#Aspiring2ActWriteDirect Series – Aspiring Mobile Filmmaker Guide Part I: Learn How to Make Professional Quality Films With A Smartphone or Tablet Computer

The TomCruise.com team wants to help you make your Hollywood dreams come true!  Whether you are an aspiring actor, director and filmmaker, film editor, producer, screenwriter, stuntman or visual effects artist, we have complied guides for several of the most in-demand professions in the movie and television industry.  For all of our guides, we researched and gathered the most useful information, tools and resources we could find to give you a head start on your path to success. This time, we are pleased to announce our Aspiring Mobile Filmmaker Guide as the newest edition to our ongoing series!

Do you aspire to be the next Spielberg or Scorsese but don’t have deep pockets to finance your film project? Never fear! With the right software, hardware and, of course, a camera, you can nurture your inner filmmaker. What’s that? You don’t have access to expensive film and editing equipment? That’s okay, with all of the advances in modern technology, and with the some relatively inexpensive equipment, you can create a professional quality video with your smartphone or tablet computer.

Anna Elizabeth James and Michael Koerbel, graduate students at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, created the first mobile film series shot on an iPhone 4 and iPod Touch. To see the amazing camerawork captured by the filmmakers, watch the first episode of their mobile series, Goldilocks.

 

 

Wondering how they did that? For an insider’s glimpse into making movies and videos with a smartphone, check out the Behind the Scenes Making of Goldilocks – Episode 1

 

Ready to find out more about how to make your own films and videos with a smartphone or tablet?

Part 1 of the Aspiring Mobile Filmmakers Guide includes:

As always, the TomCruise.com team welcomes your comments, feedback and suggestions. If you have experience in this field and can direct us to any additional information or resources, we’d love to hear it so we can add them to our next update. Please use the hashtag #aspiring2actwritedirect in all your social media responses about these guides.

As we’ve seen from the work of the filmmaking trailblazers, Anna Elizabeth and Micheal, even starving students can make cutting edge films with very little equipment if you have enough drive and creativity. During an interview with Notebooks.com, the producing partners and co-founders of Majek Pictures offered the following advice for creating your own mobile movie:

  • Hold the camera as steady as possible
  • Unlike a “traditional” camera, remember that you can tap on an area of the screen to focus on that section
  • Use music when you edit your videos to make them even more compelling
  • Capture the moments and shoot often!

The duo also had some advice specifically for aspiring filmmakers, encouraging you to:

  • “Imagine it.
  • Write it.
  • Storyboard it.
  • Go shoot it.
  • You can do it!”

Once you have recorded your video, what do you do with it? Well, depending upon the capabilities of your smartphone or tablet computer, you may need to download an app to upload your video directly to one or more of your social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, or email it directly to your friends and family.

Most people do not live stream their videos or share them without at least some editing. Whether you want to edit out a few pieces to make the video shorter or add the clip as part of a longer video presentation, most editing will occur on a computer. However, once your edits are complete, you can upload your video back onto your smartphone, tablet computer or directly onto a video sharing site, such as YouTube or Facebook.


Video Editing

Beyond downloading video-editing apps for your Android handset, iPhone or tablet computer, you will need access to a fast processor, a large hard drive, and ideally, a big screen monitor to piece together your various movie clips and edit them into a digital film. Although it is possible to edit videos on your smartphone or tablet, it can be a painstaking and time-consuming task and because those devices have a limited amount of memory capacity, we strongly recommend that you export your video clips to your computer on a regular basis. That way you can edit your masterpiece more easily as well as create a much longer video.

Whether you have used an iPhone, Android, tablet computer or another device to shoot your video, you will probably need to edit the raw footage to create your masterpiece. As we mentioned earlier, it is possible to do some editing on a smartphone and even more editing on a tablet computer but it is definitely easier to work on a full size computer. Regardless of the device, video editors follow the same basic steps: import any clips, videos, images, still photos and music you might be using into an editing software program. Most video editing software, such as iMovie, will allow you to manipulate the images into your desired order, dragging and dropping the images into the program’s library. Depending upon the apps and editing software you use, you can trim the videos, crop the images, add voice overs and music as well as incorporate visual effects, such as transitions, fade-outs and graphics. After naming your project and saving the file, you can play the video as a whole or in parts as well as continue to edit your movie until you are satisfied. When you are ready, you can export the entire project file into another format, such as a .flv (Flash video) .avi (audio video interlaced), .wmv (Windows Media Video), .mov (Apple QuickTime) or .mp4 (MPEG-4 Part 14) file. For a breakdown of the various Internet-friendly video file formats, check out this detailed summary on ReelSEO.

