DCP 185: Team of One Filmmaking with Justin DeMers and Ray Tsang
Filmmakers Justin DeMers and Ray Tsang have a conversation with me about Team of One filmmaking. Many listeners of the Digital Convergence Podcast are solo-filmmakers or solo-creatives, but just because they run a creative business by themselves does not mean they have to do it alone. Justin and Ray are here to help solo-filmmakers thrive in their business. Ray is an Emmy-award winning Director of Photography with a background in finance. He shares his story of turning a hobby he loved into a thriving business as a filmmaker.
Justin channeled his inner Alton Brown and hatched a demented Cutthroat Kitchen-ish plot to film and document Ray tackle a start-to-finish solo video project. The results: over 20 in-depth video lessons themed: Team of One Filmmaking Course (included in the Academy of Storytellers online learning resource for digital media creatives).
- Lifestyle business vs growth-oriented business - for many being a solo-creative is satisfying without the headaches of managing a large team.
- What is needed to be a successful solo-creative?
- You have to care as much about the organization of the business as you do being a creative.
- How using spreadsheets became Ray’s “second skill set” - just as important as learning to use Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X.
- As a solo-filmmaker most of your time will not necessarily be behind a camera.
- Many get started as a hobbyist and then think about how to make a living doing what they love.
- Once you start buying gear out of your savings you realize very fast that you need to get your numbers in order and make sure you can make a living doing this.
- How wedding filmmaking prepares you for commercial and narrative work.
- The core skills a solo-filmmaker need to master to be successful both creatively and in business.
- The “Golden Rules” that solo-filmmakers need to master.
- Use a tool like Calendy or ScheduleOnce to help you schedule your appointments. Save time from back-and-forth emails!
- Setting expectations with your client and yourself are key for a successful project. If a surprise does happen, you and your client know what to expect.
- Don’t compare your projects with someone else’s reel. You can’t compare your solo effort to a film made by a large team. This will only lead to doubt and disappointment.
- Examine how you can make small, realistic improvements in your skill.
- Set realistic expectations about growth and sales. Modesty is about working within your limitations. Know what you want to do and be comfortable saying no.
- Details about the Team of One Filmmaking Course in Academy of Storytellers.
- You may be a solo-filmmaker but you are not alone! There is a group of people who care about what you are doing.
- The importance of a carefully crafted statement of work (not to be confused with a creative brief).
- Gear really doesn’t matter (at least not as much as we think).
- Success starts with pre-production.
- Justin and Ray talk about what to expect in future lessons coming in the Team of One Filmmaking Course.
- Ray has been working on a TV show (Emmy award winning) ABC’s Rock the Park - solo filmmaking at it’s most extreme!
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