Apologies for coming into the chat a bit late. Afraid it's a bit of a long post, so grab a cup of tea...or a brick to throw at the screen! Hehehe.
I'll start with a little bit of a story:
We had a new starter at work a few months back who came a sat next to me. It turned out he was an avid film maker! What you might call an 'Idie filmaker'. I mentioned 'The IAC' to him. Never heard of it, was the response! I recently showed him the mag and pointed out the three major selling points of 'The IAC' (music license, our BIAFF competition and the mag). His general response was that it would not make him join. On looking through the mag he pointed our the seniority of the people in the pictures. They were not of his peer group.
My observation of 'hobby' film making, and I maybe completely off the rails here, is that the senior film makers are those who set up the clubs in the past to enjoy their hobby when life was not full of as many distraction as there are today. Committes were formed, constitutions founded, Chairman, treasurer and secretary appointed, etc and so on and so forth....then film making could commence.
Today, the systems still works for those people who are now retired and able to enjoy their hobby all the more and still run the clubs.
But the thing is, the next generation of film makers (and there are a lot of them) just want to make films. They don't want the constraints of a formal club. Instead they have loose groups, search out projects to work on, advertise for people to come and help. It works, many films get made and if I am honest some are really outstanding and boardering on professional.
And to be honest this is how I really would like to make film. In fact two years ago I did just that and made a film about the environment with 20 people from 9 countries. It was an amazing experience...even life changing for me!
So my thoughts are, if 'The IAC' is to survive and grow it really does have to evolve. Things can stay as they are if people want. There is nothing wrong in that. The downside of course is that it will fold, but hobbyist film making will go on regardless.
However, I don't think any of us in 'The IAC', regardless of age want that to happen. Simply because there is soooo much potential for 'The IAC' to serve a purpose and grow to meet that purpose.
And here's the thing: What is the the purpose, objective and dersired outcome for 'The IAC'?
For me 'The IAC' should be for any one with a life long or passing interest in the audio-visual arts in all its forms. It should encompass and be accessable to those who are:
- Film students hoping to go pro
Families who want to improve their family event captures on video
Indie film makers who want to collaborate with anyone and everyone
Schools who what to give their students of all ages an opportunity and experience at the audio-visual media
Single film makers who just want to do their own thing
Senior people who want to do things their way
Club people who like the social approach
Pros who what to delve into the unpaid and hobbyist world.
And any other group I have not been able to think of!
In order to tap into all the above the real key is the website. It should be an amazing and inviting, enticing 'portal' for all the above to find what they need.
In a nutshell the aim has to be for 'The IAC' website to be a single source for film making knowledge, experience, equipment guides, genre explanations, script writing help, music advice, filming making skills basic, intermediate and advanced. In needs to be the place to go for every film maker pro or not! Some pages can be for everyone. Then to entice membership the more interesting stuff can only be accessed by members perhaps?
I know a lot of work and upkeep goes into maintaining the website by a small number of people, but with all respect the homepage does not SCREAM Film Making at me. Where are the pictures of film crews, clapper boards, sound equipment, actors, projection equipment, scripts and the ability to clip on each of those images to easily find out more? The only 'slight' nod to film making is the 'IAC' badge on a film background. As I say, I really do appreciate the effort that goes into the website, but it really needs to draw people in.
Following on from that, there could be training courses and collaboration days advertised for everyone as well as the special interest groups, but with huge
discounts for members.
Why not collaborate with universities and colleges. Have student membership rates with reduced competition entry fees. It's just finding ways of helping bring film makers together. It could be a link to the professionals and professional organisations for those who want to make that step into the pro world. It coulld enable the pros to access the film making enthusiast world.
On reading some of the comments above to me 'The Institute of Amateur Cinematographers' should not be an institute, amateur or just about cinematographers. It is a British Organisation for the Audio-Visual Arts!
I feel that if the 'IAC' is to not just survive, but to grow and thrive, then this is what it needs to evolve to - and swiftly!
But if the 'IAC' is to evolve so that it can engage with as many people as possible who have an interest in the Audio-Visual arts then maybe we need to re-visit what the purpose, objective and desired out come is for 'The IAC'.
I kinda think until all the above is agreed upon, then we can not progress how to retain and attract members to this audio-visual/film making arts community.
Once there then 'The IAC' needs to understand what would make each group/type of film maker want to join the new 'IAC'. What would attract them? What would they be able to get out of it? What would 'The IAC' offer that that film makers could not get elsewhere? We really need to put ourselves in their shoes and not second guess them.
When we have that under our belts then I guess we can start to build up the relevant 'facilities'/support structure/subject areas, etc, so that it is ready to go. Then the advertising can begin with great gusto and be properly targeted, for instance:
Adverts in universities that do video courses.
Camcorder sales points, including the web sales points.
Forums where indie film makers hang out.
An advertising guide for clubs to help them recruit.
I've thown some ideas out up above and in doing so I hope I have not put anyones nose out of joint. Apologies if I have, but as I say, we need to evolve. I hope it helps a little, because I want the British Organisation for the Audio-Visual Arts to thrive! Ooops! Hehehee.