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Now that the playing field is level, what puts one filmmaker ahead of another? For Renan Ozturk, a veteran expedition filmmaker, the answer is simple: suffering. “You get maybe five [magic moments] in your life,” Renan told us. “You have to suffer a little more for them, put yourself out there a little more…”

Despite being necessarily collaborative, filmmaking can be lonely. And that loneliness can start to affect you — not just personally, but creatively as well. It’s hard to do good work when you don’t have people behind you.

If there is such a thing as a secret formula to success, it might be this: work your ass off. After two years of talking nonstop with successful creatives, that’s the best we can come up with. And few exemplify this better than Joey L., a Brooklyn-based commercial portrait photographer who’s shot the likes of Robert De Niro, Jessica Chastain, and Martin Sheen, and worked with brands such as the US Army, National Geographic Channel, and charity: water.

There is so much good advice out there, but almost none of it sticks. For every thousand pieces of advice you get, you might remember one or two. But what does stick is significant. You can learn a lot about someone from the advice they’ve retained. And you can learn a lot from them too. For the past few months, we’ve been asking filmmakers what advice has stuck with them. Their answers were as varied as their work. But we noticed something: When advice does stick with someone, it becomes not just advice they remember, but advice they give. It becomes their advice. In other words, the best good advice becomes part of who you are. Maybe something below will do the same for you.

For years now, the name “SoulPancake” has been floating around the Internet, attached to unapologetically feel-good (and unstoppably viral) videos like Kid President, Kitten Therapy, and Heart Attack!, as well as disarmingly philosophical series like Metaphysical Milkshake. Yeah, we’d heard of SoulPancake. But for a long time we weren’t exactly sure what SoulPancake was. A creative agency? A Rainn Wilson side project? A, for lack of a better term, movement?

Since launching the Musicbed Community, we have interviewed dozens and dozens of filmmakers and artists from all around the world. We’ve flown to Paris. We’ve Skyped to South Africa. We’ve G-Chatted to Spain. And during all that time, we’d like to think we’ve not only gotten better at interviewing people, but that we’ve learned a few practical lessons along the way. We’ve written them down here.

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.

“Ignorance is bliss,” Isaac Testerman says. “Everything we did was taking the bull by the horns, not knowing if what we were doing was the best way to go about it. We were just doing things the best we could.” After making his first short film with zero filmmaking know-how, Isaac went on to cofound Delve, one of Facebook’s lead creative agencies. Now, seven years later, what Isaac and his team lack in formal training, they make up for with gusto and experience.