Results Of The 7-Day Video Challenge

In case you are lost in the sauce, last week's blog post will fill you in on all of the details about this 7-Day Video Challenge.

The rules were simple. Within 7 days, land a signed contract with one client who was/is going to pay you $1,000 or more for your unique artistic storytelling.

The reasons or the why for such a challenge are pretty simple: grow as a filmmaker in your financing.



Heck, connecting with people.

Friday morning, when I sent out the blog post, I was already fast at work to do the challenge.

I contacted my VA and asked her to find more leads. I took the last group of leads that she had given me, and I finally reached out to them. Reply is a fantastic way to do this.

I'm not an affiliate marketer for the Reply app (Reply app io), and I'm not even a paid user. A free account with them hooks you up with 50 email threads that you can schedule every month. That's plenty to get started.

My team signed up two accounts.

Now, a thread is simple.

If you send an email, and it gets a response (from you or from the recipient), you have a thread that starts to build. 

This is why Asana and Slack are taking off.

I digress.

Back to Reply. You can manage 50 threads per month on the free account with Reply. 

Once you have a list of names, emails, and businesses, you can use the Reply app to jump start the email outreach.

The bigger the client, the more personalized the proposal should be. But if you're looking to do a one-time video for anywhere north of $1,000 and south of $5,000, it doesn't hurt to just put your email intros out there.

One way to do that is with a good list of names, email addresses, and businesses in your town.

That's what I did, just like I outlined in the previous post.

Within the first group of people I reached out to, I had one response. Two emails came back as being unreachable, as in they were bad email addresses.

Not great, but not horrible either. It's certainly better than cold calling people. This is why the Reply app is good. It will help alleviate some of the burden of the repetitiveness of cold emailing.

With film and video, my best leads come from other people bringing the jobs to me. Without over-spiritualizing the situation, I think this is the Almighty looking out for us.

Can the same be said in your situation? Comment below.

All that to say, like it says in the Good Book, a man should not eat if he is unwilling to work. There is nothing wrong with taking the talents that God is giving you and using them in a Godly manner.

I do believe that by taking your artistic skills as a filmmaker and creating a story that's going to reach the audience of that Mom and Pop screen printing and embroidery shop 10 miles down the road, you are honoring God because you are serving your fellow man.

Unless they're doing some shady things under the table, I say go for it. Go with God, and go for it.


Why would you be entrusted with a million-dollar budget to impact a million or more people if you can't even navigate the waters of a $1,000 budget?

Friday, when I first sent out the emails, I had one response. My second wave of emails to follow up with people was set for Monday. But on Friday I had one response. By that evening I had a phone call with that one response.


Monday morning, as I said about the best leads coming to us, I met with a good friend about a big project, one that could possibly be force-shaping for Church Films over the next few months.

God is good.

Note: Even if you don't want to have anything to do with this Jesus guy, you're always welcome here at this blog, because I care about the micro-budget filmmakers, being one myself.

This whole site exists to encourage you and honor the Almighty (our why), and our what's are step-by-step guides so that you (the microbudgeter) can finance and market your films.

And at the end of the day, I will always be encouraging people.

Regardless of your faith, you have that unique talent, one that was not meant to be buried in the sand but used to equip your fellow man.

If you keep that in mind, kinda like Zig Ziglar said, the pieces will line up for you eventually.

Don't quit.

I won't consider my meeting on Monday morning as a part of the 7-day challenge.

Rather, I will look at the case study of finding the person on Friday and landing a contract with them.

I want you to land the $1,000 video jobs so that you can take your passion for visual storytelling and go and change the world through authentic, engaging stories of hope, grace, forgiveness, and love.

Monday morning, I sent another follow-up to my clients; a lazy videographer will send them one email.

Don't be the lazy videographer.

When you send an email to check up on your client, include your invoice. And go out of the way to set up a quick QuickTime video of yourself or use whatever media you have to capture video with on your computer, and upload that bad boy to YouTube. Then take the link, embed it in your email, and zip that over.

Your client doesn't know you from Uncle Bob, so it's your job not only to educate them on the cost breakdown of your work, but also guide them through the vision that you have for their piece, and together, the two of you will work to balance out expectations and overall direction.

Including a video of yourself, especially at this point when all you've had are emails and a phone call, helps to break down the barriers of working with someone they don't know.

Business, at this level and at this price point or anything greater, is always done in person.

Very rarely would you find big purchases or commitments without a human-to-human interaction.

This is why Amazon will never take over the world.

Back to the camera. Get over your fear, hit record, and just be yourself. Commit to 20 takes if that's what it takes because of noises, stammering, or things beyond your control, but do the work.  

If you are too lazy to show your client that you care about their well-being and their interests ahead of your own, then you don't deserve to land a 4-figure video job, let alone a 7-figure budget to go tell a story about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, child soldiers finding forgiveness, or ____________________.


