Three experienced film producers from different animal organizations – Shannon Keith, Nathan Runkle, and Kim Sheridan – shared their experiences and recommendations at FARM’s 2011 Animal Rights Conference. The three had some similar recommendations and some opposing views. To my view, the three represented a range of film-making from the gifted amateur to the seasoned pro. My notes:
Kim Sheridan of HealthForce Nutritionals:
- Eighty percent of books that people buy do not get read. Film, however, gets watched.
There are three broad steps to making a film:
- determine what to produce
- create the script (consider using Keltex.com software if writing it yourself)
- footage! Produce it yourself or obtain from others. Use any kind of camera, even the small point-and-shoot kind.
- music: produce it yourself or find royalty-free stock music. Garage band on the Mac is a good program for producing it yourself.
- still photos: stock photos or use images from animal organizations that permit this use (most do).
- editing: can use small programs like imovie.
It isn’t necessary to have expensive equipment or salaried workers. You can do it yourself.
Airing the film:
- Youtube of course
- Public access channels
- Film festivals – check withoutabox.com
Confidence is important. Meet deadlines for submission.
The Message: follow your heart and your film will be better for it.
Shannon Keith of Uncaged Films
Films get through to people.
Animal Entertainment Terrorism Act -
Sometimes the illegal approach works.
Generally, about film:
- Script – useful to have one, including for a documentary.
- Distribution of film: festivals
- use of public relations team really valuable
- Use good equipment
Nathan Runkle of Mercy for Animals
Been involved in all kinds of films.
Video is powerful.
Lights, camera, action:
- Use top equipment from the start. You never know when your film may be picked up and the base footage should be of good quality.
- Lighting kits are available and are especially useful. Without one you may have nothing but useless footage.
- Camera: get a decent one and learn how to use it. Need to be able to work in all kinds of lighting and sound situations.
- 10-second rule: film at least ten seconds of everything you film.
- Music: try royaltyfreemusic.com
Making a viral video:
Don’t try for a feature-length film.
Success on facebook or youtube:
evoke emotions, keep short – of the top ten videos on youtube none are over five minutes, most are between two and five minutes.
Make it easy to share – include a facebook share link.
Give the story to the Associated Press when appropriate.
Described MFA’s Farm to Fridge cross-country tour and the new pay-per-view technique.