Formatting my laptop, as well as my life.

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Today I have been busy with formatting my laptop. It was clogged up with shit; tiny programs I didn’t use, pictures I don’t need anymore, folders full with crap. It worked slow because it was full of old things. Simultaneously I was reformatting the way I live, without even knowing! I was full of old things, things I didn’t use anymore. 

When I finished my internship (as a graphic designer) in the winter of 2014, I had no clue what to do. I was laying awake at night, staring at the ceiling thinking about what the hell I would do with my life. Recently I had made a long distance cycling trip and this resulted in a film about WWOOF and cycling. I knew I loved traveling, cycling and camping, but it was only after the good reactions on the film that I realized there was an audience for these kind of things. This was the moment I knew what to do with my life. Try to earn my living with making adventurous journeys. Now of course nobody will pay me to go traveling, but I’m trying to at least show myself by writing, making films and talking wherever I can. You are reading this, so this means I do a little well, thanks! 🙂

But it’s not easy to set something up for yourself. There is nobody telling you what to do, and how to do it. Nobody tells you if you’re doing things right or wrong. The articles I’m writing, are they at least a little professional? I’m a filmmaker, so I write, but I’m no professional writer! I push myself to learn, push myself to write about my journeys and by pushing myself I know at some point I will learn to master this. Although it’s the pushing that is the hardest, everybody setting up their own thing can relate I think.

The hardest part of pushing yourself, is knowing yourself and being satisfied with yourself. Knowing your rhythm, your pace in life or how you deal with pressure for example. When I look at my life everything goes quite well. My latest film has been watched 3000 times in 10 days, I just have a new job in a travel book store, my articles get published and I’m part of an awesome travel collective where we give lectures on schools. But as I was not satisfied with my laptop anymore, today I was not satisfied with myself.

I’ve made a list of things I was not satisfied with. The reasons of dissatisfaction could be turned around so that these things don’t bother me anymore. Quite a big thing is my life rhythm: I know I’m quite lazy in the mornings. You could say I’m a night owl. You will probably not see me work before 10 if I don’t have to. So my day starts between 11 and 12, but I keep on trying to start at nine (as “normal” people do). Fuck it, I will just start at 11, and stop at 19:00. It leaves me more satisfied, then to push and force myself to a rhythm that is not for me. But this also means I will try to go to bed early, and not start a film or anything else after 0:00. What goes hand in hand with this time thing, is the quantity of things I do in this time. Nearly every day I want to do more than I really do. I decided to write down what I did every day, and have a look on Friday, with a cold beer in my hand. Did I really do so less, or is it just my brain, telling me I could do way more?

Writing down my dissatisfactions, problems or troubles helps me to think about them, and read them back afterwards. Next month I will take the paper I wrote it down on, and have a look if I’m still so dissatisfied with these things. Probably there are some other things, life is never perfect. Unless you eat ice cream and listen to Metallica at the same time. But asking yourself questions, and writing down the answers helps putting things in perspective. Alastair Humphreys has a great lists of “20 questions to answer honestly“. This is a list of progress.

Since just one year I’m busy with adventures and seeing how I can make a living from this. I know it’s not easy. The easiest is actually going out, writing about it, filming it or talking about the journeys. The hardest part happens in my brain. Can I really do it? Why don’t I get a “normal” job? Am I doing it right? What if I fail? Since one year I’m finally motivated to make the best of what I can, and motivation is the only thing you need to succeed in what you want. It’s these moments of  doubt that make you sharp, that let you reinvent yourself and that make sure progress is happening.

After formatting my laptop, it was running smooth like a new fabricated BMW. With my hands on the steering wheel I look forward, with the reasons that slow me down on a paper. No more speed limits, because I’m cruising in my fresh BMW! (Damn, this is dangerous, I don’t even have a driver’s license!)

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How to get your film seen by others; a practical guide

After days and days of editing, sweating and probably some cursing, your film is finished! So what now, how do you get as many people as possible to see your film? I’m no professional in this, but let me give you some tips ‘n tricks and some organizations and festivals you can send your film to as I did with my latest film: Why We Go Out.

VIMEO VS. YOUTUBE

Both Vimeo and Youtube have their strong and weak points. Lets start with Vimeo.

Vimeo is a more professional site for filmmakers. You will not find many cat video’s or dancing giraffes on there. The site is mainly used for artists, filmmakers and visual related arts. When you put your film on Vimeo, it directly has a bit more attitude then when it’s on Youtube. It’s between the professional work of Tom Allen or Alastair Humphreys and this means you chose to be serious about your work. Vimeo has a larger viewing screen then youtube, so more film and less crap. When you upload your film on Vimeo, you can set a thumbnail. I highly recommend making something cool, like a screenshot with a title. It can be something simple, it doesn’t have to be a state of the art thing. It’s like the cover of a book, you’re most likely take a book with a cool cover then a gray one.

