last updated: 08/19/2014
In this simple guide, I have linked all of the online resources I take advantage of to continually improve my craft and build my business.
In Jiu Jitsu, which I have trained for years and years, there is a common thread between those that have success on the mat: No matter the results, they continue to train, undaunted, with little ego involved.
It is tough to even tell by their demeanor if they are tapped (submitted), or doing the tapping. That’s cause these special breeds know the important part is perfecting their game and progressing at their own pace.
It’s these types that, in what seems like overnight, become killers on the mat. Whatever your craft is, the lesson is to ‘stay on the mat’. Keep at it, be persistent, and persevere.
Remember, whether through failure or success, it is the experience that’s priceless.
As a filmmaker, even when work is slow, I continue to write, shoot, and edit. Even if its just a few pages here and there. I have an entire file folder filled with terrible scripts and movie ideas. I just think, stay on the mat. The rest will take care of itself.
With that in mind, I put together a list of resources I use for myself, some free, some paid, but all invaluable in my book. I do not benefit from you using these links. This is not affiliate marketing, this is tried and true tested resources that have added value to my career.
While on the ‘digital mat’ as a filmmaker, here are the top resources I use to grow at my craft:
FXPHD – Online professional, vfx, production, and post training. A great resource to learn from real filmmakers who are currently in the field. An invaluable source of experience, information, and networking.
Lynda.com – a great site for learning how a specific program works. This differs from FXPHD, in that the information is more geared toward how to technically use a program, rather then how to use it in the field.
Film Riot – the best, and funniest, tutorial site on the web for filmmakers from the mind of Ryan Connolly.
AE Tuts – hundreds of high end tutorials for Adobe After Effects.
Greyscale Gorilla – in depth, intense post production tutorials, guidance, products, and inspiration.
Philip Bloom – If anyone is up to date on the latest cameras and technology, it’s Philip Bloom. This site/blog is a great resource for tips, tricks, and inspiration.
Video CoPilot – From products to plug ins to tutorials, video copilot has something every creative filmmaker can use &/or learn.
BAMMO – Similar to film riot, these are incredibly informative tutorials and updates delivered like classic comedy routines.
Indy Mogul – the first network for the YouTube generation of independent filmmakers, focusing on DIY effects, filmmaking tips, and showcasing creative work.
Nofilmschool – My favorite news site for filmmakers. Keeps me up to date with the rapid technology advances, as well as continuing to enlighten me with new and useful resources. In the information age, this site is a goldmine for filmmakers.
Hope for Film – a great opportunity for beginner filmmakers to seek and discuss insight of an industry professional.
IndieWire – Info on films and festivals, as well as reviews and blogs covering topics such as production, distribution, exhibition, and festival strategy.
Twitch Film – a central hub for the lovers of indie, international, and cult films.
Prolost – The filmmaking blog for Stu Maschwitz, the champion of accessible filmmaking.
Art of the Guillotine – a news source for editors.
Backstage – In the tri-state area, this is the hands down best online, and off, way to cast any production. One ad in here, and you will have 50+ responses of impressive talent and experience.
John August – started his blog in 2003 and has expanded it into a wealth of information ranging from career advice to the state of the film industry itself. Many posts are inspired by reader-submitted questions, making it a great way for writers to get feedback from real working pros.
Go Into the Story – The screenwriting blog of ‘the Black List’, where moviemakers find scripts to make and scripts find people to make them.
Adobe Story – My favorite writing software currently out. I used to use Final Draft, but now prefer Story for many reasons.
Scripped – a Web-based software solution for screenwriters that allows you to format your scripts to industry standards without having to download software to your computer.
Ink Tip – a great place to read about the business and art of filmmaking.
99u – Insights on making ideas happen. Behance’s blog is a preferred motivational tool for the soul.
- VHX.tv – Distribute your film online directly to your audience.
- Distrify – Distrify turns film sharing into sales and your fans into a community.
- ScreenlightTV – For video pros, the easiest way to securely share videos with teams and clients.
- Aframe – Your entire video production, in the cloud.
These are the places I find all of the assets I use to create my projects:
- Videohive – stock footage, motion graphics templates, dvd menus, and project files.
- Istock – stock photos, vector illustrations, stock video and music tracks.
- Video Blocks – subscription based site for stock footage with unlimited downloads.
- Audio Jungle – my favorite place for royalty free music.
- Revo Stock – Stock Video, After Effects Templates, Apple Motion Templates, Stock Music and Sound Effects to fuel your creative engine.
- Digital Juice – Project, templates, animations, gear, accessories, products, music, stock footage, and more.
- Max After – provides Highly Professional Royalty Free After Effects Templates.
- CG Textures – the world’s largest free texture site.
- CG Textures – awesome free textures and backgrounds.
- Pond 5 – the world’s stock media marketplace.
- Blue Sky Footage – As a cinematographer-owned boutique, Blue Sky Stock Footage understands and caters to the needs of production professionals. We offer exclusive high definition and film-originated footage that has been shot to exacting commercial standards and digitally transferred on the latest equipment.
