1 March 2019 / social media Crowdsourcing Filmmaking For a long time, the film industry has been dominated by people who are—by nature—in a position of power. Hollywood revolves around money, and as a result, the majority of America’s mainstream filmmakers have been homogenous. Diverse perspectives aren’t being heard, simply because most of us don’t have access to the money and resources that are required for making a film.As a young filmmaker without many resources, this has always been a struggle for me. Making a movie is expensive, so a lot of the projects my friends and I have worked on have never been fully realized. We’ve produced a few short films, scraping together money to cover equipment costs and pay our crew. But our options have always been limited. A few years ago, my friend Sarah and I had an idea. What if we could use social media as a way to pool resources? Could we crowdsource some of the elements of filmmaking that we can’t easily access on our own? We began working on a draft of a screenplay, but quickly realized that no social media existed that could really support our project. When Netflix released “High Flying Bird” earlier this year—which was shot entirely on an iPhone—I was again struck with the urge to come up with a non-traditional format for making a film. And this time I think I might have the right tools. I’ve been using uSync to build a community of like-minded filmmakers across the country. It began mostly as a discussion. We’d share ideas, recommendations for obscure films to check out, sometimes clips of footage or drafts of screenplays from current projects. uSync has a lot of social media tools within the platform kinda. While it provides the same kind of features as Facebook, it really shines when it comes to collaboration The ability to scale beyond “posts” makes it perfect for the back and forth communication we need. It’s truly a space for creatives like myself to not only share project ideas and updates but it also allows for fan–based interactions.Sarah and I decided to post the fragments of our screenplay, along with the question: Who wants to make this with us? By the end of the day, an Omaha-based writer named Joe had added four pages to the draft, along with a message that said “I’m in.” Kristyn, a director in Austin, also responded saying she knew some great actors and was up for a project.I’m normally a control-freak about stuff, but the idea of working in a totally new way was so exciting to me, that I decided to let go and see what happened. Plus, I admired these guys. The work they had posted on their uSync pages was great—unique and inspiring—and I was ready to learn from them. Within a couple of weeks, Mark, a director in Detroit, and his actor friends, Lucy and Chris, had also joined the team. We decided to incorporate two plotlines into the script. One that would take place in Austin and would be filmed by Kristyn, and one that would be filmed by Mark in Detroit. We also had an editor lined up in Brooklyn. We used uSync to share inspiration. Photographs, poems, songs. Anything we came across throughout the day that reminded us of the story we were writing. We’ve built an entire collaborative vision board on uSync that our whole team has access to. It helps all understand the aesthetic we’re going for and find a unity between all the moving parts. Because we can’t all be in the same room, this has been a key for us in our creative process. Inspiration doesn’t come from just one place. Creative inspiration is around me all of the time. Conversations are one means, but, body language, nature, music, observation, feedback all play a role in creative work. A platform that provides me with direct connections to other filmmakers is essential but having content all around me to inspire me is a plus. Seeing photographers, videographers, directors and designers work helps with envisioning potential directions my scripts can take and whether the results can be achieved through crowd sourcing. I’ve read many stories on uSync that I’ve recommended with others I’m working with. It’s easy to do this and have even asked some to join our weekly conversations.For the end of the film, we’re attempting to pull off something crazy. We want the two plotlines to intersect. Because of our pooled resources, we’ve been able to operate almost entirely without a budget. But we’re currently using uSync to reach out to our film community to raise a small budget that will allow our multiple teams to all meet in the middle to shoot the final scene. I’m over the moon excited to meet my new collaborators in person, and to get to work as a team on the film’s grand finale. Advances in technology are making the unimaginable possible in storytelling. With more time on the platform some of these serendipitous relationships could turn into something more. Who knows. That’s the fun part about development of any new idea or strategy, Right?