July 15, 2010

Did You Quit Your Day Job? No Film School Wants to Hear from You!

No Film School is "a site for independent creatives," and to that end I'd like to make it about independent creatives other than myself. If you're a writer, director, producer, artist, designer, programmer, blogger -- anything, really, as long as you are supporting yourself without a day job -- I'd love to hear your story, and I think the NFS readership would too.

Leave a comment or shoot me an email with a sentence or two about yourself. You can be anywhere in the world. I'm interested in what you've learned in the process and what you might share with others - I'm looking to write a series of profiles about independent creatives. In exchange you'll get free exposure here!

Your Comment


Hi Ryan, first of all, pardon me if my English isnt that good.
Im Marthin, i live in Jakarta Indonesia, (most people know Indonesia is Bali hehehe).
i used to work in a wedding video company. It was 6 years ago. Right after i quit, i decided to make my own small (wedding) video company, so that i could explore more and give more to clients. Not easy at first, but i kept learning and never stop until now. The only thing that slows me down is the lack of capital.. so i found it hard to compete with big companies when they are 'selling' their latest video cameras to their clients. But i Thank God i still have the creativity, im embracing my passion in videography.. wedding is a great business, but i know that there are more great things that i can do with video, other than weddings. So i keep the business going, but i also wanna do other exciting projects in the future, and doesnt always have to be paid well, as long as i love doing it.. i'll do it :)


July 15, 2010 at 9:25AM, Edited September 4, 7:26AM


i quit mine a little over 2 months ago to get into real estate photography and video. there's a decent market for virtual tours and video tours around here (charlotte, nc), and i knew enough people to get my foot in the door. i had my own video production company part-time just out of college. i did weddings, events, photo slideshows, even elementary school chorus concerts, and still didn't make any money with it. i didn't realize i needed to specialize in one aspect of video instead of just taking everything that came my way. i didn't know how to market myself either, so it didn't really take off. messing up is a good way to learn i guess.

now, just a few years later, i've finally quit working for the man and am going the freelance route. i'd been wanting to do it for a while, but i couldn't get starting due to scheduling at my old job. we wouldn't know our schedule for the next day until we were walking out the door at the end of a shift, so obviously i couldn't schedule any shoots. it sucked, i had to leave. it's a little slow going, but definitely picking up. my first two months i lost money, but this month i'm set to break even, and it looks promising from here on out. it's great having the flexibility to schedule my own shoots--and the work is easy. now i've got free time to work on other projects. i've just got to get to work on an awesome blog, like this one

July 15, 2010 at 8:11PM, Edited September 4, 7:26AM


I've been freelancing full-time for about six months now in web design and development, and I love it. A few years ago I did some boring corporate videos before I got into the web, but now that I'm self-employed and have my own schedule, I'm dreaming about getting back into video (hence why I subscribe to your blog).

I specialize in WordPress development, and most of my clients have found me online, so I don't even have to meet with people very often. I would definitely encourage anyone that has the desire to be their own boss to go for it, there's really nothing else like it.

July 16, 2010 at 7:15AM, Edited September 4, 7:26AM


I got a job right out of college working as a Post Supervisor for the studios. After 9 months, I was supervising post-production on numerous huge projects, including all the TV spots and trailers for the first Transformers movie. As I sat there working on this massive film property, I came to the realization that this wasn't what I wanted to do.

I was a filmmaker, but I spent 19 hours a day designing and perfecting elaborate spreadsheets. I mean epic spreadsheets, the Transformers one had something like 96 different trailer versions in it, all cross-referenced and color-coded according to completion. I was over it. I quit the next week. My boss promised me all sorts of things to try and get me to stay, even handed me a stack of hundred dollar bills, no joke.

I started off doing freelance post supervision on music videos, then I started getting repeat business from a small agency that I'd contacted about doing post for. They were mostly corporate videos, and because I'd made about 30 shorts in school and worked for the studios and had TRANSFORMERS in big bold type on my resume, they trusted me to produce for them in addition to post. Full disclosure: they paid barely over minimum wage.

I busted my ass and supported myself with that and some other odd video jobs for a couple years. Pretty soon, I'd written/directed/shot/edited over 150 business ads, and guess what, you can't do that without learning a TON about business and advertising.

Then, around 2009, there was a lot of talk about social media and I tried to create a digital agency that focused on social video campaigns. That fell apart as most social media endeavors did back then, but as usually happens with failures, you always have valuable research left over.

I began to realize that the large agencies were beginning to get squeezed from two sides: ad tech and creative production, and for the most part they were all choosing to spend their money fighting to succeed in ad tech. That meant even as creative production became more democratized, there was an opportunity to create a niche business. Ad agencies of the future would be more like ad tech companies, they were moving away from a consulting service model. That meant their specialized knowledge would become diluted as they began to focus on "360 degree" campaign models (a fancy way of saying multimedia). They would need creative production companies who were highly specialized in one medium (like video, print, apps, games, etc.) and that could provide (in the case of video) creative concepts and design and production and post.

My producing partner Jocelyn came from a commercial background, and I've said, we knew a lot about business marketing and especially advertising, and we began thinking about forming a full-service commercial video production house. We would start by developing video ad strategies for small-to-mid-sized companies who were out of reach to the large agencies, and eventually, we would provide the same service to agencies directly for their clients.

We called it Automaton Creative. We were planning on creating a huge marketing push but in the middle of planning that our small agency got bought by Advertising.com and dropped a few huge clients on us because by this point we were their number 1 filmmakers. We did those huge campaigns, made more contacts and we're now a profitable commercial production company with a lot of repeat business.

November 15, 2011 at 3:43PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Hello all. I've been a full time Mystery Shopper for about 4 years when I left my last full time job. I've always been interested in photography and after helping a friend edit some video, realized I really liked that. I've 'dabbled' in it since then; my work has primarily been shooting video of speakers at Toastmasters events. Then I started working with a local band shooting their live events and helping two other full time filmmakers that were working with them on some movie sequences for an album. I realized there was a lot more to the trade than point, push start and push clips around later. I've been soaking up everything I can read on the subject and I'll be taking classes this summer at the community college on Filmmaking and with that, plan to move on to doing commercials and..who knows! I'm Chivalry Productions - your video hero!

March 27, 2012 at 11:13PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Dave Clark

I am Mohit Israney, an aspiring filmmaker who has been assisting on films since a year now.
A month back I was working on a really interesting project which took a lot of time from my life, which I did not mind since I love films and would put in my heart and soul while working on one. But the day we went to shoot I realised that working back to back 12 hours a day, without having any breaks; for someone else’s project, just seemed pointless. On the first day of shoot itself, I made a decision to Quit my Job and start working on my projects, my films, my dreams. If I could spend 12 hours working for someone else’s dreams, I would definitely be able to spend at least that much time working towards my own. Since that day, I have been working towards completing my script for a feature film which I plan to shoot in the year 2013.
Never been happier after Quitting a Job!
= )

December 30, 2012 at 3:20AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Mohit Israney