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On certain levels, developing a production budget is the same regardless of the type of film, whether you’re diving into a personal project or developing branded content for a client. We’ve already tackled a few notes on developing a production budget on the personal side, but after speaking with producers Sarah Schutzki (Feral Creative) and Zanah Thirus (BBDO Atlanta), we decided the commercial side deserved its own article.

A few months ago, we were talking with Vimeo’s creative director, Jeremy Boxer. We asked him what he was most excited about, and, without hesitating, he said Vimeo On Demand — Vimeo’s newish service that allows filmmakers to sell their work directly to their audience. Vimeo On Demand, he told us, is going to radically change not just the economy of filmmaking, but films themselves. We asked him what in the world he was talking about. “I think the first thing it’s going to do is erase the idea of traditional formats,” he said. “We’ve had filmmakers who’ve made 35-minute films about a specific subject for a specific audience, and they’ve done better than some feature films. It [becomes] more about the storytelling. I think you’re going to start seeing a lot more odd-length projects coming out in the next couple years.”

Question: Are you the type of person who carefully checks the temperature of a swimming pool before slowly, over the course of an hour or so, working your way into the water? Or are you someone who dives into the deep end headfirst like a lunatic? If you’re the second type, then you might have a bright future in film.

We’ve been fans of Diego Contreras since before his breakthrough film Islands nabbed a Vimeo Staff Pick in 2013. Since then, his career has been on the rise, taking him briefly through one of the most well-respected ad agencies in history (BBDO), and more recently into the realm of professional filmmaking. Not long ago, he directed two stunning short films for The Lincoln Motor Company, Bloom and Open Your Eyes. And he’s done it all within two years.

We’ve talked about healthy ways of receiving feedback. Now let’s talk about healthy ways of giving it. In almost every way, giving good feedback is harder than accepting it. It is a discipline. And it takes a long time to master. Any novice can teach himself to listen to wisdom. It’s a thousand times harder to speak it.

If you don’t know Joey L. from his work for the National Geographic Channel, the History Channel, or charity: water (his images have been displayed in little places like, oh, Time’s Square), then you might know him from his tutorials. Since 2006, Joey L. has been distilling his hard-earned photographic know-how into easy-to-follow instructional videos (originally in the form of hand-labeled DVDs, and now available on the World Wide Interweb). His most recent series, Dudes with Cameras, is a compulsively watchable mix of photographic wisdom, travelogue, and late-night sleep-deprived mischief. Highly recommended.

Years ago, someone gave me a piece of business advice I haven’t forgotten: “Find a competitor,” he said, “and learn to hate them.” In a lot of ways, his advice was sound. Competition not only drives people forward, but it drives entire industries forward. Heck, it’s the whole basis of capitalism. And yet, after following his advice for a number of years, I couldn’t help but feel like there was something seriously wrong with it. Sure, competition could drive me to the next level, but did I like who I was when I got there? (Nope.) And would I be able to keep that same competitive spirit year after year? (Probably not.)

Why do we make films? It would be so much easier not to. The poet Charles Simic said: “I write because I want every woman in the world to fall in love with me.” Whether or not we say it out loud (or even admit it to ourselves), recognition is always on our radar. As it should be.