First off, if your name is either Freddie Wong or Brandon Laastch, it would be a wise idea to get in touch with these guys below. Seriously.
For everyone else, this is a story of how today’s filmmakers are drafting up their own playbooks of how to get a film career started. This is the age of the online filmmaker, a time when the medium has firmly shed its tertiary status behind the festivals and studio routes—and is ground zero for exposure to worldwide audiences. This is especially true for the internet-native generation that now fills top film schools, who grew up hooked on now six years of YouTube and Vimeo creators experimenting and improving on the art of low-cost entertainment.
David Bolen is still in film school, and a pretty respectable one at that. He won’t graduate from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts until 2013, but he and his friend Arnold Aldridge aren’t waiting around hoping their internship hookups pan out. Instead they are taking a cue from another filmmaking duo, Freddie and Brandon, who turned an obsessive passion for After Effects and high-energy fight scenes into one of the world’s most popular online channels and a heavy dose of mainstream attention.
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The idea came, as Bolen tells us, to shoot a pitch video showing off their VFX and editing skills, posting it on their budding EverythingFilm channel on YouTube.
“Arnold and I were on a large film shoot,” Bolen told us, “and we had some time to kill in between call times. We decided to hit up a park and film the video as we had recently heard about freddiew’s new feature idea. We shot the video in about 2 hours, with arnold and I doing all the camera work, using Arnold’s hacked t2i and my 7D, with some retro Nikon prime lenses.”
While as of this writing, the video has just over 6,000 views and 144 comments, Bolen still hasn’t heard that FreddieW has watched it yet. But they remain optimistic.
“Freddie and Brandon have always been a huge inspiration to Arnold and I,” added Bolen. “They didn’t want to have to work their way up unions to have their stories told—instead they found a new way to distribute through YouTube. Not only are they USC grads, but they make some of the most impressive videos, on both a technical and creative level. Many filmmakers often use special effects just for the hell of it, but Brandon and Freddie really use them to tell a story.”
The breaking of the fourth wall may not be natural for some more traditional filmmakers, but it’s become the new norm when trying to appeal to fans on a personal level. Wong and Laatsch even took to Kickstarter with a fundraising pitch video of their own last month to raise over $100,000 in record time for their forthcoming Video Game High School project.
“I think internet distribution is huge for filmmakers right now, both in the student and professional world,” said Bolen. “For the first time in the history of film, people can get their films out to millions without being supported by major studios or networks.”