10 Tips for Indie Filmmakers

Yes, we know the title says “filmmakers,” but let’s get real. If you’re even thinking about creating, say, a web series (let alone a broadcast or cable series), you’ve just put yourself square into the indie filmmaker camp. (In other words, ‘fess up: Where do you watch most of the films you see? On the web or your TV, are we right?)

by Gary Nick Dawson

Gary Hustwit is a successful documentary filmmaker. Last weekFilmmaker magazine ran an article by Nick Dawson, called “Gary Huswit’s 10 Web Tips for Doc Filmmakers.” The article is drawn from a workshop run by Hustwit at the 2012 Documentary Lab, which is an initiative of the Independent Filmmaker Project in New York. And although the focus is on documentary filmmaking, many of the principles can be applied to any independent filmmaking project.
1. Connect with the audience early
With his most recent film, Urbanized, Hustwit launched a website for the movie after he been working on the film for a year, meaning he had a lot of work already under his belt and a clear sense of where the project was going.

Know the shape and plot of the film, and have stuff to show people. But don’t give away all the info immediately. Allow the conversation about the film to evolve over time, and keep people engaged.

2. Crowdsource your info
Three of the urban design projects featured in Urbanized came to his attention via Twitter. Hustwit reaches out to his 150,00 Twitter followers to solicit suggestions for venues in certain cities or towns that he doesn’t know or has not been to recently.

Lots of the aspects of filmmaking—from ideas, production and release —were facilitated through Twitter. Make people feel part of the process, because they are.

3. Stay in regular contact
Aside from tweeting, blog a couple of times a week and send out a newsletter every one or two months when you’re still in production, and once every two weeks when your film is actually screening. When teasing your film during production, put up pictures but not footage.

The fantasy of what your film’s going to be about is often better than the reality….

Read it all at Adelaide Screenwriter