Inspiration - Musicbed Blog

Reading is one of the simplest ways to immediately improve your life in every regard, even your filmmaking. A while back we reached out to some of our friends in filmmaking to see what they would recommend for some summer reading and they had some incredibly thoughtful responses. So, we thought we’d go for round two because we’re sure as hell not running out of books to read.

There are a lot of conversations surrounding the Vimeo Staff Pick, but no one in the indie film community can question its importance. For many creatives that elusive badge has been the starting point for their career, the moment when they get noticed.

For this edition of Musicbed Top 5, we’re going to show you sample films as inspiration for you to get started on your own journey. Each film is a great example of creativity under fire, showcasing creatives’ abilities to use their limitations and make them an advantage.

It’s hard to rank films for so many reasons. First and foremost, the true value of a film lies solely with the viewer — what did you take away from it? The only metric that truly counts in our book is how a film affects someone. That’s the mindset we had going into the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. There were hundreds of great films by great filmmakers debuting and we only had the chance to see a small percentage of them. So, instead of going for “best” or “worst”, we’re going for impact. This article is an effort to shed some light on notable films that struck us at the festival — not an end-all, be-all film review.

Passion projects operate within their own economy. One where financial gain is beside the point, investments are expected to be lost, and purity of vision is valued above all else. Passion projects are pieces of art. They exist to exist. Getting them to exist can be the problem, too.

Animation has been with us for a very long time now. People have been drawing sequential, motion-mimicking frames for thousands of years. (Go look at some ancient Egyptian burial murals when you get a chance.) And for the past few hundred years, we’ve been figuring out ways to bring those frames to life ⎯ through spinning discs, flipbooks, and, ultimately, online video streaming services. You might say animation was the earliest form of filmmaking. It’s the medium that first taught us the power of moving pictures. And it continues to be one of the most innovative forms of filmmaking today.

We’ve compiled a list of eight books every filmmaker should read this summer. Some are directly related to the craft. Others are simply examples of great craftsmanship themselves. But all of them will make fantastic companions whether you’re unwinding on the beach or head-down inside your latest project. These suggestions were compiled from our own reading and from the reading of some of our talented filmmaking friends. We hope you find one that, in the words of J. D. Salinger, “Really knocks you out.”

For a lot of people, Vimeo’s launch changed the game. And for a talented few, Vimeo Staff Picks launched careers. Since their inception, the clout of the Staff Pick has only grown. Its influence now extends far beyond Vimeo’s servers. Major Hollywood directors like Wes Ball (The Maze Runner) and David Green (Earth to Echo) got their starts thanks to Vimeo’s nod of approval. And more than a few of our friends have had their lives changed by that now-hallowed seal in the top-left corner.

When things are going well, film ideas lead one to the next. You’re working on one project, and something sparks an idea for another. A perpetual motion machine. But sometimes that machine breaks down, and you’re left trying to pedal your bicycle uphill. Every once in a while, we all need a little boost.

The quickest way to do bad work is to worry about doing bad work. It’s that well-known truth all over again: We move toward what we focus on. At some point, the people who make great things stop worrying so much about making bad things, and they start getting work done, getting projects finished, getting pieces out there. They eschew perfectionism in favor of productivity. They work fast — and fearlessly.

We’re suckers for great documentaries, and there’s no shortage of them right now. From incredible true-crime podcasts (sup, Serial!) to the latest Herzog masterpiece, Lo and Behold, this really is the golden age of documentary. These films are not only fascinating and beautiful, but they’re creating actual change. Recently Brendan Dassey, one of the subjects of the documentary series Making a Murderer, was released from prison after more than a decade. (He was supposed to serve a life sentence.) Serial’s Adnan Syed is getting a new trial. That’s part of what’s so addicting about the form. These stories make a real difference. They throw their weight around.

Movie magic happens in an instant. It’s an alchemy of elements that, for whatever reason, creates something much more valuable than the pieces themselves. And like alchemy, the formula has been sought for generations. So far, no luck. But if there’s one thing we know movie magic does not require, it’s a lot of time.

Welcome to the first-ever Musicbed Top 5, a rundown of our favorite short films featuring music from our artists. Hearing their work in great videos is one of the most rewarding things we get to do and we’re excited to share a few of them with you. This rundown is just a small sample of the work we’ve seen on Vimeo recently, and you can watch even more in our Musicbed Collection on Vimeo. We went with a decidedly sports-oriented version this time around, but as you’ll see in these films, they’re about so much more than that. Enjoy these incredible short films, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.

A title sequence doesn’t have to be memorable or inspired or even very good. A title sequence doesn’t have to exist at all, in fact. Plenty of great films just roll credits over establishing shots or black. Which is why when a title sequence does transcend the norm, it becomes something really special. Think Napoleon Dynamite. Think Star Wars’ scrolling paragraphs. These preambles become part and parcel of the whole film: inseparable from our experience or memory of it. Like all forms of filmmaking, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for what makes a title sequence great. Some are serious, some are playful, some are abstract, some are a lie. Whatever form they take, they enhance our experience and understanding of the film or television show that follows. They make a first impression — they set the stage.

There is no shortage of incredible films out there just waiting to be made. Weird films. Beautiful films. Films unlike any we’ve ever seen. But without funding, many of them will never see the light of day. Recently we’ve been reminded of all the amazing films that have come into the world thanks to grants and fellowships and other alternative forms of funding. Stories are more than a commodity, and that’s why we’re so passionate about them.