Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Deal: 7" HDMI Monitor for $39

 One of my videos that seems to get watched quite regularly is my $56 7" HDMI car monitor that I made work as a field monitor. It still works, and is one of my better finds. That same monitor (and this one) is now $39, and would be the lowest I had ever seen it, had I not seen it yesterday for $29! Of course, I wasn't able to post about it in time, but I couldn't believe how low that price was.

Still, $39 is pretty darn good for this type of screen. Sure, you have to use some cable adapters and battery add-ons (watch the video for more info), but it works really well and I put it into use shooting my short film Invader from a couple of years ago. If you need an almost-HD monitor and are strapped for cash, check these out. They're good deals and fit the frugal bill.

Coming Up for Air

It's been a long time since I last posted anything, and it feels even longer. It's only been six months, but in that time I've been able to step back from almost everything Frugal Filmmaker and attempt to re-assess what I am currently doing and what I want to do in the future.

I've been on a self-imposed social media blackout of sorts, with no posts here and no new videos since last September. It wasn't my intention to go under the radar (and I have still posted to the Facebook Group, Twitter, and Instagram), but the more I didn't do it, the easier it became to just relax for a change. No deadlines, no crazy schedule, no pressure.

Of course, relaxation of this sort completely disrupts any momentum that you are trying to build for your brand. Declining numbers on all Frugal Filmmaker fronts are ample (and expected) evidence that staying away will not promote growth. And actually, I'm okay with that. It is this interruption that has caused me to shift my focus in a new direction that I can live with.

The catalyst for this change was a full-time job that was more demanding than I expected (duh). Initially, I was very frustrated that I could not maintain the weekly, dual-video schedule that I had maintained over the past few years, and work full time. Something had to give and it was the "jobby" that was not able to support the family. At first, the Q&A show went back into hibernation, then my main video releases stopped.

In my "Where did I go?" video I mentioned falling into a "creative coma" and felt a newfound difficulty/fear of just talking into a camera. I had been away for so long it was no longer second nature--it was downright uncomfortable. I had no desire to do it again. Not because I didn't want to, but because I couldn't justify the pressure I was putting on myself. So, I stopped applying it.

During the downtime of wondering how or if to return, I was always comforted by you wonderful folks out there (you know who you are), who have sent me positive vibes during this tough time. Almost every other day I would get an email or a comment either asking me to return, or to just hang in there. Though I rarely answered, I was always lifted up by the kind thoughts of others. I don't quite know how to express the gratitude I feel for the wave of support these past few months other than to just say thank you.

When I started the Frugal Filmmaker in 2010, a major goal was to earn a living building this brand. Well, it hasn't happened how I planned, but I'm okay with that. While I am going to start releasing videos and blogging again, I won't force myself to be on a rigid schedule. If I can produce weekly videos, I will. If I can't, I won't. I'm not going to let analytics run my life. It's not realistic and not worth the self-imposed stress.

Though significantly reduced, I'm still making an income from YouTube, Amazon and eBay (and some PayPal donations).  Since I now help to support the family by working full time, all the income generated by TFF will now be reinvested in the channel and the short films I want to produce. I've considered Patreon, but I like the fact that even though the monthly money is modest, the channel is now self-sufficient.

I want to make films and want to share the things I learn as I attempt to become a better filmmaker. That goal has never changed. What has changed is that this isn't an attempt to make a living anymore. It's a way to achieve a sense of creative satisfaction through narrative storytelling. That's all. The rest is just gravy.


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