5 Ways To Make Money as a Filmmaker?

Filmmaking and money tend to be two very separate things for a lot of people. In most cases, people actually lose a whole lot of money making movies for themselves. While entertainment is one of the most lucrative industries in the world, it also has an immensely large side that is the complete opposite. There’s a far climb between independent short films and studio-backed blockbusters. But in 2021, there are a whole lot more options than just those black and white two. Let’s go through five incredibly lucrative options that you could get started on right now.

The best ways to make money as a filmmaker in 2021 are in the services sector. Filmmaking is necessary in nearly every industry in the world, so in providing services to either cover an event for someone, or create a calling card to something, the amount of money you could potentially make is endless.

How Do Filmmakers Make Money?

The beauty of filmmaking is that it applies to nearly everyone in the world these days! Whether they directly know it or not. Filmmaking can be immensely profitable if you learn how to effectively monetize. To start: you can make money through advertising, through sponsors, through stock footage, through services, through event-capturing, through portraitures, through rentals, through information, through content itself and of course, through distribution. These are defined categories, but the truth is, they’re incredibly broad. The applications of these options to making money in the real world are huge!

5 Ways To Make Money as a Filmmaker

5 Ways To Make Money as a Filmmaker in 2021

Let’s look at some of the best jobs, gigs, strategies and options to make big money in the filmmaking world in 2021.

Event (And Specifically) Wedding Videography

Let’s start off with the obvious one here: Even Videography. We’ll touch on a few unique event coverage options down below, but let’s start with weddings. It’s probably the most easily-thought-of option for filmmakers initially, but let’s look at it a bit differently. First off, understand WHY weddings are such an amazing opportunity.

  1. New weddings will ALWAYS come on the market
  2. The more weddings you do, the more your network of potential-weddings-to-come compounds exponentially
  3. There are two moments in a person’s life that they spend an irrational amount of money by default: When they get married and when they die. That’s why Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary invests in wedding and funeral companies.

These three factors are so important to understand! So think twice before you ignore the wedding option because it seems too popular. There is a TON of money to be made from weddings. And also, it’s incredibly easy to get started. Just start telling everyone you know: Family, friends, distant relatives, neighbors, co-workers, etc. That you’re available to wedding videography. Find some professional rates for videographers in your area and cut their prices! Show your discount to potential clients. This can be one of your best moves early-on in the running. Take less pay, which will allow you to get some work in your portfolio, which can be the next step in gaining clients.

5 Ways To Make Money as a Filmmaker

As for other events to offer videography, here are some great options:

  • Graduation (Personal coverage, for families)
  • Sports games (The team itself)
  • Individual Sports Players (Highlight reels for high schoolers applying to college is a great option)
  • Retirement Parties
  • Anniversaries
  • Local Festivals
  • Local contests

Commercial Videography

This option is GREAT in terms of money, but this is when things get a bit more competitive. Specifically, in this section we’re going to be focusing on business-based work. The best move for this category early on, is to reach out to small businesses. Independent companies, local stores, services, up and coming brands, etc. Ideally, create an incredibly professional proposal with exactly what you’re offering (specific options are best.) If you can design a clean, modern website, it’s even better.

So here you can really get creative with it. You can focus on companies you’re actually interested in working with, by just cold-calling and asking to discuss possibilities. Explain yourself well, don’t be too sales-y, and be a human. You’re offering something to someone that isn’t seeking out your services, so be mindful of that.

But with this, you can be promoting yourself in the pool of businesses in the meantime. Facebook pages, local business groups, town boards, mailing lists, etc. can all be great ways to put your name out there for folks to call you directly for your services.

I would recommend you have options for creating both traditional advertisements and modern, social-media-based content. Depending on the business, having both options available will largely increase your potential to land the client.

5 Ways To Make Money as a Filmmaker

Equipment Rentals

Depending on your area, this option can be amazing! Once you start growing as a filmmaker, chances are you‘ll have a whole lot of new filmmaking equipment as you develop. (Click here for our list on Filmmaking Equipment To Step Up Your Content in 2021.) As you acquire new gear, you should be immediately uploading that gear online to film equipment rental sites. Take high quality pictures, fill out the information thoroughly (to rank in search) – and have competitive pricing. Below, I’ll list a few of the best film gear rental options in 2021.

  1. ShareGrid
  2. KitSplit
  3. FatLlama

All three are great options! These days, ShareGrid is generally the most popular. But check listings in your area for reference!

Stock footage sales

I would say this option is the LEAST utilized of all of these 5 ways to make money as a filmmaker. So often, filmmakers have absolutely beautiful footage for a given project. Whether it’s personal, narrative, commercial, travel, etc. So often that footage is used once, then never touched again. But come on! What a waste. If you don’t have another use for it, that doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t. These days, there is an incredibly high demand for stock footage online, with the size of YouTube in 2021. So take up the opportunity and list your old footage!

Go through your hard drives of video and find random footage of anything and everything. If it’s high quality, I’m sure someone will be searching for that exact thing at some point. Landscapes, cars, people eating, planes, parks, beaches, etc. I know from experience, I have searched for some very weirdly specific stock footage in the past. When I can find something that matches my exact, strange request: it’s amazing.

Here are some awesome option for sharing your stock footage:


Last but not least amidst our 5 ways to make money as a filmmaker: the distribution option. I will say, this option is mainly for story-based filmmakers. That can be documentaries, narratives, horror stories, sci-fi, comedy, etc. But more traditional filmmaking stuff.

Film distribution can be very difficult to come by, but it can certainly be the most lucrative, if the deal is right. This is the way money is made in Hollywood. The way it works is, a distributor or sales agent will buy the rights to your film (generally for a set amount of time, in a particular area.) They will pay an upfront acquisition fee to you for the streaming rights to your film. These days, this can be for streaming services (Like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.) or for actually movie theaters.

With the initial distribution fee, you’ll also usually receive some sort of royalties depending on the success of the film once distribution begins.

This can be an incredibly financial opportunity if you create more traditional, story-based work. But it is difficult to come by. Below, I’ll link some companies that offer distribution and allow films to be submitted. Go take a look if you’re interested!

5 Ways To Make Money as a Filmmaker

Making Money As a Filmmaker

The beautiful thing about filmmaking, is that it’s useful in just about every industry in the world right now. From advertising, event-coverage, product demonstrations, to storytelling. Everybody depends on filmmakers in some form, whether they know it or not. These are a few great options for making money as a filmmaker in 2021, but the possibilities are endless. Think about how video is used in whatever it is you’re passionate about. Video games, sports, cars, collectibles, stocks, etc. The world is full of videos these days, and thus, filled with money to be made.

Good luck out there, folks! Thanks for reading 5 Ways To Make Money as a Filmmaker!