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 CollectiveAudience 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!

BOOBSLily 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