on this site are Creative Commons, listed as Public Domain, purchased by, or are the intellectual property of Synergy Digital Filmmaking.