No matter who you are, where you live, how much filmmaking experience you have, or how good of a writer you are, we want you to share your story with our audience.
This is all based on the idea that every time you make a new film or work on a project, you learn something. You grow as a filmmaker and an artist.
It's our goal to enable you to share those lessons and those personal insights with a community of filmmakers who are looking to improve their craft. In doing this, you're also able to promote your work and build an audience.
So if you're interested in guest writing for this site, we've included our submission guidelines and editorial processes on this page. Make sure to read them carefully.
Also, here are some past submissions, just in case you need some inspiration.
The Benefits of Submitting a Filmmaker Story
First, it’s an organic way for you to promote your films and yourself as a filmmaker.
With so many people making films these days, it’s harder than ever to stand out. However, when you share your work and provide value by telling people how you accomplished what you did, you not only build an audience, but you build trust and good will with that audience. That good will goes a long way when it comes time to start sharing and selling your films.
Second, it gives back to the community and helps a future generation of filmmakers.
This one is pretty self explanatory. Providing useful, insightful content is the best way to ensure that the next generation of filmmakers succeeds. This, of course, builds up your filmmaking karma. Then in your next life, you’ll be reincarnated as something cool, like a bald eagle or a tiger. However, if you don’t share, you risk getting reincarnated as a duck-billed platypus. Sorry.
Third, it’s extremely helpful to reflect back on your work.
The process of sitting down, collecting your thoughts about what you’ve accomplished (or want to accomplish), then translating those thoughts into a cohesive, organized article can really help you grow as a filmmaker. For me personally, putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) has helped me better think through various problems and solidify ideas for films.
How to Submit
We've tried to make it so that the process for submitting a Filmmaker Story is simple and flexible, although we do have a few guidelines in place to maintain the quality of each post and to ensure that submissions fit within our editorial process.
You’ll find some bullet-points below to help give you some direction on topics to cover, if you need it, but please remember to make your submission a fluid, cohesive narrative.
If you send us the bulleted list below with a sentence written under each like it’s a high school exam, we’re going to send it back and ask you to make it look like the rest of the content on our site. If you’re not sure how to do that, read a few of our articles, then take a look at our handy style guide, located under the “How should I write it?” section below.
The submission process
In order to submit, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Filmmaker Story.” Robert Hardy monitors this inbox. Say hi to him, and briefly introduce yourself.
Then you can include your article in the body of the email, or as a PDF, .docx, or plain text file. Whatever works best for you.
Include any BTS photos, videos, storyboards, screenshots, or supplementary visual content that we can include in the post. These can be attached to the email, or sent through Dropbox or Google Drive. Please include something visual with your submission. Otherwise, we'll find silly stock photos to include with your post, and nobody wants that.
Lastly, make a list of links that you wanted included in your article. This could mean links to your website, your film's website, your social media accounts, or a crowdfunding campaign.
What Should You Write About?
In terms of writing a story, we have a few questions and prompts below to help you decide what to write.
- What film or project are you talking about? Give us a brief synopsis. If it’s online already, or if you have a trailer, send a link so we can embed it.
- Why is this project important to you? Tell us why you felt compelled to tell this particular story.
- If the film isn’t finished, tell us where you are in the process (writing, pre-pro, production, post, etc), and how it’s going. What obstacles are you facing, and how do you plan to overcome them?
- If it is finished, give us an overview of your entire process from start to finish, telling us what you learned along the way.
- If you don’t want to share the entire process, you can also focus in on one particular aspect of your experience. Tell us how you went about writing the script, finding locations and crew, how you shot or edited. If you want, you can submit multiple Filmmaker Stories, each detailing a different piece of the process for the same film.
- What’s the biggest lesson (or multiple lessons) you’ve learned so far while working on this film?
- Openly share your failures from this project. Honesty, transparency, and vulnerability usually make for the best stories. So what could you have done better?
- A note about gear: We don’t really care what gear you used for a project. Instead we want to know how and why you did something. If that includes brief mentions of your gear, that’s more than alright. However, we are not looking for overtly technical posts about cameras or workflow. The Filmmaker's Process is about the art and process of filmmaking, not the tools.
There's one more important thing that you have to keep in mind while writing. The goal of these submissions is to give back to the filmmaking community by writing something with legitimate educational value.
Being able to promote your own project is part of what you get out of submitting a story, but if we don’t feel like your post has a concrete point beyond shameless self-promotion, we’re going to email you back and ask for more details.
How Should You Write It?
We strive for a relatively consistent writing style here at Filmmaker's Process. That said, it's not about fancy prose or flashy writing style. More than anything else, we try our damnedest to make our stories as readable, engaging, and friendly as possible.
As contributors, we expect the same from you.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be a world-class writer, or even a good writer. It does mean, however, that you need to think carefully about what you want to convey, and then communicate it clearly.
Luckily, we’ve put together a helpful style guide that will make that much easier.
What to Expect After You Submit
After you’ve submitted your Filmmaker Story to us, Robert will respond to you as soon as he can to let you know that we received your email. He checks the submissions inbox a few times a week, but please be patient if you don’t hear back right away.
As for when your story will be published, here are the informal rules we use to decide the order:
We don't publish on a "first-come, first-serve" basis
There are a couple of factors that will determine when your post will be published. Some of them are in your control, and some aren't.
Don’t take it personally. We can’t stress enough that it has nothing to do with you. We’re a small operation, and because of that, we have to make strategic decisions about what gets published first.
- First off, we focus on getting submissions with crowdfunding involved out first because of the time limits involved with raising funds.
- Usefulness is also a major priority. If someone submits the most mind-blowingly helpful post on lighting or indie distribution that we’ve ever seen, that’s going to get pushed to the front of the line.
- We also tend to prioritize posts that are clearly-written and already formatted in our preferred style. If it's going to take a significant amount of work to get your post in line with our quality standards, there's a good chance it will get pushed to the end of the line.
- Lastly, we will usually give preference to the people who have already been published here.
We know you’re excited to see your hard work on the site, and we’re excited about helping you get it there, but we ask that you hang tight with us while we work through getting your submission ready for publication.
A note on editing
We reserve the right to edit submissions for both style and clarity. We won’t add things that you didn’t say or impede on your voice. This column is about you sharing your experience, so we want it to be reflective of you as a person.
But we will correct spelling and grammatical mistakes, as well as format the post to meet our style guidelines. More often than not, this means that we’ll break up longer paragraphs into much shorter ones, bold important points, and add subheadings.
Also, if there's something important that you said that isn't as clear as it could be, we'll probably go in and make sure the point is communicated as clearly as can be.
A note on rejections
Lastly, we may completely turn down a submission if it clearly doesn't meet the expectations laid out here. With that said, most of the time when something doesn't quite fit, we will work with that person to shape it into something better suited for publication on this site. We really do want a diversity of opinions and experiences to appear here.
However, sometimes it's just not meant to be, and if we feel that's the case, we'll tell you in as nice of a fashion as we know how.
That's our editorial process in a nutshell. We know it seems a bit complex and rigid, but that's the best way we've figured for maintaining quality despite the open submission process.
We're trying our hardest to strike a balance between having an open, democratic process that everyone can participate in, and the highest quality filmmaking website on the web. We may not have found the perfect combination yet, but we're working on it.
If you ever have any questions about any of this, feel free to send an email to email@example.com. We'll get back to you as quickly as we can.
Thanks for your interest in contributing to Filmmaker's Process, and happy writing!