Albert Beniada - Executive Director of Filmshop

Hello. I am a screenwriter and director, and executive director of FIlmshop.

Founded in 2009, Filmshop is a non-profit cooperative of independent filmmakers and media producers committed to developing new work through peer support and collaboration. Four chapters in Brooklyn and Manhattan (and a fifth in New Orleans in 2018) meet weekly to workshop projects, offer constructive critique, and incubate new ideas. Filmshop also hosts public screenings to celebrate the work of our nearly 200 active members and to share their work with the local community.

As a filmmaker and member of Filmshop myself, I can discuss how the community has influenced my own artistic development and ways that you can effectively support (and lean on) fellow filmmakers as you develop new work. Happy to also answer questions about the ins and outs of running a filmmaker cooperative that supports the diverse needs of content creators—and the benefits of joining one. I can also offer advice on the subtle art of giving and receiving feedback.

You can read more about Filmshop here: http://www.thefilmshop.org.

You can stay in touch with me directly here (https://twitter.com/abeniada) and here (https://www.instagram.com/abeniada/).

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Welcome, Albert! First question- what is your personal background in film, and how did you get involved with Filmshop?

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welcome to the forum, dude. whats a “cooperative” of filmmakers? and how does it differ from a casual like writing meet up or regular networking event?

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Hi Albert!! Welcome! Can you talk about how your group “supports the diverse needs of content creators”? I think that’s super relevant to us here- we’re all at different stages and have different levels of experience and are interested in different parts of the filmmaking process yet we’re all here together.

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Thanks for getting things started. I work as a writer and director, both on the fiction and the non-fiction side. I learned about Filmshop in its early days when it was a smaller group of about 25 filmmakers. I went to an open house, applied and joined, and haven’t left.

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When you say you “work as” a writer/director, do you mean that’s your full time gig? If so- how did you make that happen, and how can we all ALSO do that? (also what projects have you made/been a part of?)

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What do you mean by “apply”? Do you have to apply to be a part of the collective? Why, and what are the conditions?

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Hi Albert! Do you have any advice for getting views/eyes on your online projects? Marketing, social media, or anything else? I’m pretty confident in the production and development stuff, but after I make something… I got nothing. :slight_smile:

Great question Sam. A cooperative, or collective, of filmmakers, as I think about it, is a group that supports each other in common goals and that derives benefits by being associated with a larger community. I think the feeling of connection to the greater Filmshop community is palpable among our membership.

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For people who aren’t in New York or nearby, is there the possibility of Skyping in? For example, I imagine a writer doesn’t necessarily need to be in the same place as the crew.

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what does being in the collective offer, aside from the networking and feedback opportunities? do you guys have, like, members-only deals on insurance or gear or anything? pitch opportunities?

Hi! I’m an aspiring director and writer and I was wondering if you had any advice about being a director with not much money and newbie crew and not feeling super comfortable making camera angle and lighting choices?

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Another great question. We support our members, on one level, by giving them a forum to share their work with a diverse community of fellow working filmmakers. We place a lot of emphasis on goal setting as well, and at each weekly meeting, each member announces their goals and asks for the week. Those are shared with everyone else in our collective, and there is so much support that comes out of that process alone.

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That’s cool! We actually do goal sharing and check ins on this forum too- has been SUPER helpful! Do you tend to group people/workshops by the type of filmmakers they are? Unscripted with unscripted, directors with directors, writers with writers, etc? Or how do you organize meetings with such diverse people?

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On this subject- do you guys have any concrete production support once a person is ready to shoot? Do you help produce or location scout or crowdfund or anything? Or just develop and provide moral support?

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Ah, one day! Now, I am fortunate that I have a side gig (not directly related to filmmaking) that pays the bills and doesn’t take up too much mental bandwidth (something I recommend). That allows me to focus on writing and making my own work. I have worked on short form content up to this point, and I am in development on a feature.

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Hi Jaime. Yes, membership is by application. We strive to keep our chapters both intimate (around 20 members per chapter) and diverse. We feel a vetting process helps ensure that we bring together a strong group of filmmakers with diverse skills and vantage points.

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Can you expand on what you guys look for in an applicant? Also, how long are you guaranteed a spot if you’re accepted, especially if there are only 20 members per chapter? Do you have “term limits” or do you just add a chapter when you run out of those first 20 slots, or what?

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Is it possible to start a chapter somewhere other than the two cities you mentioned? How do you guys determine where to expand to/if to expand?

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Hey, Albert! Love what you wrote about Filmshop- seems like a really cool idea! How do you think the web series/indie film community as a whole can do better at amplifying voices that are shut out of traditional Hollywood opportunities, to show traditional media that people want more than a rotating cast of the same 10 rich, hetero white guys starring in every show and movie remake deemed profitable?

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