When times are tough in the world, and they continue to be, it’s important to figure out ways of making due with your art when the art itself is not self-sustaining.  Sure, we wish we could all be a major film company and use our existing capital to finance a film and recoup all costs, and make a profit, once ticket sales come pouring in.  Unfortunately, that is not an option for nearly every film maker in the world.  So here are some recession-proof ways of riding out the lean times.

Teach the Children

One way to make some money is to share your gift and talents with the younger generation.  You can organize and teach some classes for the kids on how to make movies.  You can even make the material cost be quite low, since most children have iPhones or other smart phones with cameras.  You can talk about framing, and pace of film, and all the other aspects of film making.  It could be a very popular class in your community.

A young boy has different media images around his head.

A young boy has different media images around his head.

Freelance

You can contact local news outlets and other TV stations and offer your filming services.  It is not selling out: it’s supporting your art by using your artistic skills and at the same time, you’ll be expanding your experience and knowledge.  It’s win-win during the tough times.  Since many organizations are cutting back on full time employees, freelancing is actually still a viable avenue these days.

Be Viral

Focus on making a video or a project that could get picked up by the masses.  Instead of making long films that take months to product, try getting your name out there with many smaller projects that can be uploaded to Vimeo and shared among the movie-loving nerds of the internet.  If you can catch the attention of a Vimeo staffer you could get your film promoted and you’ll be viral before you know it.  Then your name will be out there and that will lend credibility to your future work.

Just the Tips

We often want our money up front or at least guaranteed.  But perhaps sometimes it’s better to work on the promise of money instead of the guarantee of money, and that can sometimes lead to even more money.  Many sites allow you to upload a movie for free and then there will be a virtual tip jar.  You’ll be surprised at people’s generosity if the project is indeed creative and good.

Free Distribution

There are companies online that allow you to distribute your film for free.  For example, Indieflix is designed to empower the new and non-major player film makers.  They distribute the films online to places like Hulu and Netflix.  Sure they take a commission, but a 30% commission off a sum of money is better than no sum of money at all.  Also, you maintain all ownership and rights to the film.  It’s a win-win, and an avenue that should be explored.

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