The Future of the SSFG - From Evan
Hey guys - Evan here.
When I first got my Canon T3i 6 years ago and started my journey with filmmaking I was working a minimum wage job and wasn't going to get anything handed to me. I hustled my way to learn everything I could online, but honestly there wasn't much that was actually good. I was surrounded by thousands of videos on which vlogging camera to buy and how to three-point light a corporate interview, but no one was teaching me how to actually make the things I wanted to make.
I decided to save up and attend industry events so I could meet the people who made things I like, and hopefully learn from them. Eleven months after I got that t3i I was at Masters in Motion in Austin TX and it changed my whole outlook on what was possible. I didn't know what a DP was, I didn't know how contracts work... but I felt like it was possible to learn how to do this.
Fast forward a couple years, lots of my own projects, and lots of my own learning had happened. I had realized that spending $2000 for a few days with industry vets at MiM was worth it for the ability to make $1000+/day with the knowledge I was gaining. I started meeting other people who wanted to do what I did, but who didn't know where to go - not everyone has the capital to drop $2000 on training - so I started a small personal Facebook group called "Evan's Film Community" hoping to share some of what I had learned so far.
Honestly that group stayed small - like 50 people small - and wasn't super active. I was still working, and ended up deciding to play with Youtube, and somehow got myself on Matt Workman's podcast, where he fatefully coined the term "Super Secret Film Group". After that week we were off to the races. I went from having 50 high school kids wanting to learn more to literally thousands of filmmakers descending upon this Facebook group.
Next thing we knew hundreds of jobs were being booked through the group, we were saving people tens of thousands of dollars on gear through group buys, and people around the world were having mini-meetups to connect with other filmmakers they met in the group - we had started a movement of people who wanted content and community for real filmmakers.
I kept making youtube videos, and started a podcast - all in an attempt to create the content I was craving for - and it kept growing. People around the world started listening to the podcast, we got guests like Greig Fraser and Bradford Young, and I was getting burnt out - spending 20-40 hours a week on a job I was making no money on, while trying to maintain my film career.
I took a few months off of Youtube and sorta let the podcast fizzle out while I took a break to focus on my family, my health, and my personal career. It was a great break, and I came to a clear conclusion. Either the SSFG was going to be a thing - with a team, consistent content, funding, etc - or I was going to have to stop it. When it's just me content is spotty, meet ups don't happen, podcasts are inconsistent, and I have constant stress about it.
So this is the vision:
I want to make the best home for working and up-and-coming filmmakers on the internet.
I want to produce content that doesn't exist right now. I want us to teach people about lighting cycs, Working with Technocranes, writing treatments, producing 7 figure commercials, lighting cars, and a whole slew of other important skills.
I want us to do regular meet ups in NYC and LA, as well as other smaller cities in the US.
I want us to regularly procure gear discounts from the manufacturers we all love.
I want this blog to allow you to share your BTS and knowledge with the world without having to run and promote your own website, and I want tens of thousands of people to see your work.
I want us to build thriving local film communities in smaller markets around the world, as well as connecting us on a national level through google hangouts and bigger meet ups.
I want to help everyone book more jobs, and better jobs (hopefully doubling their rates as well ha).
I want us to help YOU create behind the scenes content and becomes mentors to filmmakers in your area, as well as providing you with opportunities to demo gear, give manufacturers feedback, and more.
I want the podcast to come out weekly, and I want to showcase Hollywood level talent as well as talking to our community members about the work they do.
I want us to be able to provide people with an effective film education without taking on thousands of dollars in debt, and I want to connect them to work as quickly as possible.
I want other people to love their job as much as I do. I feel incredibly blessed to get to make a living working on creative projects with talented people, and I think more people should be equipped to do that.
I want to do a lot of things, and I need your help.
The long story short is this: I think a lot of us want to learn how to be really good filmmakers, and not many people are making that happen. They're selling us tech specs, they're teaching us to shoot wedding videos... but it's mostly lowest common denominator content, or it's un-relatable million dollar budget projects. I want to fill that gap in the middle.
Patreon is our initial way of generating funding to make some of these things start to happen. If you're interested in this vision please consider financially supporting us - even a $1 pledge helps.
This isn't about making money for me. Obviously if it takes a ton of my time I need to pay my bills, but I'd rather it help more people more effectively, require less of my time and energy (because we have a team), and just not cost me out of pocket haha. If we can crank out a masterclass level video a month by all pitching in and I don't see a dollar of it, I'm ok with that - but it does have to be sustainable. Everyone working as volunteers all the time doesn't breed good work, and if 30% of the FB group pitches in $20/mo we have $20,000/mo to spend on creating kick-ass content and events for you guys... Plus it's cheaper than going to NAB or MiM ;)
This also isn't about me building my brand. I don't want to be Phillip Bloom or MKBHD or anything like that. Over time our content will shift to 90% other filmmakers, and I'll just share the things I'm super passionate about.
If you aren't interested in financially supporting but are interested in helping with the blog, video content, podcast, design, in-person meet ups, etc please reach out, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 6 months we may have made some of the best film education content in the world, or we may have dropped the whole thing to focus on ourselves - but the deciding factor will be how much you guys are interested in this and willing to support it. I promise we'll continue to provide value to any of our supporters, whether that's free merch, free bonus content, google hangouts... There's a lot of stuff in the pipeline for the people on this Patreon.
Oh and you can win a bunch of free stuff this month - details below.
Thanks for reading - I love you all.