5 Essential New Skills Every Filmmaker Needs

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Kobi Shely

Netlfix, and Amazon making content decisions according to viewing data, Famebit connecting creators with marketers, YouTubers creating high-quality web series for free,  — All contributed to the ongoing disruption of work and employment patterns in our industry. Technology is something that potentially threatens nearly every job out there.

The trick is to stay ahead of the game, with so many innovations disrupting viewing habits, an awareness of technology is absolutely necessary. Even if you insist that you have nothing to do with it, “I’m not on Facebook”, a basic knowledge of the world around you is becoming a standard skill. If you’re not sure how to navigate the changing landscape, here are five suggestions.

“Most jobs in the art field are incredibly hard to get, you need a lot of networking, so I just started making videos and get them up there” 

1. Online presence
Having a quality online presence has always been a key discovery tool, but in the digital age it’s more important than ever. Instead of winning over a potential sales agents, film festival programmer, filmmakers will need to be able to sell themselves on sites like Youtube, Netflix and connected TV media applications (Thousands of applications) Without a convincing online profile, your film will never be seen.

2. Online Marketing Skills

While it’s true that you might not know the first thing about marketing, it’s never too late to learn. It’s never been easier, Lynda, for instance, offers a range of ‘nanodegrees’ in marketing, programming, and various other useful tech and business related skills. Do you want to create an online presence? You want to build your fan community and get them to support you on Kickstarter? You need to learn the basics.

3. Understand basic numbers

I have an inhabited Math trauma, I assume most creatives have numbers phobia as well, but this new world we keep talking about is all about the numbers. You’ll need to figure out if your film/web series/ is getting a positive reaction by translating the numbers to conversions. Youtube, for instance, is the main source of traffic to sites like VHX, Distrify, and Vimeo On Demand. Getting people to click your trailer or site is great, but converting to sign-ups and to sales is crucial. 1.5% – 3.5% means that viewers are not interested to watch your film (Sadly) 4.5% – 8.2% means your film is interesting, and now your work must focus on increasing impressions numbers.

The best option to train yourself is uploading your trailer to YouTube, create a presence and analyze your statics dashboard.

4. Storytelling skills

We were misguided, to make it in this industry, it’s not enough to master production and writing a good script. That’s simply not true. It’s the ability to take countless information, messages, and images and tell a coherent, sharp, and interesting story.  In an age where a good idea can change a life or a career, the ability to tell your story to your audience, investors, crowdfunding backers, film programmers, is a critical ability to succeed.

5. Ability to adapt
In the face of disruption, filmmakers need to be flexible. Dealing with unpredictable change means that the most common storytelling conventions you’ve been learning about (Cannes embarrassing latest resistance to Netflix for instance) might be irrelevant in 3-4 years. You must be willing to embrace change, think outside of the box, and have an entrepreneurial storytelling skill. I’m not suggesting making your film interactive (Too expensive and not enough attraction) I’m suggesting to go Long shot and think VR, Web series, gaming, and engaging new ways to crowdfund your film.

It’s going to be incredibly difficult for people to find your film in a content-saturated world, but acquiring all of the above skills could help you be a more successful filmmaker.

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