Hi guys. My name is Jason Buff. Like many of you, I have struggled for years to make a feature film. In the late 90’s I worked on a ton of independent projects. Most of which eventually ended up in someone’s closet. Frustrated at how difficult it was to make a film, I gave up and focused on my career as a graphic designer.
Around 2008 I started to notice a giant shift in the film industry. Not only were more films being shot in a digital format, but the rapid speed of internet was making streaming media more viable. It was as if a perfect storm was forming and I didn’t want to be left out.
In 2010 I started working on various screenplay ideas. Many were far too big for my budget. I have lived in the Yucatan since 2002, so most of my stories revolved around gringos coming down to Mexico. My son was only 2, so my time was very limited. But I kept pushing forward. Making contacts.
In 2012, I had a breakthrough. I found an investor who wanted to help me make my film Subterania. I quickly started putting all of my energy into rewrites and working to make sure the screenplay was as good as it could possibly be. I rewrote the entire story about 5 times and was never really happy with it despite good feedback from other screenwriting professionals.
To make a long story short, after a year of working to get the film going, things fell apart. I could blame other people around me, but the truth is, I just didn’t know what I was doing. Sure, I knew filmmaking from an artistic point of view. I can talk all day about characters and camera movement and anything on the artistic side of filmmaking. But I knew nothing about financing a movie, or marketing, or post production, or distribution. I was lost.
In 2013, after dusting myself off, I started the Indie Film Academy as a way to share with others the things that I have learned, and also share what I have learned as I learn. I primarily put up information about things that I would want to know. In 2014, a friend of mine mentioned that I should do a podcast about filmmaking. One of my favorite learning resources over the years had been Film Method, which unfortunately is no longer being produced. So I wanted to do something similar. At first, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I set up my studio and after about 5 interviews I started getting comfortable. I now have close to 20 interviews recorded and at the time of writing this, the Indie Film Academy Podcast is one of the top filmmaking podcasts on iTunes.
I continue to work on different screenplay ideas. I love to write. I’m working on two short films at the moment and plan on doing many more. There is no better way to practice your skill as a filmmaker than making shorts. One of the topics we cover is how to fund shorts through crowdsourcing campaigns. It doesn’t take much. There are people out there making award winning shorts with their iphones. What I find easy, and I include myself in this, is finding excuses to procrastinate.
Thanks to everyone who had decided to join us. Nothing makes me happier than hearing that the contents on our site or podcast have helped someone. We have a group on facebook where you can share your films, or get feedback, or share some interesting information. So indie filmmakers unite and let’s all support each other.