Filmmakers… we are living in a weird time. Productions are shut down left and right. There doesn’t seem to be a clear opening ahead.
We are probably more prepared than most. This is kind of normal for most of us. We chose this crazy freelancer rollercoaster.
That wild rollercoaster has its highs. Some months you feel like a filmmaker king. The projects are rolling in and so is the $$$.
But then the dry season hits HARD. You can’t seem to land anything.
You pitch on projects left and right. But nothing sticks.
But it gets worse…
After a few weeks of no work, you sit alone at night and think, “is this even worth it?” “maybe I should get a real job…”
Your confidence is shot… and you start operating out of ‘neediness’ instead of that ‘creative confidence.’
Then you take some lame brand spot just to pay the bills. I’ve done this more than I can count.
The spot is trash. Plus now, the cool briefs have started rolling back in. But your availability is booked on this lame job.
It’s a vicious cycle and caused me a lot of existential crises over the years.
There’s a different way…
Imagine getting a consistent check or multiple checks every month without working for the man.
I’m talking about residual income. A $10k check… heck even $5k every month would be a gamechanger for most filmmakers.
It means you can say NO to lame jobs. It means you can operate out of that ‘creative confidence’ that makes clients want you. More confidence financially, more confidence on calls, and more confidence on set.
Less stress. More time. No more lame jobs. This sounds amazing Chris… how do I make residual income as a filmmaker?
Let’s dive into FOUR ways you can start making residual income using footage on your hard drive or resources you have access to already.
If you want a deep dive breakdown… check out this course on Residual Income for Creatives by my friend Ezra Cohen. He dives straight into how he is making $100k/month in residual income using some of the methods below.
This guy is killing it. Let’s jump into some of the ways you can start earning checks every month!
When I hear ‘stock footage’ I think of cheesy clips of a man smiling in an office. Or that hilarious image of ‘computer hackers.’
But the stock footage game has gotten HUGE over the past few years. And it’s growing now more than ever (with production safety changing).
If you’re like me, your desk is scattered with stacks of orange LACIE hard drives with footage from every shoot you’ve done since 2014. There is GOLD sitting on those hard drives… right under your nose.
You can sell this footage to companies directly – or you can sign up to one of these sites to do the heavy lifting for you (hosting, selling, exposure, etc).
This truly is ‘passive income’ in a very real sense. You upload once, then the company will send you a check. The more footage you upload, the better chance you have of companies licensing your stuff.
Another smart way to leverage stock footage is making deals with clients on shoots. You can give them a percentage of the stock footage sales if they let you keep the footage rights.
Or if the budget they have is too small, you can include in the agreement that you own the rights to the footage after the shoot.
Profit sharing is exactly what it sounds like… you take a cut of the profits you make a company. Now there are few ways to work this out.
Production Company represented directors…
You can work out a deal in your contract to include profit sharing. This means that you’ll receive a certain percentage of cash each year based on how much business you brought the production company.
A different / non-traditional way to do profit sharing…
This applies if you’re doing a project directly with a company. Say you’re creating a video ad for a company. You can work out a deal that you receive a certain percentage of the sales or ad spend put behind the video advertisment.
This is a smart way to cut out some of the upfront cost for the company hiring you… but can give you more money on the backend if structured correctly.
Consistent checks are the best… monthly retainers are a simple way to offer consistency to a client while getting that consistent check in the mail. It’s like a subscription service for video production services.
I’ve seen different companies craft different offers for monthly retainers. You could offer monthly editing services that include 10/hours of editing per week. Or you can offer a mixed bag. Two shoot days per month+ 3 days of editing.
This type of service works great for local clients who need consistent video content.
Another beautiful part about this type of business is you can scale. You can hire other folks to provide the services and spend minimal time quality checking the work. Like the dentist that comes in last minute to do a final look.
Before I became a full-time filmmaker, I was a full-time paid advertising employee. I spent over $2-million dollars on FB, Google, and YouTube… I’ve tried to continue using that skillset.
Mixing in advertising expertise is a way to hit monthly retainers without going on shoots.
I’ve been creating video advertisements for medium-sized companies over the past few years. One way to double the service is to offer paid ads on top of the ad creation. Even if you don’t know how to do paid ads, you can hire another company or person to do it for you.
Gear Reviews / Affiliate
Guys like Philip Bloom and others have used this as their cash cow for years. And you can do the same. You’re an expert in your field… and if you’re like me you probably get comments and emails asking ‘What lens did you use???’
You can actually make money when you answer those comments. Sites like Amazon and B&H have a deal worked out where you can earn money by referring customers to them.
It makes sense too… you should get a cut if someone buys a Sigma Cine lens because they saw your footage using them. All you have to do is sign up for amazon affiliate or B&H affiliate program. They’ll give you a custom link to post and you’ll get a small percentage of the sale.
You can do reviews of gear you already own and post those links. Or at the very least, put affiliate links in your video description of the gear you’re using.
Tons of filmmakers / YouTubers do this. Look at the bottom of every Peter McKinnon video. It’s insane how many affiliate links he uses. Note, you can also be an affiliate for merch, VFX packs, and music.
Start making residual income today!
Here’s the deal… if you are a filmmaker, chances are you are missing out on residual income EVERY DAY. The longer you wait to take action… the more money you are missing out on.
I’ve worked with Ezra Cohen to give you a special deal on his course RESIDUAL INCOME FOR CREATIVES. If you want 20% off the course… use the code: TEXTUREPLEASE
Ezra has packaged together tons of items over the years. Just go to his site, scroll down and click on ‘Residual Income for Creatives‘ and check out the course. There’s a free 45-minute sneak peak into his process.
Getting an extra $1k, $10k per month would be a life changer for you as a filmmaker. Grab Ezra’s course before the price goes up and the 20% discount goes away.