How To Make Money On YouTube

Back when I was a kid, there was this epic movie called Wayne’s World. The movie focused on these guys who had a television station in their basement.

Like a lot of filmmakers, I thought the idea of having my own television station was amazing! But at that time, VHS was all the rage, which says a little about the technological shortcomings of my youth.

YouTube has changed everything. Not only can you create your own mini-movie channel, but you can also make money from your content. This means that your short film or web series finally has a home.

Make Money on YouTube

Photo © AMATHIEU / Dollar Photo Club

How To Make Money On YouTube

If you’re wondering how to make money on YouTube, getting started is easier than you think. Here are five tips to outline the process.

1. Join YouTube: As a filmmaker, I assume you already have a YouTube account. If you do not, what the heck are you waiting for? All filmmakers should have a YouTube account. Sign up here.

2. Sign Up For YouTube Partner Program: Once you have your YouTube profile, your next step is to apply for the YouTube partner program. With the program, your goal is to build an audience and make money. Membership to this service is free.

3. Post Videos To Your Filmmaking Website: I am always amazed by filmmakers who do not have a website. To get a website, you need two things – a domain name and hosting. To use a real estate analogy, your hosting is your land and your domain name is your address. When you’re ready, start posting your YouTube videos right on your website.

4. Get An Adsense Account: While knowing how to make money on YouTube is importIn addition to the the partner program, your next goal is to sign up for a Google Adsense. Adsense allows you to place advertisements on your website. When someone clicks these ads, you get paid.

5. Drive Traffic To Your Site: In the Indie Producer’s Guide to Distribution, I talk a lot about the many ways to drive traffic to your site. In short, there are both online and offline tactics. Some are free. Some are not. My suggestion is to employ as many free tactics as you can. Examples of this would be writing relative and useful blog articles and including a title card at the end of each video with a back link to your website.

While there are no guarantees in the movie business, one thing is for sure. If your short movies are collecting dust in your closet, they will never make money. Upload those shorts so you can make money on YouTube. After that, make more and more movies!

Mobile Filmmaking: Make Short Films On Your Smart Device

Years ago, the idea of shooting short movies on your camera phone wasn’t possible. But as our phones become larger, more powerful and evermore like mini media centers, mobile filmmaking using tablets, phablets and phones has become a popular way to make short films.

Mobile Filmmaking

Photo © Sergey Nivens / Dollar Photo Club

Mobile Filmmaking: Make Short Films On Your Smart Device

To get started with mobile filmmaking, you simply need a device and some filmmaking applications.

1. Download These Mobile Filmmaking Applications:

Using an application to help you out in your mobile filmmaking efforts is a wise move and you don’t have to pay a premium for most of them either! With a plethora of different filmmaking and editing apps out on the various stores, you can easily give your film a more professional edge. Here are just a few I would recommend:

CELTX Shots: Production Planner – When I was filming some short pieces for my media studies course, my friend used this app in order to orchestrate the next day’s filming. The easy to move images make it a hoot to create a floor plan for where your actors, props and camera will all be positioned for each individual shot. Additionally, this app also gives you the ability to storyboard your whole Short Film using Photos form your device!

SPARK: Easy Filmmaking App – This handy little app allows you to shoot your Short Film in segments and then apply filters. Although you can’t switch around the order of the scenes, as long as you decide on the story beforehand this app has a beautiful interface and makes filmmaking a real breeze.

Horizon: Filmmaking Tool (to banish Vertical Video and Slow Down time!) – If you hate vertical video and struggle to hold a tablet Landscape, then go ahead and get this app. It allows you to basically hold the device vertically and enjoy the results of a horizontal video. Plus this app allows you to slow your films down, making for some great added editing opportunities.

101shortfilm125x1252. Control Your Mobile Filmmaking Environment:

This is a part of filmmaking that should be seriously considered when making films with an iPhone or iPad.

While your devices recording potential is amazing, they are by no means equipped to deal with the noise of the outside world. In fact, wind noise is a huge issue for most camcorders! And unless you have the budget for high quality recording devices, it is advisable to keep your narrative indoors and focus on capturing the best sound quality you possibly can.

3. Edit Your Short Film

While there are options out there on the app store such as iMovie, which allow for on-the-fly movie editing. I would seriously recommend using desktop editing software such as Final Cut for Mac and Movie Maker for windows.