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Also you can add your video’s to groups. I always add my video’s to the group “Adventure Filmmaking”, this increases the chance people come across it. If you have a question, there is a forum on Vimeo, where members of the staff help you. This is a real good thing, and I’ve got a quick answer from them multiple times. Vimeo has some negative things as well. The search function is not so good as Youtube. It shows a lot of things that are not relevant to your search enquiries. With a basic account you’re able to upload 500 MB and just 720p. If you made a film 20 minutes or longer the quality will be a bit crappy and then you should get an upgrade; Vimeo Plus, for €60 a year. When you get this, make sure you have a credit card, or your Paypal is verified. It took me some hours to realize this. If you do this, the upgrade, this shows you are serious about your films and gives you more options. The most negative thing about Vimeo is actually just one thing: most people are on Youtube…

LETS GO TO YOUTUBE

Youtube is the channel everybody goes to when they search for any kind of video. Here you have loads of potential viewers, and youtube advises video’s on the side. Yours might be between there. People browse youtube for hours and hours so your chances increase. Also you can put your video in 1080p on there, so quality wise youtube is better then Vimeo. But now your film will be between “charlie bit my finger”, “dancing kitten pt2” and “festival dancing guy”. It’s the question if you care about this or not. The most positive thing about youtube is that it’s easy to put your video on there and you can reach a huge audience. If you reach a huge audience, you can make lots of money just by uploading video’s like this guy. But this is not for everyone. The search option is pretty good, so with the right tags people can find your video easy. Now the negatives. The viewing screen is a bit smaller, so more crap and distracting stuff around your video. But most important, youtube is filled with shit. It has millions of video’s and your film can get lost in the video forrest very quickly. Another thing are the adds. Always you will have some commercials before your video, not letting you get in the mood for a nice film you spend your blood, sweat and tears on.

To show your film to the world in my opinion it’s best to put it on Vimeo first, and when it’s not new and special anymore also upload it on Youtube, to get more views. (try to beat this video, 2.432.507.467 views)

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ONLINE SHARING

After uploading your film to your website of choice, you want to share it. There are many, many ways to do this, let me show you how I do it.

Tell people

Already in the editing stage of your film it’s good to let people know what you do. Tell everybody that you made a film and will put it online. Set a date, and tell your friends, family, colleagues, next door neighbors, your dog and the person on the street asking you for directions. After telling the real world, it’s time to show the digital world.

Facebook

Facebook is for me the way to get my films quickly to my audience. I have a like page for my adventures, but you can also make a like page for your film. Keep your followers updated on things, and they will look forward to the premiere. It is also possible to make an event for your premiere and invite your friends and ask them to invite all their friends. Most people would like to do this. You can also ask them to share your film. When they share jumping cat video’s they might as well share your piece of art, right? On Facebook there are loads of groups, they are good places to post your film. For example the group “Bicycle Touring” has around 16.000 members, so if you made an cycling adventure film, this is a good place to share it. Search for groups, become a member and share your film. The best time to post something is Tuesday or Friday, this study shows.

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Different websites on your genre

There are some amazing film websites, always searching for content. I highly recommend SteepEdge. This is an adventure film website with a broad selection of categories, payed and free. You can also get in touch with bloggers who blog about the same things your film is about. They will be happy to be in touch with like minded people and who knows they might even want to interview you. Also share your film with magazines. Online magazines mostly have a Facebook page and if they like your film, they might share it there too.

FILM FESTIVALS

Film festivals are always looking for awesome films to show their audience. And how convenient, you just made an awesome film! So just google the genre of your film plus the words “Film Festival” behind it. You will be amazed how many different types of film festivals there are. A lot of film festivals work trough “Film Freeway“. This is a website where you can upload your film, and send it to hundreds (if you want) film festivals. Sometimes you have to pay a small fee, but I think this is worth it, since many people will see you film when it’s in the official selection. Sometimes film festivals will invite you to come over, and talk about your film. This can open huge doors, so do it. For me it led to co-hosting and programming a part of a festival in Germany. Prices are also nice, but don’t expect to win anything, unless you’re a more experienced filmmaker. When you don’t expect to win, but still win a prize, motivating to keep making films.

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I make adventure films and so I send my films to adventure film festivals. Here is a list of great adventure film festivals that are open for submissions, and is definitely worth a shot:

~ Maine Outdoor Film Festival, USA                                                                                                                 ~ Why not? Adventure Film Festival, Ireland                                                                                              ~ Kendal Mountain Festival, UK                                                                                                                           ~ Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, UK                                                                                                           ~ 5Point Film Festival, USA                                                                                                                                   ~ Adventure Travel Film Festival, UK & Australia                                                                                   ~ Tahoe Adventure Film Festival, USA                                                                                                           ~ European Outdoor Film Tour, all over Europe

These are just a couple festivals, there are hundreds of tiny local festival, make sure to check them out too. Especially in your own country, so you have more chance to go there and meet other filmmakers.

These are the steps I take to show the world the films I’ve made. Did I miss anything, or do you have suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime you can also like my Facebook page and keep updated on adventure films, plans for new journeys and to get inspired.