J. W. Turner on Instagram's Burgeoning Film Community

J. W. Turner on Instagram's Burgeoning Film Community

Instagram's Film Community Inspires a New Generation of Filmmakers

Film is considered by many to be the greatest art form because it includes nearly every art form there is: writing, makeup, acting, costuming, editing, music and sound effects, set design, and, of course, photography. Photography is an art form that film unforgivingly requires the filmmaker to master. Stanley Kubrick, perhaps one of the greatest film directors of all time, began his historic career not as a filmmaker, but as a photographer. Recognizing photography as a foundational aspect of film, amateur and veteran filmmakers alike are utilizing Instagram, a photography-driven platform, to expand their knowledge base of film to a wider audience. These accounts are inspiring a new generation of filmmakers to grab their cameras and start shooting.

Several accounts have led the charge towards developing a thriving filmmaking community in Instagram. LA-based filmmaker Darren Miller (@darrenmillerfilms) has been creating gorgeous photos for Instagram since 2012, early on in the app’s creation. Today he has over 100k followers on his largely film tech and scenery-driven channel. Just a quick glance through his page shows stunning photographs of both gorgeous, wide open scenery and the technology he uses to capture it. Cameras made by RED and Arri are common topics among avid filmmakers like Darren Miller. On his channel, he’s able to post about his opinions regarding the latest in film technology. He then posts photos of his work using that very technology. This way his followers are able to gauge the quality of the tech he works with regularly. In an industry such as film, a basic knowledge of the power of different tech and the price to acquire that power is a must. Not knowing how to budget a film creates many problems and ultimately, a film’s demise before it ever sees the light of day. Beyond that, his channel is inspiring filmmakers abroad to recreate the same imagery he has cultivated on his channel. 

Next up is the legend among DSLR owners, Philip Bloom (@philipbloom). Bloom, a 26-year film veteran and cameraman for the CNN show “The Wonder List with Bill Weir,” gained additional notoriety in his work by being a huge proponent of DSLR cameras for filmmaking purposes. When Instagram showed up in 2010, he saw its potential to share his knowledge and, over time, has gained a massive following (current count 144k). Since joining, he has amassed over four thousand pictures to appease his audience. This enormous stockpile focuses on topics related largely to the latest in filmmaking technology, such as cameras, lenses, drones, land rovers, editing software and Luts (for color grading). He regularly gives his own advice and tips on small time tech like DSLR cameras, which is a sharp contrast to that of Darren Miller who posts more about the big rigs. Followers can thus gain a broader understanding of the technology available from a smaller perspective - a huge benefit to amateur, young, or financially struggling, filmmakers.

Instagram provides a cache of other benefits for the novice filmmaker, including  networking, problem-solving, sharing ideas, building a fanbase, getting noticed, and generating income. Short film creators such as Bertie Gilbert (@bertieegilbert) or (myself) J. W. Turner AKA Joemama (@jwakajoma) have turned to Instagram to both share filmmaking experiences and gain followers interested in our craft. A dedicated follower base provides an already targeted and engaged audience with whom the filmmaker can engage directly.

Additionally, an effective Instagram account can help a beginner filmmaker get noticed in a saturated market. However, the key word is “effective”. Instagram’s greatest feature (that of getting noticed in a bloated environment) can also work against itself (cause those in search of being noticed to be lost in the flood of others desiring the same attention). This unique challenge forces serious filmmakers to drive their presence into the Instagram community by developing their unique identity sooner in their careers and posting compelling content regularly.
Finally, in an industry where finding work with good pay is often feast or famine in nature, Instagram provides another tool with which to generate income. Exceptional content gets noticed and can result in sponsorships and requests for equipment brands to be featured in worthy accounts. And although Instagram does not offer a proprietary income-generating method within its official structure, the platform can be used to direct followers to other social media platforms where money can be made. Marina Bruno (@marinabrunofilms) has employed this practice quite successfully by driving her Instagram followers towards her own YouTube account, where she generates income to remain viable in the industry. 

All geared up! #MarinasLiveFilmmaking • COMING SOON 💪🏼⛓ (YT link in bio)

A photo posted by Marina Bruno (@marinabrunofilms) on

Lastly, curator accounts are a unique Instagram genre that gives recognition and exposure to smaller content creators by reposting content onto niche aggregation accounts. There are several of these accounts dedicated to growing the film community within Instagram. These accounts include @filmschool, @myvideobag, @filmmakercentral, @film.rev, @filmsetlive, and more. By reposting daily pics of filmmakers from all over the world, one can really start to feel a film community thriving on the platform. 

He doesn't look like someone you'd wanna mess with. 😂 #filmsetlive ・・・ Follow @edgedigimedia for more!

A photo posted by F i l m S e t L i v e 🎥📷🎬 (@filmsetlive) on

How long do you think you'll be able to hold this gimbal for? 😅Courtesy of @wildrabbitaerial

A photo posted by Film School (@filmschool) on

These Instagram accounts are inspiring today’s novice filmmakers. How far a filmmaker goes is based on a combination of their knowledge, experience, passion, and determination. These channels are providing the tools needed to acquire that combination, and in doing so, are empowering a new generation of filmmakers who will shape the future of the film industry forever.

Big thanks to J. W. Turner for this article. Find him at @filmsetlive and @jwakajoma.

Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence

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