Could Instagram filmmakers be oversaturating the market?

Videographers at ASU and elsewhere use social media to promote their art

In a visual world, videography is becoming more prevalent across platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Many ASU students are taking note and involving themselves in video and filmmaking culture, often as freelancers. 

Freelancing is a popular way for artists and others to monetize their art, as 36 percent of the entire workforce are considered “freelance," according to a study conducted by Upwork and the Freelancers Union. And for the filmmakers who make use of this model, formal training may be considered unnecessary. 

Filmmakers often use social media like Instagram to grow their brand and reach the photo app's almost 500 million daily users. The app, along with tools like smart phones, has lowered the barrier to entry for filmmakers, said film junior and dance videographer Jon Hernandez. 

“I think self-starting videographers are growing more and more everyday. With technology being more accessible and affordable, anyone can buy gear and start to shoot and start offering services in the film industry,” he said.

And this experience and reach can mean more than a formal education.

“Having a successful film career, in my opinion, does not come from a film degree, but it can come from the journey of obtaining it. In my freelance work, I’ve never been asked if I have a degree,” Hernandez said. “Prospective clients that I’ve had only want to see my work and experience.”

But social media platforms can leave something to be desired in terms of landing jobs, said Nick Maggi, a communications freshman and freelance filmmaker. Even though it's a good place to show off work, it often can't compete with traditional marketing tactics such as emailing managers and meeting people in person, he said.

Maggi said that many well-known Instagram videographers, some of whom can rack up tens of thousands of followers and likes, may not land as many paying jobs and opportunities as some would think. 

“Instagram is sort of overrated in terms of how important it is to be popular,” Maggi said. “Quality is always going to mean more than attention.” 

A sort of self-starting attitude is trendy at the moment, thanks to people like music video director Cole Bennett, whose distinct editing style has earned him clients in the up-and-coming underground hip hop community. 

“Everybody who has asked me to do a music video has mentioned Cole Bennett,” Maggi said. “A lot of people are making super edited Cole Bennett rip-offs.” 

Ryan Moreno, a freshman film major and freelance director, said the amount of trend-followers within the Instagram videography community is oversaturating the market. 

“It’s hard to weed out who really wants to do it long term and who’s just doing it because it’s fun for the year,” Moreno said. 

Either way, he said he'll pursue his film degree and career out of a love for the craft. 

“I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to college. The fact that I do have this opportunity, I’m going to make the best of it and do what I love,” Moreno said.


Reach the reporter at mmbarbe3@asu.edu and follow @meganbarbera_ on Twitter. 

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