Nick Tantaro, and Owen Tilbury during their session ‘Future of FIlm’ at the Launceston Freelance Festival

Article Written By Marcus Johnson

Recently, I attended the Launceston Freelance Festival to hunt down a story for Fabulate. When I say ‘attended’, I mean it in the current COVID-limited way. Online. By Zoom. With well-washed hands.

The festival’s theme was ‘The Future of Work’. Unfortunately, I missed the virtual drinks that opened the festival, but I was able to log in for the ‘Future of Film’ session. The speakers were Nick Tantaro, an Australian independent filmmaker, and Owen Tilbury, Director of Tasmania’s Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA).

I came in with a few ideas about how technology might be challenging the role of filmmakers like Nick and that platforms such as YouTube had democratised the medium and that the game had changed. Surely, the era of ‘Broadcast yourself’ was creating headaches?

Far from it, as Nick and Owen easily batted those assumptions away and led a strong discussion about what drives them and how they face constant change. Well before the word ‘pivoting’ entered the vernacular, these two wily veterans have been doing exactly that. They both have an opportunity mindset—something all freelancers need to embrace.

As a filmmaker with some great success over many years, Nick Taranto has some big picture learnings to pass on. He promotes the idea of developing your skills as his number one tip. If your skills are up to date, technology isn’t an issue. He recalled the concerns when video took over from film, giving access to more people. As a professional, he was able to provide a world-class product and find opportunities to push his projects onto a global stage.

For him, platforms such as YouTube and other streaming services open up his world, rather than limit it. There is a huge audience online as well as some amazing niches to explore. This means there is potential to get your creative ideas out to unexplored corners of the world as well as developing those projects that are centred around making money.

As Festival Director of BOFA, Owen Tilbury had some insights about how to create in a crisis by embracing opportunities. COVID-19 was a huge challenge for Owen and his team. Their response was to take the festival totally online, open all hours and free for Australians for 17 days. It was a huge hit.

“The response has been phenomenal. Over 17 days, we’ve had over 27,000 views from every state and territory!”, he said. By creating Australia’s first major online film festival, Owen pioneered a new physical /online model that not only increased their audience massively and told stories to an audience they would normally be unable to reach, it still met all the requirements for building Tasmania as a tourist destination.

He summed up the change in direction in this way: “As well as. Not instead of”.

As a freelancer, that’s a good mindset to have. Where are the opportunities today?

This article was commissioned and produced on the Fabulate platform. To learn more about how to get quality content created on demand for your business click here.