If you decide to share your video online, you may need to determine which sharing format would be most effective. While some online sharing sites, such as Vimeo, automatically convert your video file into their preferred format as you upload, other sites leave it up to you. To help you determine the “best” format, consider the size of the file, the resolution (clarity) of the video and if there are any compatibility issues. Not all video sharing sites accept all video file formats but a list of acceptable formats is usually included as part of the upload instructions.

Potential Legal Issues

While the casual videographer may not need to concern themselves with legal issues, such as royalties, licensing agreements, copyright laws and distribution contracts, aspiring mobile filmmakers should familiarize themselves with any laws that may be applicable to their film project.

One of the most common legal issues affecting anyone who publically shares their films or videos is regarding music. While there is no doubt great music can make your film even better, you must have the rights to use it. With a little research, you will be able to discover several websites that sell “royalty free music,” which means you may pay a small, flat fee but you will be able to use the song or music in your videos or digital films. Another alternative is to create and record your own music or, if you have any musical friends, ask them if you can use one of their tunes.

While your friends can be a great resource for original music, story ideas and as actors in your film, it is may be a good idea to secure a signed release by everyone involved in your film project, whether it is for creative material or appearances. Although it might not seem like a big deal at the beginning of the project, if your film turns out well (as we hope it will!) there may come a time when you need to produce the paperwork to prove you hold the rights to use that music and script as well as film those actors. Depending upon the scope and intended purpose of your film, you may want to consider asking an attorney to draw up a boilerplate agreement for your use or you may simply want to look online for example releases. You can also register your script with the Writer’s Guild of America and your original script or movie with the U.S. Copyright Office.

A less common legal concern involves any logos and labels that might appear in your film. The simplest and easiest answer to avoiding any trademark, endorsement or legal issues is to avoid filming any recognizable products, logos, labels or emblems unless you have written approval from the official company. While product placement has become a popular form of advertising, there is usually quite a bit of behind-the-scenes negotiating before any product appears on screen. An overwhelming majority of logos and labels are trademarked, including those appearing on tee shirts, posters, food products, DVD covers, etc. So save yourself the headache and just avoid or cover-up any potentially trademarked items.

 

WHAT DOES A MOBILE FILMMAKER DO?

Typical Skills of Mobile Filmmakers:

Whether you are filming your sister’s bridal shower or a music video for an emerging band, you will need a variety of skills to successfully complete your project. The smaller the production, the more likely you will need to wear many hats both in front of and behind the camera. Norman Hollyn, University of Southern California Professor of Cinematic Arts and Editing Track Head, stresses the importance of collaboration to his students because “there is always someone who is better at something than you are, whether it is writing, editing or directing.” While it is helpful to be familiar and competent with multiple aspects of filmmaking, you don’t want to be “a jack of all trades, master of none.” The most common skills involved in mobile filmmaking are featured here.

  • Acting – From performing in a scripted film project to appearing in an informal shoot, it is always useful to have some basic acting skills, such as speaking clearly and an awareness of camera angles. With the use of tripods and auto-record options, you may end up starring in your own production.
  • Directing – Whether you are asking wedding guests to speak on camera about the happy couple to create a commemorative video or are organizing an action sequence for your movie, unless your film project is truly impromptu and unscripted, chances are you will need to give your “cast” some direction. Even if it is only to let them know where to stand so they remain within the camera frame.
  • Editing – Aside from the actual filming, the majority of your skills and time will be needed to edit your video, turning your raw footage into a masterpiece. With the help of easy-to-use apps as well as advanced editing software, you can tailor your project to your own needs and abilities. As Prof. Hollyn explains, “editing is all about re-editing and it may take 12, 14, 18 cuts before it’s ready.” It is important to be self-analytical and critical during this process and if possible, collaborate with others to gain a fresh perspective.
  • Cinematography – As a mobile filmmaker, one of your most important responsibilities is to use your smartphone or tablet computer camera effectively, including capturing all the action, sound and keeping your main object of interest in focus and in frame. In general, you should plan on recording way more footage than you will actually need, so you will have a variety of shots and clips to work with as you edit your video.
  • Marketing – Once you have completed your video masterpiece, you will probably want to share it with an audience. Big screen studio productions have teams of marketing professionals and publicists to attract an audience but a mobile filmmaker is the epitome of an independent filmmaker. As such, you will have to decide who your target audience is, such as your family, your friends, film professionals, etc., and design your own marketing plan and distribution channels. This may simply involve uploading your digital film to an Internet video channel, such as YouTube or Vimeo, and then providing your friends and family with the direct link. For a wider distribution, you may want to research the most effective “tags” or keywords to incorporate into your video description before posting your video on multiple social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. If your are planning on entering your movie into a film festival or submitting it as part of a college application, you will need to familiarize yourself with the appropriate rules and regulations, particularly if there are restrictions relating to public distribution of your video.

