Jamie McKeller - Director for RedShirt Films


(Jamie McKeller) #1

Hi all!

My name is Jamie McKeller, and I started creating content for online release in 2012 under the banner RedShirt Films.

To date we’ve released three web series with varying success. Our horror comedy series “I AM TIM” has picked up a few awards along the way, with the elusive Snobby Robot “Best Series” award as my favourite! Our scifi comedy show “The Away Mission” has premiered in festivals around the world, and (at least in terms of view count) our tabletop gaming / drinking hard romcom “Nights at the Round Table” still finds new viewers to this day.

About a year ago a pilot for a web series called “The Book Club” won awards at Raindance, and with some startup money from DailyMotion we were able to develop it into our first feature film project which we’re in the middle of shooting this week. The project into “CHESTERSBERG”, and stars Primeval actor Andrew Lee Potts as well as an amazing cast of RedShirt regulars.

You can find our YouTube channel here - https://www.youtube.com/c/redshirtfilms

CHESTERSBERG website here - http://www.chestersberg.com/

I’m heavily involved in every step of our productions, from inception to release so I guess you can Ask Me Anything!

I would say that my real areas of expertise are writing, directing and editing. As we’ve expanded I now work with a producer, production manager, with art and costume directors and DOPs taking the lead and collaborating with me on projects.

Have at it!


We've got an AMA for that!
(Bri Castellini) #2

Hey Jamie! Thanks for being here today! To start: when did you first get into film, and, specifically, when did you decide to enter into the world of web series?


(Meg Carroway) #3

Hi Jamie! You mentioned startup money from DailyMotion- what do you mean by that?


(Hailey Harper) #4

YES A DIRECTOR! Hi Jamie! I’m Hailey and I’m prepping to direct my first project! Student, but still! Do you have any advice for new directors who aren’t as comfortable with the technical aspects- lighting, camera angles, etc?


(Jamie McKeller) #5

Hi Bri! Thanks for the opportunity to connect with some fellow creators. :slight_smile:

I was an actor in film and theatre from the early 1990s, so always had some kind of connection to the industry. When I hit 30 in 2010, I was more interested in behind the camera stuff. I did a lot of theatre directing, but filmmaking was this mad, far off world that was super expensive and seemed unachievable… but I decided to give it a crack.

My first work to be released into the world was the 1st episode of I Am Tim, which sits there today as an example of how things evolved over the last seven (SEVEN? WHAT!) years. Webseries felt like what the Fringe was to theatre, and seemed like the most accessible avenue.


(Bri Castellini) #6

@Evie_Marie_Warner @movieguyjon @filmwritr4 @Ian_David_Diaz @samlockie @JimiJimi @mintypineapple @kmd @SecretLivesPS @hermdelica @OSTSG @ghettonerdgirl


(Jamie McKeller) #7

I entered a pilot into the competition, and it won the public and then judges vote. Part of that prize was a cash injection to kickstart the project. DailyMotion changed their platform around the time I won, so I applied that money to upgrading our gear to use on the feature project. The rest has (so far) come from crowdfunding and investment.


(Joseph Steven Heath) #8

I do a lot of things myself and have been struggling to try and actually start having a crew. Any tips or thoughts on doing that?


(Meg Carroway) #9

Investment from yourself, you mean? Also, since you brought up crowdfunding… what’s your strategy for that? What has/hasn’t worked?


(Jamie McKeller) #10

Hi Hayley!

If you can, find people who are passionate about the more technical aspects. If you can find someone who loves lighting, someone who enjoys sound recording, costume design… that is a huge help. I’m a self taught editor (thanks YouTube) who can shoot, but I’d much rather collab with a director of photographer who knows more about lighting than I do, then combine our practical knowledge.


(sam lockie-waring) #11

do you have an official production company, or is that just a name you guys use?


(Ollie R) #12

Hey dude! Thanks for stopping in! You do a lot of horror stuff, yeah? People tend to consider horror a great “starting genre” for new filmmakers- do you agree? Why or why not?


(Jamie McKeller) #13

I started with the idea for I Am Tim, and the script for the first episode. I made a Facebook group for the project and invited people to it, with access to the script… then asked “who wants in?” When we started we had a guy shooting on DV tape, onboard sound and a special effects make up person. As the project rolled on, more and more people came to it.

On Chestersberg (the film I’m currently shooting) we have a crew of 15 which is still crazy small but the perfect number for this project.


(Jonathan Hardesty) #14

Hey there! Thanks for coming in to answer questions for us. What’s your current strategy for getting your content seen on social media? Curious how you push through the algorithms and the noise.


(Hailey Harper) #15

Thanks!! Don’t I need to have some concept of what I want in that department on my own, though? How do I know when it’s a good story choice to have, say, a close up shot of an actor?


(Jamie McKeller) #16

For earlier projects, yes. I poured money in from my own tiny bank account.

For the current project, no. I’ve had some investment that came from people impressed by our back catalogue.

There’s no hard science to crowdfunding sadly. Make a bloody good video, have a good FAQ, hammer the hell out of it every single second it’s running. Set daily goals, fight to hit them.


(Bri Castellini) #17

What are your tips for maximizing your resources on a budget, especially for filmmakers who don’t have access to particularly amazing equipment or locations outside of their own apartments/homes?


(Jamie McKeller) #18

We are RedShirt Films, a name we gave ourselves five years ago.

www.redshirtfilms.com / www.facebook.com/redshirtfilms


(Meg Carroway) #19

What would go into a good FAQ, in your opinion?

And on your current project- congrats on the investments!! Did you have to contact those people directly, or did they find you because you’re prolific and involved?


(sam lockie-waring) #20

right but is that like “legally” a production company? or just a good umbrella name for branding and organization purposes? curious about people like @Jeanette_Bonner who did one of these a few weeks ago who has a legit, legal production company and whether that’s a good idea