February 28, 2018

5 Reasons Why You Should Start a Film Collective (and How to Do it)

Curve Filmmakers Collective
Don't know how to launch your film career? You might start here.

When I graduated from college with a degree in ‘not film so who cares’ and decided to pursue filmmaking, I didn’t know anything about film—or anyone employed as a filmmaker. Bursting with ideas and questions, I was eager to find a team and get to work…but how?

For me, starting a film collective has been the answer. Here are five reasons why you should start one too:

1. Build the network you wish you had

We hear so often that the best thing you can take away from film school is a solid network. By starting a film collective, you can build that network for yourself.

If you’re not sure how to begin doing that, gather the e-mail addresses of every friendly-faced peer you know at work (even if that’s an internship or a restaurant job). Go to networking events, and ask around until you’ve found every filmmaker in your reach. Ask your friends and family members if any of their friends are filmmakers. When those options are exhausted, exchange contact information with that one artsy looking bartender with the Stanley Kubrick tattoo who you sort of know but not really. Then invite everyone on your list (and their film friends) out for pizza and a chat about filmmaking. It can be that simple. Look for the people at your level who are as eager as you, and grow your network from there—one saved contact at a time.

Curve Filmmakers Collective
Audience at a Curve Filmmakers outdoor screening

2. Teamwork really does make the dream work

Once you have a team of hungry filmmakers, you can all become stronger as a group with the power of your collaboration and shared resources.

The film collectives that I’m a part of have monthly meetings in members’ apartments, in addition to secret Facebook groups where members ask each other for what they need to make their films. Need a camera? Conner has a camera. Need your film edited? Emily has a suite and she’ll offer you her services at a discounted rate. With the effort of a collective, you will continuously witness members finding work and resources that they might not have acquired without access to the support of a team. This industry is tough. Learn and grow as a group, and make it a little easier.

When a collective of talented people are all including the same logo and brand with their films, that brand begins to mean something. 

3. Become your own credible source

Sometimes posting a video to your personal channel can feel like shouting into a void. When will the wait end to get published by that one credible source so that your film can finally be seen? By starting a film collective, you can become your own credible source.

Create shared websites and social media channels for your group to post videos and announcements to. For every viewer that subscribes to watch any single filmmakers’ film, they are also subscribing to watch every filmmaker's film associated with that collective’s page. When a collective of talented people are all including the same logo and brand with their films, that brand begins to mean something. If you’re not already associated with a credible brand, what’s stopping you from building your own brand?

4. Find your missing pieces

With a film collective, you can gather the missing pieces that you need to become a better filmmaker.

Do you need a writers’ group? Plan one with your collective. Do you need to take a class? Ask around the collective for an expert and host a seminar. Do you need to practice a skill? Find collective members who also need practice, and plan a workshop. Need publicity? Host a collective screening event and showcase your films together!

BOOBS
Lily Cohen and Rebecca Mitzner in 'BOOBS', a short film by Kelly Bachman, produced by Curve Filmmakers Collective.Credit: Derek Brown

5. The stakes are low(er than you think)

In starting a collective, I have found that with the resources of a group, you can do all of the above I have mentioned and more with little to no money spent. When 50 like-minded people are all throwing in a few dollars each and their collective talents for the shared production of a film or an event, difficult planning suddenly becomes simple.

Filmmaking can be a lonely and isolating experience if we prevent ourselves from reaching out to our peers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and remember that viewing other filmmakers as collaborators rather than competition makes the journey a lot easier—and a lot more fun.

If you want to make something, whether you already know what you’re doing or not—where there’s a good story, there’s a way. Now, what are you waiting for? Go start a collective!     

 In 2017, Kelly Bachman completed her first short film, BOOBS, which she says would have been impossible without the support of the two film collectives that she was a founder of: Curve Filmmakers and Women Independent Producers. The film premiered at LA Shorts International Film Festival in August 2017. 

Featured image: Members of Curve Filmmakers Collective on the set of BOOBS, a short film by Kelly Bachman. (left to right: Blaine Bailey, Lily Cohen, Rebecca Mitzner, Derek Brown, Jacob Salzberg, Kelly Bachman) Credit: Madeline Berdan

Your Comment

11 Comments

This is a wonderful idea! Personally, it's been really discouraging to not have people to make movies with, but I do know of a couple people into filmmaking around my city. Does anyone know of any online resources (outside of social media, though I don't discredit it as perhaps the strongest medium) that can connect filmmakers in this way? Sort of an online collective?

February 28, 2018 at 8:48PM

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Although I've never really explored the service, Mandy.com might be a resource. It's generally for finding paid professionals, but sometimes they'll work for free if it's a good project and it doesn't take them away from paying work.

March 3, 2018 at 5:31PM

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Post what city you're in. Who knows - maybe someone reading this is from there, too.

April 5, 2018 at 4:28PM

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Your article makes me poked. Keep posting such article.
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March 1, 2018 at 1:31AM, Edited March 1, 1:33AM

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jk rowling
window film supplier
81

Good stuff, Kelly, thanks! I definitely fall into that trap of “gotta succeed on my own,” so it’s helpful to get these practical types of steps for finding people.

March 1, 2018 at 8:55AM

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Bryan Howell
Screenwriter, corporate videographer, and indie filmmaker
406

Thanks so much! You should check out our collective at curvefilms.org

March 1, 2018 at 2:15PM

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Kelly Bachman
Writer-Director
81

I moved to the Pacific Northwest four years ago and found a local collective (Olympia Film Collective) in it's infancy and watched / helped it grow into something positive for the community as a whole. I'm moving back to Colorado ready to push harder on the local scene. Teamwork really does make the dream work! Education and active involvement of both kids and seniors can really set you up for a successful production environment. Collectives also allows the ability to cherry pick rock star teams when you need to scale up for paid work.

March 1, 2018 at 10:25AM

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Dylan Sunshine Saliba
Cinematographer
138

Nice!! 100% agree collectives are the perfect guinea pigs for testing out teams for later work

March 1, 2018 at 2:16PM

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Kelly Bachman
Writer-Director
81

good article, it's feel me better

March 3, 2018 at 12:04PM, Edited March 3, 12:04PM

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manuela aumick
Freelance writer
126

Nice and informative article.

So, anyone!? ;-)
I write music and for year I look for this awesome group of enthusiasts to make wonderful stuff! Traveling is no problem for me so hooking up anywhere is possible - I'ld love to. Especially when it is for dark, historic movie projects.

But as the article pointed out, a wonderful group of trustworthy people to work on a certain style would be the best. Working together, we're made for that . . .

Here are a handful of examples: https://soundcloud.com/arnold-veeman/sets/orchestral-movie-scores

March 4, 2018 at 6:44AM

2
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Arnold Veeman
Music Composer | Film Editor
47

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December 26, 2018 at 3:37AM

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