- Mitch Martinez – friend & DP extraordinaire, Mitch offers free stock footage downloadable from his website. Includes some stunning 4k fireball and timelapse work.
- Beachfrontbroll.com – A collection of unique HD stock video footage and animated backgrounds for any production purpose and it’s completely FREE.
Anytime I have a question, problem, or argument, I head straight to these forums to get the low down. It’s a great place to talk with people who have boatloads of experience in an area you might not, as well as build your network and credibility by wielding yours. Here are some of my favorite forums.
- Dvxuser – the online community for filmmaking
- Creative Cow – Creative communities of the world.
- IndieTalk – a filmmaking community to share and exchange ideas.
- RedUser.net – mostly for RED users, but I find it informative about tons of technology, camera info, and more. Even if you don’t use the RED, it’s still good to become familiar with their capabilities.
- DVinfo – the digital video information network.
- Creative Planet Network – formally 2pop forums.
- Stage 32 – a FREE social network for film, television, and theatre creatives.
Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Examiner – Your guide to the social media jungle. No matter what field you are in, knowing how to get attention on the web is essential to success today.
- PRWeb Blog – Love their stats, concepts, and overall information provided. This site can really help you improve your digital content in any medium.
LinkedIn is a great way to ‘meet’ peers and clients, as well as cement your credibility. It’s also a great way to promote your business if done properly. One of the ‘proper’ ways is to find some quality groups and add value to the discussions. Here are some of the groups I have found useful. Be forewarned, many of them are members only. However, it is quite easy to apply and gain access if this is your field:
Meetup.com is a great way to get out and meet new people, peers, and like-minded souls. I have even met people from meetups I joined, but didn’t even attend. That’s because when you join a meetup, you can review member profiles and see if that’s the place to spend some time. As a creative, I can get stuck behind the desk, and in my comfortable zone. Meetup.com is my saving grace to keep me in contact with the physical world.
Twitter is what you make of it. To me, it’s a great source for information, both dispersing your own, and learning from others. Here are some of the top people I follow:
- @ryanbkoo – Ryan Koo is the founder of NoFilmSchool. Need I say more.
- @PhilipBloom – A phenomenal DP, and the leading camera expert and critic, he is legendary for his in depth reviews on new cameras and equipment.
- @eMotionFilmsLtd – A small but productive stable of unrepresented independent screenwriters, filmmakers who are all about film.
- @5tu – Stu Maschwitz, filmmaking nerd.
- @filmriot – a video tutorial site with a comedic twist.
Here are some of the FB pages I find useful to like.
- MoviePilot.com – All the news on upcoming movies, from behind the scenes to the big screen.
- Independent Filmmakers and Screenwriters – Great for networking with over 10,0000 strong.
- Edit Cellar – a shameless plug of my own page.
- Film Minute – the international one-minute film festival.
- 48 Go Green – International Eco Film Festival.
- Stockholm Film Festival – the international film festival in Stockholm.
- Tromso Filmfest – Another international film festival.
- Oslo Film Festival – Another international film festival.
- Crossing Europe – Another international film festival.
- Sundance – they find, love and share the best independent culture in the world.
Digital media for the web has become its own realm, here are some channels that have created the path to success on YouTube. Here are some of the best at a ‘web series’ to enjoy, and learn from.
Here are some of the best filmmaking channels:
- Krotoflik: DIY Filmmaking and Shorts
- Film Riot
- Tom Antos: Filmmaking Advice
- Indy Mogul
- Phillip Bloom
- Art of the Image
Here are the vimeo channels I find the best content for tips, tricks, & inspiration:
- Vimeo FilmSchool – This is the free Film School of tutorials to make your film projects, from special effects, to the steadycam, lights, cranes, etc.
- The Best Videos on Vimeo – this channel is self explanatory. Though it is not updated often, it still is a fine collection of incredible work in one place.
- The Reels – for inspiration, this is the official demo reel channel for vimeo.
B&H – my preferred place for buying new equipment, and the ultimate store to visit in person. Be prepared to spend the day.
Video Guys – a great resourse for information on NLEs, computer configs and system recommendations.
Cheesy Cam – DIY video and photography projects. Great place to find killer deals, inexpensive quality, and tons of up to date info & reviews.
OWC – Other World Computing. Quality products. Expert support.
Abel Cine – camera experts with training, events, and technical resources. My preferred spot in the tri-state area for renting equipment and information on cameras/lenses/lighting.
Cinevate – tools for filmmakers.
Red Rock Micro – Revolutionary Cinema Accessories for the Digital Filmmaker.
Edelkrone – Camera & dslr rigs. Love the FocusOne follow focus, and new Slider Plus+.
Slidoo – ebay search and notification tool. Easily search for equipment, get notifications, and find the best deals. Slidoo is in beta at the moment and will soon integrate multiple other platforms such as amazon into its search capabilities. So it’s essentially a one-stop shop to search for the best deals on equipment.
What Resources Do You Recommend?
With your collective input, we can create the ultimate online resource guide for everyone to take advantage of. I will continue to update this guide with your recommendations, as well as when new information becomes available.