How to Revolutionize Your Filmmaking Career

Have you ever felt held back by the documentary film industry? Is it holding you back from reaching your full potential?

This post was written by Jonny von Wallstrom.

If so, I know how hard it is. Ready to break out of the mundane world of traditional documentaries and start doing something special with your craft? If so, I have a plan. But that takes a lot of work, and most filmmakers will tease you while you do.

This is my secret master plan that could revolutionize your career.


I grew up dreaming of making movies. Like my hero, Robert Rodriguez, I envisioned them playing at the most prestigious film festivals of the rebel who wrote one of the best books on how to make indie films at the time. filmmaker. He was my biggest inspiration when I started my career over 20 years ago. His filmmaking has taught me that anyone can make their dreams come true.

I wanted to show my film in a big arena. At the time, I wondered if it was possible, but like many aspiring filmmakers, I just kept making films. stayed alive.

A few years later, it participated in top film festivals such as the IDFA and the Cannes Film Festival. It helped establish himself in the industry and even sold movies to Netflix. For several years, I was living the dream, making several primetime TV shows.

But it hit me. I hated making movies.

My greatest passion is telling compelling stories that change the world. After working in the film industry for 20 years, the dream turned into a nightmare. I asked permission to tell my story and was fed up with constantly reaching the limits of my creative control. it was done. But I had no choice. I was receiving funding, but with it came a loss of artistic integrity. It was excruciating when most of the industry thought that to tell a great story, it needed to be detailed through voice-over rather than cinematic storytelling. This anxious, adolescent way of telling stories has killed my joy in filmmaking. But most of all, I hated having my creativity stolen.

I wanted to stop. A new dream was born. To start a country pizzeria in the suburbs of Stockholm, Sweden. I know, it’s strange. But I love food and who doesn’t love pizza? I grew ingredients on my own farm and started with a pop-up restaurant outside my kitchen. The laser and haze machine become part of the pizza disco, as equipment gets dusty on the shelf. It was a deal.

But quitting is harder than when you love making movies. For the most part, the nightmare didn’t appear until the editing process. I loved capturing stories, even in projects where I didn’t really like the results.I wanted to find a way to make a film without losing creative control. As soon as you lose it, you lose your dignity with it. Money determines how movies are made, so I decided to find a way to make more money.

make money to make movies

Most filmmakers dream of having enough money to independently make their own films. A great way to hold your artistic vision. I learned this from Robert. In his book he details how he adapted his story. Mariachi to the cash he had. Produced on a minimal budget, this cost-effective filmmaking struck a chord with me. We built an entire production company by making high-end movies on a minimal budget. It worked for a long time. I self-funded the development of my projects so they could maintain their artistic vision. This ensured that the film would not fall apart.

But then things changed. Streaming services started to focus on serial content, and so did I.

I started making TV shows. There, we had to develop the look and storytelling together with the buyer. As you can see, every broadcaster has their own way of telling their story. It is this unspoken truth that they want you to understand. But coming from a world where good storytelling isn’t synonymous with going into detail for fear of leaving the audience with too many questions, I was out of luck. I often hear them say that they do not understand anything after Still, as soon as you explain what happens in your narration, it works like a charm.

Television production was hard because it’s time-pressed. It forces a story that worries and fears losing its audience. There was no longer an opportunity to jump things back and forth and develop the story organically. The industry lacks the funds to do that. So my successful method fell apart. It reminded me of something like working with a brand, but with a big difference. But no, my creativity had been stolen.

That’s a big problem. The industry does not favor artists. This is why we want to discover ways to make money outside the system. Only then can you take creative risks that make you love making movies.

But how do you do that? Well this might surprise you.

I faced the challenge of finding unconventional ways to fund my films. It felt hopeless. After all, how could you possibly have such an ambitious idea?

I know filmmakers hate YouTube. It’s a garbage dump.

Remember, this was also what people said about moving from film to digital. That’s what they said about Netflix, too. At this time, YouTube does not offer traditional filmmaking, nor does the traditional industry. We are all changed by technology. The industry has its own set of challenges. One is that documentaries have become less hot. As an insider, I can tell you that what people are watching is reality TV, even on massive streaming services like Amazon.