  • Musician/Composing – Although music is not required as part of a video project, an effective use of music will help create a more compelling video as well as enhance the story. In some cases, music completely replaces dialogue, conveying the entire storyline. While it can be a lot of fun to create a video mashup of your favorite movie clips or music videos, as we mentioned earlier, it is important to remember there are copyright laws governing the music industry. The easiest way to prevent infringing or violating any copyright laws is to find and use royalty free music or create and use your own music by using an app like GarageBand. If you are not musically inclined, CreativeCommons offers an array of music under flexible copyright licenses that can be used in videos but be sure to check the specific terms for any song you plan on incorporating into your film.
  • Writing – Whether you are working on a feature film project or immortalizing the special moments of a family gathering, chances are writing will come into play at some point. From scripting a bit of dialogue for your family members to writing a full screenplay, the story you will tell can only benefit from a few well-written words.

How do all these skills come together into a professional digital video? Kyle Brock, a producer and business-to-business associate for Showdown Productions filmed the music video for BJSR’s Play using an iPhone 3GS. After completing the production, Brock summarized his experience for Wired in 2009, “Pros: The camera is very lightweight. It is easy to dump the footage from the iPhone itself to a Macbook. Once it was mounted to our steady-cam rig it was very easy to run and gun for traveling scenes. Cons: The iPhone has a built in auto-exposure feature which can cause difficulties. The battery life for the iPhone isn’t really meant to capture a lot of film exposures, so we were constantly charging it. It’s not as high-quality as a standard camera we would [normally] use for shooting, but we still feel it turned out extremely well for a phone.” Check out the music video for Play and see what you think.

 

 

GLOSSARY OF MOBILE FILMMAKING TERMS

Most industries develop their own verbal shorthand and mobile filmmakers tend to use a combination of geek speak and technical jargon, incorporating terms filmmaking terms with digital media phrases. While many of the terms listed below may be already be familiar to emerging filmmakers, the TomCruise.com team has provided a list with the definitions of some of the most common mobile filmmaking terms.

App (Application)– A shorthand term for an application, commonly used to refer to downloadable programs for iPhones and Apple products but has become common lexicon referring to any downloadable program for any smartphone or tablet computer, such as an Android or iPad.

Clip – A section or portion of a larger video.

Compressors - Software or firmware used to make a video or data file smaller but may also affect the quality of the images.

Editing – The process of adding, rearranging and/or trimming sections of video clips. May also involve creating transitions between clips, adding visual effects, music and/or voice overs.

Encoding – The process of converting digital video into a video file format, such as saving a video project in .mp4 format for Internet distribution.

Layering – Adding or superimposing one or more images or video over the original video.

Transition – Joining two shots or video clips together, the method in which one shot changes to the next shot.

Trim – To remove a section or shorten a video clip or scene.

Post Production All of the audio and video editing, color corrections, visual effects and graphics that occur after the footage has been filmed. The term is commonly used as part of the process of making professional films, videos, commercials and television shows.

Smartphone – A mobile phone with digital voice service, software applications and Internet access as well as text messaging and e-mail service. May also include a camera with video recording, MP3 player and video viewing capabilities.

Stabilizer attachment – Utilizes motion-absorbing technology in between the lens and the camera operator’s body, resulting in smooth image capture during mobile shots. Similar to a Steadicam, which is a standard piece of camera equipment in the film industry.

Tablet Computer– A small computer contained in a single panel, such as an iPad, Android, BlackBerry Playbook, Tablet PC and HP TouchPad. Current tablets feature a touch screen, allowing users to input and manipulate data with their fingers, although compatible external devices, such as keyboards, may also be used.

Video File Format – The specification at the end of a digital computer file that conveys which software program was used to save, compress and store the video. Principal filming or the raw, unedited footage use a format with a higher resolution than the format used to share your video as a smaller file size.

Voice Over – An off-camera voice recording dialogue or commentary over an existing scene or action.

