So far this week, we’ve focused on how industry creatives choose to use the web to promote their own work. What all creatives should celebrate about today’s contributor, Rob Munday, is that he chooses to spend his valuable time promoting the work of others.
Let’s start with his most impressive contribution… As Head of Programming at Short Of The Week, Rob has helped the site to forge a huge online following, standing tall as one of the key influencers in the short film world. For film makers, a selection by SOTW is a laurel to be very proud of. In this role Rob is clearly key to selecting films and animation, but each week he also writes a couple of the site’s well considered reviews.
If his name is familiar, there’s a good chance you encountered Rob Munday as I first did – while trawling Vimeo. Robs nonstop passion for films is a vital part of his online personality, and Vimeo lays bare this characteristic like no other platform. Every time I’m enjoying a new video, Rob’s already been there, commented on that before anyone else. He epitomises the Vimeo spirit, not only leaving a trail of positivity in his wake, but thoughtfully connecting with every film he comments on. He has liked almost 4,500 videos on the site, a number my own 180 pales in comparison to.
This may seem like no big deal, but this dual role of curator and punter is why Rob, and others like him, are so vital to the creative community. He doesn’t just cherry pick the film festival darlings, or promote his mate’s latest creation, he genuinely engages with all and judges on merit.
Rob also keeps himself busy as writer, editor and curator on the great site Directors Notes. Not forgetting his activity on Twitter of course, a logical extension for his role as online champion of short films. But don’t worry, he does get away from the computer in the day, albeit teaching Online Journalism at Bournemouth University (the same Uni that produced Blue Zoo, our first contributors in this series).
As you’ll find out below, Rob’s a man who preaches what he practices. By rolling his sleeves up, by fully engaging with the content and supporting others, he has created a valuable position for himself in the world of filmmaking. Most of all – he clearly loves doing so!
What are the best ways you’ve found to boost your online profile?
This is actually something I’ve given quite a lot of consideration – in my day job I teach Online Journalism at Bournemouth University and one of the most vital things I hope my students take away from my lessons is the importance of building a portfolio and maintaining a network of contacts online.
I think for many this question is seen as a bit of an enigma, but in all honesty, I think it comes down to quite a simple approach. For me it’s not really about boosting your online profile, but embedding yourself into an online community. If you take the somewhat blinkered approach of just looking to boost your own credibility online, I don’t think this is going to yield the best results. As corny as it sounds, like with most things in life, it isn’t just about what you can take out, but what you can put back in. For me what has worked best, is taking an open, friendly and hopefully engaging approach to my online activity. If I just focused on self-promotion all the time, I’m not sure people would be that interested. The internet provides us with a fantastic portal to open discussions and meet fellow-minded people, so I think we should all use it this way – although I am open to being sent the odd funny cat video as well!
Focusing on filmmakers specifically, I think what works best is actually devoting the necessary time to being part of the online video community. If you think you can just slap your work on Vimeo/YouTube and expect people to find it, you’re going to be disappointed. As an online curator/journalist, one of my main concerns with filmmakers is that they don’t seem to give their online release the same consideration as they do with festival distribution and I don’t really understand why this is still the case. I understand that the main focus of every filmmaker who uploads their work online will revolve around getting the most views for their films as possible, but I’ve found the people who understand online distribution best are the people who devote that essential time to being part of this community. Watch other people’s film’s, give them feedback, share work you love, reach out to the filmmakers, follow them on Twitter – people are going to find you much more interesting online if it isn’t always “me, me, me”.
If I could give filmmakers one piece of advice when it comes to creating an online portfolio/profile it would be to think long and hard about why you are making films – whether your long-term aim is getting full-time employment or just finding an audience for your work, the internet is going to be an essential tool in reaching this goal, so treat your online activity with the importance it deserves.
You can view the other “How To Boost Your Online Presence” articles here:
- #1 Animation Company, Blue Zoo – BAFTA winning creators of TV series and commercials
- #2 Animation Director, Patrick Clair – Emmy winner for True Detective Titles Sequence
- #3 Illustrator, Andrew Rae – Founding member of Peepshow Collective and creator of Moon Head
- #4 Digital Journalist, Rob Munday – Film reviewer and curator at Short Of The Week
- #5 Film Festival Consultant, Christopher Holland – Writer of ‘Film Festival Secrets’ & curator at Atlanta Film Festival