Passion projects can truly be challenging. Usually there is no budget and it has to all be created during your free time. You also have to convince other people to give up their free time and volunteer. I guess that’s why they call them passion projects because if you’re not passionate about it, it’s not going to get done.
Two months ago Aaron Hill, a friend and former co-worker, approached me about a project called FIVE/FIVE. He wanted to produce a documentary about a guy, Brandon Todd, who is 5’5’’ and can dunk a basketball. I was skeptical at first, but after meeting Brandon and discovering how motivated he was, I knew this would be my next passion project.
When approaching a passion project there are a couple of things to consider:
- Set Expectations – When taking on a passion project you may have a grand vision for what the end product will look like but you have to consider what you are up against. Take into account budgets, days of production, schedules. Try to see what is possible and work from there. I knew with the crew, equipment and time I had I could only make 1 production day work.
- Inspire Other People – If you are not passionate about your passion project then no one else will be either. When approaching people to volunteer I made sure my pitch was something they could be inspired by. I also went to my employers to see if they would be willing to invest in some of the project and they were key with getting the project got off the ground.
- Don’t Waste People’s Time – People who decide to help you are volunteering their free time. When you hold pre-production meetings keep them short and to the point. Make sure you are prepared with any materials, schedules and make sure your vision is clear. On the day of production make sure you are organized and everyone knows their roll. This efficiency will keep everything rolling along
- Offer Compensation – There are other things you can offer your workers and investors than money for compensation. You can promise credit slides, links to their website and social media sites. We got some special help form ikan corp (http://ikancorp.com/) who let us borrow their Tilta Rig (http://ikancorp.com/productdetail.php?id=700) and we offered to produce content for their site. This means there is no quitting. Once you get people to believe in you an invest their time, you have to follow through on every promise.
- Have Fun – At the end of the day you need to make sure you and everyone on your crew is having fun. They are all volunteers. Keep the mood light on set and when things don’t go your way don’t ever show frustration. When you are directing people look to you for answers so when you look frustrated that vibe will carry throughout your crew.
FIVE/FIVE is something I’m very proud of. Not only with the footage we shot, but with the people on my crew who worked so hard and all the people who supported us. Passion projects are not easy. There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into the journey of the project but when you get to the end of that journey hopefully you have something where your passion shines through.
Please check out the teaser for FIVE/FIVE and learn more about the project here: http://www.fivefivedocumentary.com/