Top ten websites and forums for indie filmmakers
The internet is so ingrained into our culture, it’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t have access to a world of knowledge with the tap of a phone screen. The internet is an incredibly useful tool for indie filmmakers with little to no budget, as you need all the help you can get.
There are dozens of helpful sites where you can log on, become part of an online filmmaking community, find out how to improve your production, stay up to date with industry trends, and find out about the best products, apps, and services. If you’re not sure where to start or are just looking to add to your bookmarked list, here are the top ten websites that serve as excellent resources for indie filmmakers.
An absolute staple is No Film School, a site for DIY filmmakers and indie creatives run by director Ryan Koo. The site is an online community portal for creatives where visitors can learn all about filmmaking, listen to topical podcasts, find all kinds of education content, and connect with other videomakers.
Don’t be put off by the name – Shooting People is a network for filmmakers to connect with each other by using blogs, databases, newsletters, and podcasts. Members of the site are well worth a chat with, some of whom have had their work screened at Sundance and Cannes or been nominated for Golden Globes and Oscars. There are also handy resources for members such as a Funding Directory as well as opportunities in competitions and training.
Screen Anarchy – previously known as Twitch Film or Twitch – is a Canadian site compiling everything you need to know about international, independent, and cult indie films. Those who register receive news and reviews as well as access to various filmmaker forums and the opportunity to post articles.
Philip Bloom is a prolific and successful short, documentary, and advert filmmaker who for the past 10 years of his 27-year career has specialized in creating incredible cinematic images no matter what the camera, often using DLSRs to achieve that film aesthetic.
His website is unique in that you have free access to a wide range of his work, which if nothing else, serves as a source of inspiration from a filmmaker who is constantly stretching his creative abilities and experimenting with new technology. For those looking to swot up on the technical side of things, his vlogs offer snippets into everything from drone camera reviews to how to clean a teenie-tiny camera sensor. Handy!
Film Riot is a video tutorial site from the hyperactive mind of host and filmmaker Ryan Connolly, who covers all kinds of topics from how to use CGI, to how to make a film noir, to how to make DIY lens filters. The handy tips are a breath of fresh air from the usual tutorials found online as Connolly keeps it light and entertaining, so you won’t be bored off your socks while you’re researching how best to light cars at night time or whatever else it is you’re looking to learn about.
If you’re a writer or even interested in the art of screenwriting, John August’s website is a great resource, particularly for its access to the podcast August makes with writer Craig Mazin. With new episodes released every Tuesday, the podcast (entitled Scriptnotes) covers all the topics screenwriters never talk about like “Where to find an agent?,” “What’s the difference between a revision and a polish?,” and “What to wear to meetings?” It’s pretty technical, but if you’re into that kinda thing, you’ll love it!
IndieTalk is an essential filmmaking community in which filmmakers share and exchange ideas in a forum. If you’re looking for solutions or to share any great ideas you’ve had, you can visit the site and get chatting with like-minded folk in one of the forum’s categories such as Cameras & Lenses, Screenwriting, Cinematography and Lighting, and Post Production. As Raindance pointed out, “The members on the forum typically offer advice on how to get around problems in filmmaking while not doing damage to your wallet.” Get in!
At the center of the website is its coverage on film, TV, digital news, reviews, and interviews for passionate film fans and industry insiders. IndieWire also offers handy guides from its Filmmaker Toolkit section, covering anything from tips on how to crowdfund to organizations offering funding.
Filmmaker IQ is an online film school complete with courses, labs, movie analysis, and daily quizzes to its visitors. It’s a unique layout, set up as if you were signing in to an online schooling server, giving you the opportunity to search through and study its various resources put together by a group of experienced filmmakers.
Filmmaker Forum does what it says on the can – a place to discuss films, review films, and communicate about filmmaking. The forum covers all kinds of subjects for you to find advice, from financing, to distribution, to composition, to film festivals – it’s all there!