By Weds evening, I had a second local businessmen express interest in doing a video. His first and only question was "how much does it cost"?

At this point, be real. Don't try to be someone you're not. Businesses are run by people just like you and me. They have hopes and fears just as you do.

I sent him a video message with only the instructions to watch the video, and then to take a look at a second video that would be in the same email.

Do you want to know what the second video was? It's not mine. It's from Purina of all companies.

This video shows a story and the story is what grabs your attention.

Purina and other big-name companies realize that to connect with people, they have to appeal to their audiences by telling true stories. Or at least they are telling stories that resonate as being true. This Puppyhood spot certainly fits the bill.

Yes, even Uncle Bob's Auto Repair Shop downtown is going to need to tell an authentic, engaging story. And I promise, if Uncle Bob has been in business for 25 years, he's got a story to tell.

When you talk to your clients, look for their opportunity to tell a story.

Don't just do a cut-and-dry, talking head interview piece. 

It's boring, you won't grow as a filmmaker, and more importantly, you're not going to be creating any more engagement for your client.

Thank you so much for contacting us, but will pass at this time. I have done videos in the past and they did not drive business to our store. Again, thank you for thinking of us.

I got that email in the middle of this challenge. Some other lazy videographer didn't do his or her job to actually be creative! 

Without additional engagement, it begs the question: why did they bring you in in the first place - why did you take the job?

Treat each opportunity as a chance to

  • be creative
  • lead
  • cast vision
  • negotiate budgets
  • practice marketing (which takes you back to square 1)


Here are my results (comment below - how did you fare?): 

1 strong lead out of 86 - not bad. 

4 leads total.

1 invoice created and sent with two followups.

I count the weeklong journey a success, even though by the rules of the challenge, I did not succeed. One fellow even emailed back this morning:

I love the fact you responded with a video… NICE PERSONAL TOUCH! OK, you’re my man for this shoot. We will definitely stay in contact.

So what's stopping you?

Oh, I gotta pick up Max from the vet, I'm tired and tonight's wrastling night...

You can do this. I promise. We all have responsibilities and other tasks to do. We all have relationships that need quality time. But you can do this.

Go impact some people!

Tomorrow, there will be a training at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

It's for those who are new to pitching and have never landed a four-figure video job.

This training isn't for everyone.

The videos you create will not be for everyone, and your faith will not be for everyone. Your beliefs, your artistry, and you for that matter are foolish to some people. 

Live with it.

If your thin-skin is going to stop you from doing what you say you love, then you probably didn't really love it (film/video) in the first place.

Which is why I always encourage you: don't quit.

Having said that, if the thought of asking for what you are worth scares you, if you have no idea how to land a $1,000 video job, if you have no idea of the amount of hours that you're going to put into a project and get paid for it and still be able to make ends meet, well, then this training is for you.

For now, as I learn more about webinars, I'm going to limit my seats. The largest class I ever taught at any one time was 34 students, and that was an Algebra 2 class to a group of wild and ambitious secondary students.

Seats are limited to 80 with this webinar, and over time they will increase in size, but for now it's a small brood. 

For those of you who can stay for the whole training, there will be a bonus for you at the end of the webinar. This bonus is meant to help you as you take steps towards approaching clients.

In case you missed it, this is all training for presenting yourself to investors.

Bold Mail

Michael asked what he should do about financing the post-production of his film.

I think with any project, you should look to find help from those closest to you. Your friends and family are the ones that are going to believe in you, so ask them for help, especially if you have no newsletter to speak of.

I wrote a great deal about which funding platform you should use (Tilt) for a short film here. I stand by it. I think you could also use Tilt for financing the post-production of your shoot.

As I said in the post, a big reason for using Tilt, is that they don't charge anything if you're just trying to raise funds for something.

Well that something is the post-production of your film.

If you're looking to raise $50,000 or more just for post-production, then you're going to need to be exceptionally creative. You're going to have to step outside of your comfort zone and put together a killer pitch for some investors, and you're going to need to know how to recoup your money.

I myself I'm going to be going through this pretty soon here, and I'm actively working on a big pitch. More on that to come. Good, bad, win, lose, or draw, you'll learn what not to do here on the blog.

Accept the challenge as normal to the process and go do it.

You weren’t created to be timid or fearful.

Jake the film guy

I want to encourage others and bring honor to the Almighty in everything that I do with film and video. My goal is to take the first 11 minutes of my tv pilot and seek out decision-makers who can further the conversation about developing it into a show. If my team and I can do that, then we can teach 100,000 other microbudget filmmakers how to do the same thing so that we might tell stories of hope to millions. In the meantime, I'm a son of the King, a family man, a lifelong student of film, and the author of two microbudget filmmaking books.