“fundamentally, independent film is aWays about collaboration, sharing ideas, exchanging, helping each other, getting advice from peer to peer. that is hoW culture flourishes.” We’d done some ridiculous mathematical equation. It was a short, it was full of mistakes, and it was a fantastic learning experience. It was a one hundred per cent, complete learning curve, and it was in the process of making that film that both of us realised the information we could get was not coming from organisations or state bodies, it was through meeting other people that were trying to do, or had already done, what we were doing. Shooting People started out with about 20 or 30 mates we’d met on our first film, so at first it was held together with sticky tape, and occasionally glue.” Thus launched Shooting People – or Shooters, as it’s affectionately known – a social networking site and blossoming online community that began to emerge at a time when many people were still getting to grips with email and the only way to watch a movie was to go to the cinema, or buy a DVD. Thanks to Shooters, people began to realise the tall walls of the film world were not insurmountable – that new films by different people could be funded, made, distributed and seen. Run independently from day one, Shooting People remains a model for social entrepreneurship. Thanks to Shooters, aspiring filmmakers are given a platform through which to collaborate, share resources and showcase their work. From 20 or 30 mates, it now has over 37,000 subscribers, a dedicated tech team and offices in London, New York and San Francisco. Shooting People boasts luminaries like Mike Figgis, Morgan
Spurlock, Werner Herzog, Sally Potter and Ted Hope as members, who all actively contribute to the community. But it hasn’t always been plain sailing. Cath and Jess were on 80-hour weeks, holding down nine-to-five jobs, and keeping Shooters running at night. For Cath, the whole project has been a labour of love fueled by the absolute belief in the principles of collaboration, progression and innovation. “For a long while we were piggy-backing off servers around London Bridge and we were busting favours from various people,” she says. “We never had any advertising or marketing budget because we were just running it from our bedrooms at home on top of a full time job. We did that for four years.” As the registered users continued to grow, the work required to administer Shooters became unsustainable. They applied, unsuccessfully, to the UK Film Council before pursuing some more unusual funding avenues. “Of course, we were tremendously excited but at the same time we recognised that in order to really do it properly, we had to do something dramatic. So, along with the bank, it turned out two 90-year-old grannies were the ones who saw the future. We invested about £30,000 and we built a much stronger infrastructure and introduced the subscription.
Published on Jun 25, 2010