Visual Effects –(Visual F/X or VFX) Processes and techniques used to enhance the storyline of the video or film after live or principal filming is completed, such as computer-generated imagery (CGI), graphics and stop-motion animation.

 

FILM FESTIVALS AND CONTESTS


The 48 Hour Film Project
- The international competition started back in 2001 when Mark Ruppert and his filmmaking partner, Liz Langston, challenged themselves and local filmmakers to make a film in 48 hours. The friendly competition has evolved into an international festival/competition taking place throughout the year in approximately 80 cities on five continents. The mission of the 48 Hour Film Project is to encourage filmmakers and aspiring filmmakers to get out make movies, encouraging creativity and teamwork skills while emphasizing, “doing” instead of “talking.” You and your team will have 48 hours to write, shoot, edit and score your movie using any type of video or film camera. All the rules and information to participate are available on the official website but contestants will generally receive a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre on the Friday night of the event. Those elements will need to be included in your movie and 48 hours later, the film must be complete. Filmmakers who successfully complete the challenge will have their movie shown at a local theater. In addition to gaining valuable hands-on experience, participants will be able to interact will other filmmakers, acquiring valuable contacts and resources.

Amazon Studios Filmmakers Contest – The monthly contest will award a total of $140,000 for the best movie and scripts each month and $1.1 million for the Annual Awards. We believe 21st-century technology creates ways to make and share movies and scripts more easily than ever. Participation is free and you will have the opportunity to share your work, interact with a global community of filmmakers and viewers as well as receive helpful advice and revision suggestions. Awards are not only given to screenwriters and filmmakers but may also include individuals who have contributed to the project in a meaningful way, through revision suggestions. The full details of the contest are available on the official website and in the Development Agreement but remember, successful films involve collaboration and Amazon Studios is searching for projects that have the potential to make a major motion picture. This contest is based on allowing and rewarding different people bringing various viewpoints and skills to help make the story more compelling.



indieFone Film Fest
The newbie film festival is open to anyone who meets the judging criteria and has created a video entirely by filming with any type of smartphone. The video may not exceed 10 minutes and the categories include narrative short film, short documentary and music video. The complete list of rules, submission deadlines, prizes and winners can be found on the official website but one of the most important rules to keep in mind is that the video MUST be an original production created exclusively for this film festival. Therefore, the video you submit cannot be published on any other site, including YouTube, Facebook or Twitter or have exposure through other contests, film festivals or social networks. Contestants are allowed to use any editing or composing software but remember, you will need to include a short (three to five minute) “Behind the Scenes/Making of…” video to prove your video project was shot with a smartphone. Any type of camera can be used to film the “Behind the Scenes” short, including “traditional” cameras.


iPhone Film Festival – Founded in 2010, the film festival dedicated to iPhone users has only a few rules and anyone who meets the basic requirements is welcome to submit their work. Distinguishing itself from traditional film festivals, “all film must be shot 100% with an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPhone 5 or iPad to be eligible for a prize.” You are also allowed to use multiple iPhone and iPod Touch to make your film as well as use any software to edit video and audio, color correction or special effects. If a film’s runtime is less than three minutes, it will be classified as a short film. If a film runs longer than three minutes, it will be categorized as a feature. Film categories include animation, cinematography, comedy, commercial, cooking, documentary, feature film, interview, music video, series and short film. All the rules, deadlines for submissions and more information is available on the official website.

Vimeo Festival & Awards – Although this event is not limited to videos shot by a smartphone or tablet, it is limited to online video submissions. In addition to recognizing outstanding contributions in emerging media, the social media video channel festival and awards show also features speaker presentations, panels, workshops, screenings and special events. There are plenty of learning and networking opportunities for aspiring videographers and filmmakers.

 

BOOKS


Cinematic Storytelling: The 100 Most Powerful Film Conventions Every Filmmaker Must Know
by Jennifer Van Sijill The art of visual storytelling can be a difficult skill to acquire but once you master it, your script will be more compelling and engage your reader more quickly. By knowing how films are shot and edited as well as how to effectively use sound, a writer can create smooth transitions in their screenplay. Written scenes from well-known films, such as Citizen Kane and Fatal Attraction are used to demonstrate how sound and visual transitions are incorporated into the final film. Chapter topics include framing, sound effects, camera motion and lighting, with each chapter featuring specific written scenes and still photo clips. Whether you are making your own films or are writing the screenplay for others to bring to life, this book is a helpful resource for both novice and experienced writers.