On my Short Film site, a young filmmaker by the name MollymakesaVlog, submitted a film to my community and she had shot everything on an iPad mini first and then put it all together using Final Cut and the results where Amazing!

Mobile filmmaking is a great way to experiment with sculpting a narrative on the fly. So download those IOS apps or the android equivalents and let us know how it goes. Also be sure to submit a link to your short movie in the comments!

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Dan Haddock is a curator at The Local Film Network. A site set up to encourage and promote conversation about Short Films and the people who make them. For more info on the site and future TLFN projects tweet me @DanatTLFN!

Making A Short Film: 5 Tips For New Filmmakers

Making a short film is the rite of passage for many new filmmakers. If you have never made a short film, now is the time.


Not only are there a gazillion film festivals that offer a short movie program, but with websites like YouTube, you have the ability to reach a global audience.

Making A Short Film

This is better than the old days. Back then, making a short film meant that your work would get projected in theaters before the feature presentation.

But that trend ended. The short film was replaced by trailers and advertisements.

In the decades that followed, there wasn’t much of a market for short films. It was almost impossible to make money with a short film. As a result, finding investors to back a short was super challenging.

While I can’t say that the economics of short movie making has improved dramatically, the emergence of crowdfunding, festivals and internet based video platforms offers hope.

But regardless, you’re a filmmaker. And making a short film is a great training ground for getting your feature made, seen and sold.

Making A Short Film

Here is a quick video outlining my tips for making a short film:

Many people in Hollywood bounce around for years pretending to do work, when all they are really doing is pretending. Many of these people call themselves producers, yet they have no screen credits and have frankly failed to do anything!

Don’t do that.

If you haven’t yet made a short, my suggestion is to get started!

For your first few movies, don’t spent time worrying about lighting or special effects. Just learn how to utilize your limited resources and make something cool out of nothing.

Making A Short Film: Gear

For around two-thousand dollars, you can buy a camera that produces cinematic results. And if you can’t afford to grab a professional camera, then just utilize any camera you can get your hands on.

(Yes, this includes camera phones.)

Again, making something is better than making nothing.

In the event you cannot yet afford your own equipment, then find someone who already has gear and make friends.

Short Film Ideas

You next step is to get an idea for a short.

I suggest you focus on a story you can tell in three minutes or less.

When I was managing a film program, I noticed a lot of first-time filmmakers created dramatic stories that focused on suicide or some guy staring into a mirror and talking, or some chick shaving her head while reminiscing about apples and spiders.

These movies sucked, but they were good practice.

Your initial movies will probably suck too.

Don’t worry about it.

Give yourself permission to suck. Here is an example of a bad short film:

Yeah. It is MY second short film and I don’t know what I was thinking.

But it was good practice. I learned a lot.

Keep in mind, I included this short film example this to provide encouragement. Odds are good you can do better than this poo. I challenge you to get started and do something better!

Just remember, the more you practice, the better you get.

And if you’re making a short film, but find yourself really low on short film ideas, then the next best thing is to create a music video… Which is essentially a short movie too.

The other things you can do is watch other short films. A while back, I stopped by the Haig Manoogian Screenings of the best short films.

The films represented the best of the best of the NYU film school and were presented by former NYU alumni Eli Roth.

101shortfilm125x125Shot in film (not HDSLR video), all of the movies looked expensive and awesome. But at the same time, guess what?

…Every film was serious and dramatic.

By now, I think this is the reality of making a short film – It seems like most student filmmakers create serious and dramatic movies.

I don’t know why this happens.

So in response to a short film festival market saturated with drama, my ongoing to suggestion for making a short film is this:

“When making a short film, DO NOT do drama!”

Okay… If you think you have something dramatic you just HAVE to share, by all means, make your movie!

Case in point, I thought the best movie of the night was Little Horses.

Skillfully directed by Levi Abrino, this movie has a ton of heart. Here is an excerpt:

While my review of Levi’s short film is slightly biased (I have been a fan of Levi’s work for years), the laughter of the audience was evidence that Levi’s movie offered a nice break from all the drama.

So anyway… Go Levi!

Keep in mind that your short film will probably end up on YouTube.

