“Discouraged” is a feeling familiar to those who had ambitions towards a career in film. A lack of opportunities and an emphasis on connections means that most people have to get extremely lucky to get their foot in the door. In the rare event that an opportunity is presented and a door is opened, the first hint of a mistake can slam that door shut.
This high-stakes career path towards the film industry should not deter those who love writing for the screen, putting together productions, or telling incredible stories from behind the camera.
Lucrative opportunities still exist for talented filmmakers. To find them, they must look away from the make-or-break culture of studio film production and towards a different, growing, all-digital field: video marketing.
Now we know what you are thinking: “I don’t want to sell my soul!” Rest assured that you can keep it right where it belongs while still advancing your opportunities and forging those all-important connections that branch out your career path.
To emphasize just how fulfilling a video marketing career can be, consider these four perks, courtesy of the Vancouver corporate video production company Tetra Films.
1. Video Marketing Can Still Be Art
The reason most people roll their eyes at the idea of marketing-driven content is that they hate seeing corny ad pitches. Big companies know this now! An authentic perspective and a compelling story are rapidly becoming more important than putting a product on a pedestal.
“You can’t fake it anymore, or else your audience will eat you alive,” says Tetra Film’s Brice Kelly. He explains that with online video, people have trillions of alternatives over what amounts to a shallow ad. “To get people’s attention, you have to promise to touch them emotionally, or else they won’t click.”.
This drive to weave a compelling story forces Kelly and Tetra Films co-owner Willy Lavendel to get intensely creative. They have to work closely with their clients to suss out goals and then decide how that can translate to an interesting, memorable video. The results must be powerful, concentrated and focused, like this 30 second ad for the Air Canada Foundation charity.
Content like this illustrates why vision still matters in video marketing, enabling filmmakers to challenge themselves and hone their creative chops.
2. Growth and Opportunities Abound
Part of the reason that the film industry is so fiercely competitive lies in saturation — everyone wants to be doing it, so only the most skilled or best-connected get a chance.
On the other side of the coin, video marketing talent is hard to come by. Companies and nonprofit organizations are scrambling to find people to help take on their projects. Kelly says that this high demand means that one job can often lead to another.
“One of our first big breaks was when the Air Canada Foundation came to us after we had done work with the BCSS (British Columbia Schizophrenia Society). After that, we were able to get contracts with Air Canada itself as well as the YVR Airport.”
According to projections from Hubspot, 65 percent of marketers increased their video budgets in 2016 and spent more than $5.4 billion on ads. As more and more companies expand their use of video, this domino effect of expanding opportunities will be the norm and not the exception. Filmmakers who get in on the ground floor therefore have nowhere to go but up.
3. Video Marketing Can Still Be Rewarding
The need for nonprofit or “DoGooder” video marketing strikes the biggest blow to the “sell your soul to advertising” narrative. Kelly points out the animated video for BCSS, which required collaboration with dozens of artists, sound designers and more along with the creative guidance of himself and Lavendel.
“I was a bit stunned when we saw the final product. Working on something closely for a long time makes it easy to self-doubt, but I knew upon seeing it for the first time that our animation was not only beautiful, but that it could actually help change people’s lives.”
Lavendel likewise points out that working with other talented people in the film industry can be quite fulfilling for someone who is passionate about craft.
“You work with these people and sometimes you just find yourself shutting up and watching because what they are doing is so amazing.”
4. You Get to Wear Many Hats
Those who pursue video marketing careers also do not have to worry about feeling pigeonholed into one role, as so often happens in the film industry proper. Instead, your role can evolve as the company you work with grows and starts taking on new types of projects.
For instance, Kelly, and especially Lavendel, spent a lot of their time behind the camera when they first started out, but now they get the chance to break away from shooting and try new things. Lavendel can now direct from a creative standpoint and work with a variety of other visionaries to strive towards a common goal. Kelly similarly helps his clients’ projects take shape, transforming a rough idea into the outline of a finished product.
“I was surprised at how rewarding consulting felt at first,” reveals Kelly. “Even though I’m not necessarily taking a direct hand in filming, what comes out is a product of my imagination and my ability to translate our client’s goals into something you can sit and watch online.”
Consulting has also helped change the culture of many clients that Tetra Films works with. They can go from “almost completely visually illiterate,” in the words of Lavendel to being able to think in four dimensions about how their message can come to life.
As upstart video marketing filmmaker’s careers mature, they will also find themselves in the position of helping others think more like a director instead of a company head. And, as Kelly says, “teaching others to embrace film is really what being a filmmaker is all about.”
5. Get Your Start in a Video Marketing Career
You can gain experience to start your own video marketing career by making a portfolio of amateur short films or commercials and then using it to apply to an entry-level position.
You can also try to start your own production company by finding clients, especially nonprofits, in your local community.
Pretty soon, you could find yourself rapidly moving towards bigger, more amazing things!