Want to Be an Amateur Horror Filmmaker on YouTube? Take It From a Pro

by Matt Loftus 2 years ago in pop culture

I make short films, sketches, movie reviews, and lots of other horror-based content.

Want to Be an Amateur Horror Filmmaker on YouTube? Take It From a Pro

YouTube, y'know that online platform that has allowed millions of people to upload and share all manner of video and music content for the past decade.

Personally I think the site is a God send for getting your work seen, bearing in mind the alternative before was to make up VHS tapes, VCDs then finally DVDs for friends to watch. Yes there are other sites like Vimeo and such but YouTube seems (currently) the most user and audience friendly.

So what's my bread and butter? I make short films, sketches, movie reviews and lots of other content based around the Horror genre. See the video below for a nice snippet from the horses mouth so to speak.

No Budget? No Problem

Making anything on a low/no budget is a creative endeavor whichever way you slice it. However since horror is about suspense and what you don't see (most of the time) I believe it's one of the best genre's to be working in.

I've loved horror since being a small child obsessed with the Ghostbusters movies and TV show. Stories of ghosts and ghouls held me the most and still does today (I hope it doesn't change). That was one of the reasons I started a web series called Matt's B-Movie Reviews in 2013 as my enthusiasm for these movies is often not shared with most people I encounter on a day-to-day basis.

Hello to all the folks watching at home.....

Making the series on YouTube is really helping me connect with an audience that understands the genre and wants to share their passion for it. I mean you might know two people who've seen a movie your crazy for but on the net you can encounter thousands! thats how important it is to be on YouTube.

As much as I like watching and critiquing movies, I absolutely love creating my own stories and then shooting them. I've made a ton of short films over the years and most you can find on my channel HERE

I am of the mind set that your only as good as your NEXT piece of work though so I try not to dwell on previous efforts. There's always more to learn and better ways of telling stories which is what keeps me coming back for more.

Chock full of Horror in bite sized form....

Making short films: a.k.a. Translating Nightmares

The best way i've found of pushing myself creatively is to enter competitions as much as possible, the restrictions on time limit and themes really get you thinking outside the box. Last year I entered TIRED, a 3-minute short film, into the BBC3 show The Fear. It didn't make the cut but had previously made it into the Top 21 for the Horror Channel's 2014 Shortcuts to Hell 2 Challenge.

I absolutely loved the idea I came up with for this one, but with limited time before the deadline to get it finalized and only having myself and the primary actor on set for the shoot, I see the short as a mixed bag. Still i'm just glad we got something into the throw and will always choose to film something rather then nothing as what's the point in dreaming of filming?

This is pretty much all the gear i use....

Here's another short film I'm extremely proud of, made in 2011, called KNOCK KNOCK (no not the Keanu Reeves movie). I shot and edited this entirely myself with just the primary actress in a few hours. Shot on pesky Mini-Dv tapes (old tech I know) I really got to use some manic camera movements to create a sense of havoc. Plus I even managed to slip in a lighting nod to Dario Argento's Suspiria!

More recently I had some success with the 15 Second Horror Film Challenge. I shot 4 entries and they've now amassed over 27,000 views which is the biggest numbers i've ever received for my work.

A homage to Carrie in a way....

My favorite entry was PHOTO and it seems it's the most popular with viewers. I had the idea for a much bigger story centered around a camera but for this I just cut it down to its basic premise to fit it into the time format. So if you go down into the woods today your in for a BIG surprise!

I plan on making more of these 15 second (to 1 minute) shorts on a monthly basis as they're quite a challenge and I've noticed viewers attention spans have decreased incredibly over the last few years with the rise of Vine video's.

Taking the leap: Features are hard to ignore

I wouldn't recommend to any beginner today to create a short film over 10 minutes long (if not 5) because I believe audiences either want a small short film or a full hour and a half movie. There is wiggle room but if people are going to invest they're time it's usually in one of these formats.

Lights! camera! Almost......

Speaking of feature films, my resolution for 2016 is to finally get a movie produced so I can begin an official career in the film industry. It's all fine and good saying your a filmmaker but I believe it's a hard title to live up to if you haven't got a feature (or two) under your belt.

What's my feature about? Well it's too early for me to let you in on that one I'm afraid. I'll keep you posted on my YouTube channel as I get closer to production.

In the meantime check out this video, it's an assortment of OUT-TAKES from my work over the last 15 years!! You can actually see me age quite considerably!

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Matt Loftus
Horror-obsessed writer and Filmmaker, read my ramblings here and see my short films on YouTube:MattLoftus85
See all posts by Matt Loftus