Digital Video for Dummiesby Keith Underdahl Although this book was written in 2006, before many of the current technologies were available, it is still a helpful guide to learn the basic elements of making your own digital films. While you may be using a smartphone or tablet computer to create your film rather than a camcorder, topics such as creating your own sounds effects, understanding time codes, adding transitions and special effects as well as adding narration and tips on lighting, panning and recording quality audio are useful skills for any aspiring filmmaker.

The Lean Forward Moment: Create Compelling Stories for Film, TV, and the Web by Norman Hollyn The Professor of Cinematic Arts and the Editing Track Head at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts outlines his Lean Forward Moment Method of storytelling by explaining techniques to create compelling content and engage your audience. Hollyn has worked with renowned Hollywood directors, such as Sidney Lumet and Francis Ford Coppola, and brings his extensive knowledge and experience to breakdown filmmaking into three main areas; preproduction, production and postproduction. Regardless of your area of expertise or skill level, the storytelling techniques can be applied to all aspects of the filmmaking process and media production, including feature films, web-based series and commercials. After describing how the Lean Forward method can be used during multiple steps of the creative process, Hollyn provides real world examples to illustrate the concepts.

 

INDUSTRY TRADES/PUBLICATIONS

In addition to learning about mobile filmmaking, if you aspire to be a professional filmmaker one day, these entertainment industry trades will keep you up-to-date with all the news, events and projects in development.

Back Stage – The comprehensive publication covers film, television and theatre, offering advice, resources and tips for every field in the industry. Available in print and online, the insider’s guide to the entertainment industry also provides a frequently updated casting database is searchable by keywords, such as “grip” or “cameraman” allowing performers to pinpoint specific opportunities in their field of interest.

Motion Picture Editors Guild Magazine – Created for the members of the Motion Picture Editors union, the magazine content is available free to everyone online. The publication offers technology tips, ongoing columns written by industry professionals, news and numerous feature articles. Though the focus is geared toward professional film editors, topics include music editing, filmographies, interviews and profiles, a great way for aspiring filmmakers to familiarize themselves with the industry.

Variety – Available in print or online, the publication covers events, award ceremonies, projects in development, movie reviews and the latest news in film, television and related digital arts. A staple for anyone working in the entertainment industry, the publication has been providing insider information since 1905.

 

COLLEGES/UNIVERSITIES

While there are currently no university degrees in mobile filmmaking and a college degree is not required to pursue a professional career in the craft, aspiring filmmakers can benefit from learning traditional filmmaking skills as well as the opportunity to collaborate with other aspiring filmmakers. Since technology changes so quickly, knowing the basic elements of filmmaking will help you create compelling films, no matter what camera or editing equipment you use.  The TomCruise.com team has provided information and links to several well-known and affordable film schools but this list is by no means, comprehensive. There are many more respected film programs available throughout the world.

American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory offers a two-year conservatory program with advanced training in six disciplines, cinematography, directing, editing, producing, production design and screenwriting as well as a seminar series for emerging filmmakers. Graduates of the program receive an MFA. Members of the program usually have some experience in the field and generally already have an undergraduate degree. In addition to the hands-on training taught by industry professionals for Conservatory Fellows, the competitive program provides the opportunity to create a thesis film with access to Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members for their cast and some financing. AFI also offers a variety of free podcasts to celebrate the art of cinema. Aspiring filmmakers can gain valuable insight as well as a greater appreciation for the craft by listening to podcasts such as “Writer/director/producer John Hughes discusses his first few years making movies” and “Frost/Nixon Discussed with director Ron Howard with Variety editor Tim Gray moderating.” Notable AFI alumni include Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life), David Lynch (Blue Velvet) and Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan).

Full Sail University Featuring a B.S. in Digital Cinematography, students will learn how to create and edit digital videos, including lighting cinematography, scene composition, color theory and creative writing. The last months of the program focus on writing, producing, editing and showing a final video project. The university also offers several related degree programs, including undergraduate degrees in Computer Animation, Music Production and Creative Writing for Entertainment as well as graduate degrees in New Media Journalism, Media Design and Creative Writing MFA, with many of the classes and degree programs online and/or on campus.

