How do you build an online community? Building an audience for your work is one thing, but building an entire online community around a single idea, not just your work (like No Film School -- DIY), might take months, or more likely, it will take years. Philip Bloom, who has been a huge part of the online filmmaking community, sits down with Vimeo's Blake Whitman and motion designer Nick Campbell to discuss how to grow and maintain an audience for your work. The video is obviously a bit long since it was a panel at the recent Vimeo Festival, but even if you only have a mild interest in the conversation, there are great tidbits that extend into just being a filmmaker in the 21st century.
Learning how to separate your personal life and your professional life is a huge part of the conversation, and it's something that all filmmakers have to consider depending on how much they want to be active in the online space. Figuring out when it is appropriate to be tweeting, or when you should or shouldn't be checking updates on your cell phone, are all important (and not obvious) questions that filmmakers 20 years ago didn't have to worry about.
In terms of being polite and trying to answer as many questions from users as much as possible, maybe this is something that hits home (because I try to do it every day), but there is a certain amount of your online presence that reflects who you are as a person and how you are going to be on set. If you have a bad attitude online, what are the chances that you're going to have a bad attitude when you get on a film set?
Nick also brings up a great point about only sticking to what is currently relevant to him. He may have started with a specific interest, but the only way he can keep going and moving forward is to keep writing about the stuff he's passionate about. I think that's the most important takeaway for me (and hopefully anyone) who is considering doing what these guys did, or anyone who is simply trying to build an audience or foster a community of any kind. Being passionate about something is contagious. If you can keep finding ways to really enjoy what you're doing, it won't be hard for other people to see that too, and want to share in the experience.
You can find links to both Philip's site and Nick's site below. What did you take away from the video? How can you apply any of these techniques to your own films? The internet is a big place, and there is plenty of room for lots of different communities, but what is it that might make your point of view different than that of someone else?