How to grow a YouTube empire

Over at TechInsider there’s an indepth look at the rise of Smosh. Started by a couple of teens at home, in a time before money could be made on YouTube, they’ve gone on to amass billions of views and millions of subscribers.

THE ORIGINAL YOUTUBE STARS: How Smosh went from a ridiculous Pokémon video to a comedy empire

Teenagers Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla were living at home in 2005, months after graduating from high school, when they began to unlock the secrets of going viral.

Do we need reminding about shooting for low budget? Yes we do!

Ok, yes, there’s been a LOT of articles over the years that tell you a varying amount of tips (this article has 14!) on making your low budget film.

And yes, usually the things are the same.

But some of you (read: us) are not listening and keep retreading the same bald tires.

So I’m linking in this one.

Read, understand, absorb.

From the Red Giant team: Making a short film

Yes, of course this is all promotion for Red Giants fantastic Magic Bullet product, but, this is also highly inspiring and informational.

To showcase their product the people at Red Giant made a short film, Old New

Which is quite funny and visually stunning.

But, they’ve also released a BTS that is even longer than the short and shows some of the work behind it. It’s fascinating that they made this with an inexpensive camera and lighting rig. Just great acting, locations, directing and post-production.

Inhale this and then go and see if you can beat it!

And in case you need more motivation to plop down the cash for this, here’s the promo reel

About being a photographer (and filmmaker) – the great Scott Kelby

I think there is a lot of overlap between photographers and filmmakers. In my opinion, practically, photographers have it easier, but, regardless of course there is a relationship. That is why I watch videos and read articles about photography (and animation).

At the 2012 Google+ Photographers Conference Scott Kelby gave a great talk, ostensibly about composition, but in reality it is about being a jobbing photographer. Scott Kelby has been around almost forever and being doing talks on digital photography since, well, the advent of digital photography almost.

This seminar is very inspiring. Scott is open an honest and totally demystifies taking great photos. He also goes into how to arrange your portfolio, how to learn what you love, the importance of subject and much much more.

The video is an hour long.

If you want to know if it is relevant for filmmakers, start at the time offset below and then please, please, go back to the beginning and watch the whole thing.

FilmRiot’s 10 Online Resources

Ryan Connolly is one lazy bastard. For the FilmRiot Christmas Day episode, instead of making an amazing tutorial video like he usually does he decided to give us a top 10 list and spend the rest of the time with his family. I’m personally offended.

The good news is that the Top 10 Online Resources list is pretty amazing. Some of these things I knew (eg I’m a member of the Shane Hulbert Insider site) but some I didn’t. All of them are sites you should be visiting often, as most of them contain great tutorials. Of course, you should also be subscribed to the FilmRiot YouTube channel. Ryan is probably one of the most inspiring filmmaking YouTubers out there.

It’s a great video.

Ryan’s list is this:

Kiana Jones SFX:…


Cinematographer Style Documentary:…

Indie Filmmaker: Lighting Tutorial and Samples:…

Video Copilot:


The Art of Color Correction:

SoundWorks Collection:

Hurlbut Visuals:

Virtual Lighting Studio:

Keeping on top of your screenplay’s structure

Over at IndieFilmAcademy website Jason Buff looks to have taken a few minutes away from the golf course to give you some screenwriting tips.

I include this video here not because it is ground breaking or mind blowing, but because it is practical! It is basic advice that we need reminding about. Some of you will watch it and go ‘no, my screenplay is completely unique and wonderful, I don’t need to do this’. If so… I wish you luck. It is going to be a tough sell.

Anyway, enjoy. (And they seem to have lots of other good videos over at this site, so click around!)


Cool SF on no(low) budget? Yes, it’s possible!

Over at they’ve got a tip of the hat to the guys at Hive Division, an indie production house in a tiny town in Northern Italy! Yes, I want to live and work there! 🙂

Anyway, the guys at Hive created this rather awesome 12 minute Sci-Fi short on no/low budget and it looks friggin amazing! It shows that if you know your way around VFX yourself you can get amazing value for money.

On the page is the short film as well as a (all too short!) look at the making of.


Tutorial: Using DigitalJuice Revealers with FCPX

I’m starting up a new series on YouTube of Final Cut Pro X tutorials and DigitalJuice products.

I’ve been a DigitalJuice user/subscriber for years, but, their tutorials for using their products with FCPX are pretty lacking. (read: almost non-existent).

In this first one I take a quick look at using their ‘Revealers’, with compound clips, alpha channels, etc, to create a quick and easy interesting lower third title reveal.

Amazing Masterclass in Guerilla Shooting (on a GH4!)

Sherif Mokbel has shot a great little short film using a Panasonic GH4.

But, perhaps more important to the world of indie filmmakers than his finished project is his incredible generosity in detailing every aspect of this shoot, from planning to post.

This is a one page on-set masterclass. I truly learned a lot about process and technique from this post!

Thank you Sherif!

Oh, and the film looks great.