Depressing, I know.

learn youtube language

So how do you become a conscientious filmmaker on YouTube? First, you need to learn to speak the language.

As you know, you watch a lot of YouTube videos. Still, it’s been 13 years since I became a YouTuber. I still have to understand the platform. No “real” filmmaker has a blueprint. MrBeast is currently the world’s largest YouTuber, with 116 million subscribers and his most popular videos having more than 313 million views. He has mastered reality TV and gamification storytelling on the platform. He will probably become a millionaire. He and people like him have shown that you can make a lot of money on YouTube. You can do much more than traditional filmmaking.

MrBeast, or Jimmy Donaldson, started a trend that traditional TV personalities jumped on. Michelle Khare from HBO Max, to name a few. karma creates high-end challenge videos with 3.2 million subscribers. On Discovery Channel’s hit show, HeavyDSparks, diesel brothers, exit the show to do YouTube. He has his 2.58 million subscribers. All of these creators produce TV-quality content. it’s just fast. I predict TV will soon have to adapt to their storytelling style to compete with them.

YouTube is the largest platform. This is a huge opportunity that traditional filmmakers have yet to master. Naturally, there will come a time when something like this will happen. I want to be there to make sure I can still party. At that time, film festivals were platforms. In the future it will be YouTube. Because for young people, YouTube is the platform of their time. I can’t see it disappearing, but I can see it disappearing.

So, back to filmmakers who want to tell cinematic stories. Today, many channels are boring, slow, and yet successful. The secret is reliability and access. For example, during the war in Ukraine I discovered the Shekkoz family. They were filming their family life in Russia. Slow and devoid of believable dramaturgy, it was engaging. This is what makes it unique on the platform and especially why it succeeds with perfect timing.

The Shekkoz Family shows that talented storytellers can succeed if they understand their platform. So many documentary filmmakers are already telling stories about the same thing. But they rely on film festivals and broadcasters, which slows them down in reaching audiences. In the future, the filmmaker will tell you exactly what happened on her YouTube. If you have considerable interest in the topic. This is what blossoms on YouTube. Stories that people are actively searching for, and spectacular entertainment that makes people say, ‘wow’.

Change is happening. The first to decipher algorithms for telling movie stories would go gargantuan on YouTube and much bigger than traditional TV stations. However, it works differently than traditional television and cinema.

  • Traditional cinematic storytelling will wow people. Simply put, too late.
  • Traditional dramaturgy still works. It just needs to happen faster.
  • We need to rethink what good algorithmic storytelling is.
  • Increases credibility (genuine or fake).
  • Chocks and spectacle generate interest and virality.
  • SEO optimization creates longevity.
  • Trendjacking creates massive growth.
  • Your video should capture the conflict with a compelling thumbnail and title.
  • After clicking, the video should immediately deliver on the thumbs and title promise.
  • The video should keep the viewer’s attention for at least 50%, preferably 70%.
  • The first two minutes are critical. Most people click away during the first 30 seconds.
  • Suspense is important. Convince the viewer to keep watching him every 10-20 seconds.
  • Videos promote each other, and if you stop uploading, your YouTube ranking will drop, so you need to be consistent.

This is what I think YouTube is all about. Come to think of it, traditional media focuses on the same thing. Because the viewer decides what is funny. Audiences are shaped by the times and technology in which they live. So the platform is also shaped by it.

The key here is to start from scratch and master the platform. Finding ways to tell the stories you love requires researching what works. Once you understand your platform and its audience, you will find a way to tell your story. Anyone can succeed if they can do that. But I see a lot of filmmakers looking down on YouTubers. It would be wise to accept that they may know something you don’t. They might know something about captivating an audience in less time than a goldfish’s attention span. and someone will be first.

is that you?

This is the first in a series of posts exploring how to build an independent filmmaking career on YouTube. Leave a comment with what you think about the future of filmmakers.

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