In 2017, having never produced any kind of film before, I produced and released over 52 original short films and sketch comedy videos (one per week) under the production company name "Stumble-through". I did this with 2 goals in mind: 1) Learn as much as I can about the filmmaking process and 2) Get 10,000 subscribers on Youtube so we can shoot in the Youtube Studios for free.
My main motivation was one that every professional actor can relate to; I felt like I didn't have enough control over my career. Too often it seemed that luck was the determining factor in the successes and failures of not just my professional artistic endeavors but also the careers of other artists that I know and respect. So I decided to make my own damn art.
Writing, directing, acting, casting, shooting, editing, lighting, prop-ing, costuming, set dressing, audio recording and mixing, scouting locations, buying food, filling out SAG paperwork, etc. (or even finding others willing to do the jobs for free) so regularly for a year was definitely one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of my life. Thanks to the many generous people who donated their time and expertise to teach me, I acquired an ineffable amount of knowledge and skill in every one of the many departments required to produce a film.
Of course, most of the videos were udder shit. After all, this was my first time producing anything. And I committed myself to a RIDICULOUS deadline. But I knew that. I was okay with it. That's why the company is called Stumble-through. The only way to get better at something is to do it over and over again and do it better. I'm not proud of the final product of many of the videos. But I learned something new from each and every one.
By the end of 2017, Stumble-through had gained over 2,000 subscribers on YouTube (turns out that's super hard) and an average of 1,200 views per video. We still receive our pittance from the Youtube ads each month. We also gained many followers on social media as well as newsletter subscribers. And our website traffic is (inexplicably) high.
Now, months after our latest video was released, Stumble-through is averaging 1,900 minutes of watch time (just on on YouTube) each month.
I can not possibly thank enough the many actors, writers, and crew members who helped me pull this off. A dedicated group of core people stuck around the entire year with me and contributed just as much as I did to Stumble-through. Many others joined throughout the year and stuck around. Dozens of others assisted throughout the year in multiple capacities for one shoot or many. In totality, over 100 people were involved as collaborators in one way or another.
While we didn't reach 10,000 subscriber mark (yet), I definitely learned a lot. I also took control of my own career, and that feels good. I have HOURS of potential demo reel footage. I have larger, more engaged social media followings and website traffic. I booked paid acting work by networking with other actors and filmmakers on set. I go to auditions and on-camera jobs now and feel much more aware of what's going on technically which empowers me. I've directed actors on camera so I understand more clearly how to give a director what they want from me as an actor. I can edit my own demo reel footage or do it for my friends. Or self-tapes. And I met some of the people who I now consider to be some of my closest friends. I'm so glad Stumble-through 2017 happened and I never want to do it again.
"SO, WHAT'S NEXT?" You're probably wondering.
or, "SO, WHEN DOES THIS TEXT END?"
Either way- here's what's in store for Stumble-through 2018:
I'm taking time to focus on quality. No more insane deadlines. I want to make movies that I can be proud of and that everyone involved can be proud of that audiences enjoy. I want to see what I am capable of after this year of study. What I can make if I actually give myself the time required to produce a "good" film. I look forward to moving on to bigger and better projects. I hope that you will follow along with me on my journey.
Check it out here: Stumble-through.com
Or on social media below.
Current Goal: Find a great script.
- Scott Gorbach