So if you can be funny and get Internet viewers to share your movie with other people who will then share your movie with other people, you will have achieved a great thing.

In addition to all the points mentioned thus far – Your audience is your business. Growing your own audience is up to you. And the process starts with making a short film, getting your movie online and exposing your work to the world.

Making A Short Film: 5 Tips For New Filmmakers

After making a few short films, you may find yourself getting bored. This is actually a good sign, because it shows you’re growing. When this happens, begin to come up with more complex short film ideas and then write a well crafted screenplay.

  1. In the event you have not yet made a short movie, write one or two page scripts and then produce your story on a borrowed camcorder.
  2. Edit the footage on a friend’s computer.
  3. Upload the footage to video sites like YouTube. Test audience reaction. Is it good or bad? Learn from it. Then make another video… Then another… Then another.
  4. Once you feel confident with short storytelling, move on to bigger and bigger projects.
  5. Keep pushing yourself. Keep refining and learning!

The short movie marathon exercise described above will provide you with a fundamental understanding of how to shoot scenes for minimal cost and still make them interesting.

Making a short film will help you save time and money when you create your feature, while providing you with endurance, experience and the confidence to make movies with greater efficiency.

When you upload your work for the world to watch, audience feedback will reveal areas needing improvement. Even though you’re working with non-professional equipment and talent, if you can learn to make great movies with a small camera, you can make them with a big camera.

Theoretically, if you make one or two three-minute movies like this every weekend for six months, you will have the equivalent experience of making a feature.

Then later, when the feature filmmaker in you is ready, the feature will reveal itself.

101 Short Film Ideas To Get You In The Action

Sometimes making a short film and coming up with short film ideas can be a pain in the butt. So I put together an action guide specifically designed to help you find short film ideas.

101 short film ideasTitled 101 Short Film Ideas. In addition to providing short movie ideas, this action guide also contains some extra bonuses!

The system is designed to help you overcome any creative blocks.

In addition to having an action guide that contains 101 short film ideas, As part of this system, you will also get my ten step audio program for making a short film

This is mp3 audio that you can put on your iPod or mp3 player and listen to it anywhere. If you are looking for short film ideas, check it out here.

Filmmaking Tips For Beginners

In this guest filmmaking article, producer Susan Ngozi Nwokedi provides Filmmaking Tips For Beginners.

Growing up in Nigeria, I remember watching movies and wondering how could I be one of the actors in the film or how could I make movies like the one I was watching. My desire to work in entertainment stayed with me for years. And luckily, it wasn’t long before I moved to Houston, Texas with my family.

Living in the United States fused my hunger for filmmaking because of the availability of many TV channels and 24 hour programming.

In high school, my childhood fantasy became reality when I got an opportunity to work as a featured extra in some Hollywood films that came to Houston. The opportunity to be in these films allowed me see what actors and filmmakers went through to make and be in films. From there, I went from acting to producing and writing.

I wanted to attend film school. But because I had a family to support, I was unable to do so. So I did the next best thing – I attended a local college and took all the film and communication classes I could get my hands on.

During this time, I produced some short films in collaboration with other students. I also networked and got to know some people in the industry who were working as adjunct professors. I also met people I watched on TV regularly, like Lois Childs, the former 007 Bond’s Girl. She told me “Susan” you have what it takes to make it in this industry. “You will go far, just stick with it and don’t give up.”

Although I have not yet produced my blockbuster, I feel I am well on my way. I am one of the most sought after producers in my local Houston film community. Additionally, I was able to revisit Africa and complete my most recent film “12 Noon” in Abuja Nigeria in August, utilizing some of the most popular A-List actors in Nollywood, the second largest film market of the world. My other movie, “Mind of the Enemy” shot last year and completed this summer premiered in Abuja and is set for a theatrical premier event in Houston, Texas in November.

I asked Jason if I could share some advice for those of you wanting to venture into filmmaking, acting or writing. And my advice is this: Work towards your vision and never give up. Make sure this is your passion… You have to love it. When taking on a project, set goals and plan because good planning has a lot to do with your success. Also, always have a marketing strategy! I wish somebody told me about marketing strategy because I learned the hard way. And Finally, collaboration is good but be sure of who you are collaborating with.

Like minds always work better together!

Happy Filmmaking.

