Starting a career as an independent filmmaker is exceedingly difficult. Essentially, you’re starting a company from scratch. It may only be a company of one or two to start, but a lot of places start that way.
Due to the fact that your early days of being an independent filmmaker, your early days will be primarily sporadic gig work at odd hours, filmmakers who choose to take a full time day job can often lose out on many opportunities. Even when they do, they're often underpaid, and exposure doesn't pay the rent.
When starting out, nearly every independent filmmaker can benefit from side hustle or two. Here are a list of some of my favorite indiefilm side hustles, most of which I've done myself at some time or another. They’re all very flexable, have work when you need them, and don’t need you when you’re busy. Some have other bonuses, that I've listed for convienience.
1. Ride Sharing/Ride Giving with Lyft
Bonus - Power Networking
With the advent of Lyft and Uber, anyone livingin a city with a decent car can make some decent money driving for Lyft. The application is eashy, and you can turn it on and off as you need it. You'd be really surprised who you can meet while driving for lyft, a friend of mine has met investors, venture capitalists, and even heads of really interesting film startups [that aren't mine] by driving lyft. Uber passengers tend to be less talkative, so the networking
They also have some generous sign up bonuses that vary by region and time of year, Those bonuses often reach as much as a 500 bucks in addition to your regular pay for meeting quotas. As of this initial publishing, the SF bonus means if you hit some quotas you make an of 2 grand. Quotas and bonuses vary by city and state, so check it out here.
See the sign up bonus in your area by clicking here!
2. Delivery with Door Dash
BONUS: Oh the things you'll see.
There are two major problems with Lyft. To make much money at it, you need a car, and you also have to be kind of social to do it well. If you’re the introverted type as many creators and writers are, that can be hard. Luckily, there are on demand jobs you can sign up for that don’t require you to talk to that many people, or even have a car.
Door Dash involves getting out in the streets and taking food to hungry people who are too busy or can’t be bothered to put pants on to run out and grab it themselves. Sometimes they won’t put pants on when they answer the door. I only really did this job for a few weeks for extra cash before my book came out, butI could tell you many stories.
They also offer generous bonuses on a regular basis for active dashers. Not quite as generous as Lyft, but much more generous than some other options. These bonuses also vary by region, so check out what they are by you!
Learn more at Door Dash.com
3. Easy Day to Day Gig work
BONUS - No commitment heightens flexibility
Got a day free and need some money to make rent? Wonolo and similar services have your back. After signing up for orientation, you can get started helping people move, organizing, cleaning, whatever those daily tasks that just need doing, and getting paid to do them. you'd be surprised what jobs you can get.
There’s an app called Wonolo that can help. Wonolo helps you get gigs at local businesses that only last a day or two, so you can keep your days free. You’ll get 25 bucks bonus when you complete your first gig.
Sign up here:
4.Generalized Freelance work
BONUS: Work from home and be a better organizer
Every film producer or production manager develops tasks that are really useful in a general office enviorment. Luckily, there are sites that help you find just that. Here’ moonlighting. It helps you do a lot more general work from home freelance stuff on an admin level.
5.Creative Gig work.
BONUS: Hone your Related skills while making money
There’s lots of in demand creative skills you have as a filmmaker. You could even try bids on 99 designs, where gigs range between 299 and 499.
Check it out now!
And of course, there’s Fiverr. Fiverr lets you list any service starting at only 5 bucks. You could do anything from leaving a review on someone’s movie [or having them do yours] so it gets more attention on it’s platform, you could do some lower-end design work, do a single photo touch up, the possibilities are endless.
Set up your store now!
6. Share your Guest Room on AirBnB
BONUS: Meet Awesome people with not much effort.
Maybe you’ve got a guest room that sits empty most of the time. You could list it on AirBnB and make some extra cash to finance your projects. I use it when I go to LA, and I have lots of interesting stories from it. There are some interesting stories on it in my book. I know several filmmakers and consultants who owe their continued ability to freelance to AirBnB. I also know a few people for whom enables globetrotting around the world.
7.Join affiliate programs.
BONUS: Promote your own work while you're at it!
There are lots of affiliate programs across the web that pay you to help drive traffic and signups their way. My personal favorites are Amazon Associates and Conversant. They let you make money selling anything from books to audiobooks, and all you have to do is write or produce great content that links to them. You can even help use them to promote your own work, and make a little extra for doing so. They don't even need to complete the free trial and convert to make sure you get paid!
Say your movie is on Amazon Prime. You can help your friends see it and promote it by giving them a free trial. You even make them a few bucks by doing so. If you're bigger time, Amazon has similar offers for their OTT partnerships with PayTV Channels.
Affiliate can be great ways to monetize any content you produce, from youtube, to podcasts, or whatever else you can think of.
If you see codes attached to any of those links up there, yes, it’s an affiliate link. I'm practicing what I preach so I can keep bringing you good quality content free through my website. So check them out.
BONUS! Participate in the barter economy.
Sometimes we have a free day, and we need to build our businesses, but can’t find a gig. However, there might be other services we need. Say that you need some help organizing your desk space, cleaning your apartment, or just a haircut or handyman job around the house There’s a vibrant economy of freelancers looking to barter services on Simbi. Check them out here. Your photography or writing skills are probably very useful.
Sign up for Simbi now!
My name is Ben, I'm an Entrepreneur, Producer's Rep, and Author. I'm the founder of Guerrilla Rep Media, Co-Founder/CMO of ProductionNext, and founder of Producer Foundry. Together, the organizations seek to help make filmmaking a more economically sustainable endeavor. I am dysic, I have capitalization issues, and the blogs are often unedited. opinions all my own.
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