New York University Tisch School of the Arts – Maurice Kanbar Institute of Undergraduate Film & Television – The gritty streets of New York are an entirely different environment than the sunny skies of Los Angeles but the opportunity to learn from the best is not limited to Hollywood. From limited class sizes to the chance to vie for a $200,000 prize to complete a debut feature film, the NYU school offers a whole new world to aspiring filmmakers on both the undergraduate and graduate level. For those interested in studying abroad, the Tisch School of the Arts Asia in Singapore offers MFA degrees in animation and digital arts, dramatic writing and film production. Notable alumni include Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men) and Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich).

University of California Los Angeles School of Theater, Film and Television The multicultural campus has a different vibe and culture than its nearby rival, USC. Considered to be one of the best universities in California, the program has benefited from distinguished alumni like Francis Ford Coppola as well as from respected instructors and its connection with the renowned UCLA Film & Television Archive, whose collection is one of the largest in the world. With an increasing emphasis on storytelling and global diversity, the program offers a departure from the commercial aspects of the art focused on by many other film schools. Notable alumni include Tim Robbins (Dead Man Walking) and Alexander Payne (Sideways).

University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts Located in Los Angeles, the USC School of Cinematic Arts strives to develop and inspire emerging film, television and interactive media students to become leaders in their field through programs in Critical Studies, John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts, Interactive Media, Film & Television Production, Peter Stark Producing Program and Writing. Students are exposed to all facets of film, television and interactive media production and are encouraged to take range of cross-disciplinary classes, regardless of their chosen area of specialization. Notable alumni include Brian Grazer (24, A Beautiful Mind), Judd Apatow (The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up), John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape from New York), Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon), George Lucas (Star Wars, American Graffiti), Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice) and Kevin Bachus (Creator of X-Box).

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS/UNIONS

Professional filmmakers may be eligible to join one or more of the entertainment industry labor unions but membership is not open to amateurs. Although you may not be eligible for membership right now, it is always helpful to be familiar with as many resources as possible. Professional organizations not only provide an insider’s glimpse into the entertainment world but also may offer networking events and opportunities open to both amateurs and professionals, allowing you to make valuable contacts within the industry. If you decide to pursue a career as a professional filmmaker, you may eventually join one of these organizations to receive assistance negotiating employment contracts, attain health benefits and ensure safe working conditions.

 

LABOR UNIONS

Motion Picture Editors Guild -The bi-coastal labor union covers post-production professionals throughout the United States. With offices in New York and Los Angeles, the best method to determining if you are eligible to join would be to contact the office closest to your place of employment since there are different contractual agreements that apply to different regions of the U.S. Although you may not be ready to join yet, the Guild is a great resource for industry news and events, including their magazine, as we mentioned earlier.

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)

Commonly known as AFTRA, the national labor union represents performers, journalists and artists working specifically in television and radio, including related digital programming. Membership is open to performers, recording artists and broadcasters working in any one of AFTRA’s jurisdictions, including non-broadcast video, audio books and messaging as well as emerging technologies such as interactive games and Internet material. Working in concert with the Screen Actors Guild, the labor union establishes the industry standards for compensation, working conditions and benefits while representing the interests of its members.

Screen Actors Guild (SAG) – Founded in 1933, the labor union represents the interests of film performers and works with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), to serve and protects its members by establishing the industry standards for working conditions, compensation and employment benefits for its members. To qualify for SAG membership, a performer must work on a SAG film in a principle (speaking) role, meet background entry requirements or fulfill the necessary requirements for ‘Taft Hartley’ status, which are detailed on the SAG website. In addition to workshops, resources and SAG is known for its an annual awards ceremony.


As we have discussed, you do not need a lot of money or education to become a mobile filmmaker but you do need to know how to engage your audience. Take a few online tutorials, sign up for a class at your local community college or intern at a cable station are all options to help develop your skills. If you aspire to be a professional filmmaker, try to find a mentor, develop relationships with other filmmakers and learn how to skillfully tell a story through film. You’ll be on your way in no time!

In the Part 2 of the Aspiring Mobile Filmmakers Guide we will cover:

  • Blogs about mobile filmmaking, film editing and the entertainment industry, including insider information about the evolving technology and tools available to mobile filmmakers
  • Professional training programs to help you master your mobile filmmaking skills
  • Equipment and useful mobile filmmaking apps for your smartphone or tablet computer

The TomCruise.com would like to extend a special thank you to Professor Norman Hollyn for sharing his knowledge, advice and suggestions with us!

Do you have experience as a mobile filmmaker or in a related field? If you do, the TomCruise.com team would love to hear from you! Please share your suggestions and advice in the comments section below or use the hashtag #aspiring2actwritedirect in your social media response. We might even add your contribution to the post!

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