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With over 15 years of experience in both the Nollywood and Hollywood film and entertainment industrys, Susan Ngozi Nwokedi is the Founder and CEO of TopLine Production and Entertainment, Co., and its international affiliate, TopLine Global International Mega Links, Ltd. (“TopLine”) is a full house production and entertainment company based in Houston Texas and Nigeria.

Writing and making a short film?

Writing and making a short film? Less is more (unless it’s too much less)
By Screenwriter Jurgen Wolff

I’ve seen a lot of short films over the years. Frequently I’ve been impressed by the visuals, the level of the acting, sometimes the innovative use of a mix of media. Can you guess what most often is the weakest link?

It’s the script. Or sometimes the lack of one.

In one case, the filmmaker has decided that a short film can’t really tell a story, it can only create a mood. Then we suffer through long, long shots of the sun going down, the blinds casting interesting shadows on the wooden floor, and the smoke spiraling into the air as the protagonist smokes his French cigarette.

Don’t make us suffer. We want a story. Even when we watch a 30-second commercial, we want a story. If the moody shots serve the story, then use them (in moderation), but they’re not a substitute for a plot.

At the other end of the spectrum are short films that try to be feature films, 90 minutes of story struggling to fit into ten or twenty minutes. The result is that we, the audience, are confused or things go by so fast that we don’t have a chance to engage emotionally with the characters and what’s happening to them.

Feature films and novels often are about the transformation of the protagonist in some way, for instance from selfish to caring about other people, or from fearful to bold. Those are big changes and a challenge to make credible even with 90 to 120 minutes at your disposal. You can’t cover them adequately in ten.

It’s useful to think of a short film as being like a short story. It can capture a moment in time, a phase of a transformation. It can hint at what went before or what goes after, but not reveal those at length.

For instance, let’s say that in a feature film we were doing the story of a man who is totally absorbed in work and neglects his family but assumes they’re fine and happy.

He loses his job and can’t find another one.

Now that he’s spending so much time at home, he realizes two things–his kids don’t actually like him very much and things are really screwed up–his wife is sleeping with the neighbor, his daughter is cutting herself, and his son is selling drugs.

Maybe at first he lashes out at them, blaming everything on them, but then something happens that wakes him up to the fact that he’s responsible for a lot of this (I don’t know what wakes him up, but let’s assume we’ll come up with something brilliant).

He starts working hard on changing, winning his kids over, learning how to be humble…

Then he gets an amazing job offer–one he’s always wanted–but it would mean going back to his rat-race lifestyle.

If it’s an American film he takes the job but on his first day, as he puts a picture of his family on his desk, he realizes he’s made a mistake. He tells the powerful head of the company that he can’t take the job because he’s got more important things to do. He races to his daughter’s school and arrives just in time for her ballet performance.

If it’s a European film (and especially if it’s a European film about Americans) he takes the job, convincing himself that he can handle both.  When he comes home from his first day at his new job the house is empty. Maybe they burned it down before they left.

In a short film you could show one part, but imply a lot of the other things. Here are three ways you could treat the same story:

  • You could start with his workaholic lifestyle, then show him getting fired and, at the end, show his horrible growing realization that his family doesn’t love him.
  • You could start the story where he’s trying hard to change (his former self is implied), but then the amazing job offer comes. Maybe you give a hint as to what he’ll do but you don’t show it or the consequences.
  • You could start at the end–the smoking ruin of the house. As he sifts through the ashes there are flashbacks to moments that, when you put them together, let you understand what happened.

A really good short film makes the audience do a bit of work to put everything together and leaves them with something to think about.

If you’re a writer, instead of trying to make a short film something that it’s not, embrace its qualities and make them work for you instead of against you.

Here’s an opportunity if you want to write a short film: on Sunday, April 15, I’m hosting an online Massive Action Day (I call them MADs). Why not use the MAD to write your short film? If you have questions along the way, I’ll be online to help. Want to check how a title goes over or test a few lines of dialogue? Put it in our chat window and our friendly group will give you instant feedback. It’s fun, supportive, and I give away prizes every hour.

I’ve given Jason 10 free passes to give to his Filmmaking Stuff fans.  If you don’t manage to wangle one of those, you can still join us for the very reasonable fee of $23.25—or a lot less if you buy a subscription of ten. All the information is here:


Short Film Ideas