After the Class: How A Filmmaker Used Online Learning to Better Understand Clients
Karl Stelter is a filmmaker who creates branded films for businesses, and soulful narrative films when time allows. He joined us for Jasmine Star’s recent course ‘Branding Strategies to Grow Your Business.’ Learn about his leap into the creative world of filmmaking and how online education has impacted his business.
I wanted to challenge the way people understand the world.
Seven years ago, I left a family business that was doing well. It wasn’t because I was upset or didn’t get along with my family (I worked for my Dad for 1.5 years and loved every moment), I left because I wanted something different.
I wanted to challenge the way people understand the world. To ask life’s most difficult questions. So I moved to Los Angeles to teach myself film from scratch. I made something like $12,000 the first year BEFORE costs were included. This was also the year I got engaged, and felt significant pressure to quit get a ‘real job.’
I said no, and I asked my fiance to trust me. She did
Now married 4 years later (and she’s started her own wedding photography company on the side!)—we’re seeing that hard work paying off in a big way. Not only am I making films that I care about, I’m making good money doing it.
However, my branding has never caught up to my work, and it’s starting to become a liability with larger clients. I’m talking to potential clients and making up branding on the fly. Clients are not just wanting a cohesive brand, they’re requiring it.
Online education has helped me learn how to balance personal time and projects
Business-wise I’ve struggled with attracting the right type of client for two reasons: not knowing where to find them, and having a poorly defined ‘specialty’. As an outgrowth of this (and saying yes to about anything), balancing personal time and projects has been a huge challenge. I took Jasmine’s class because I’m actively searching for clarity on both.
Jasmine Star has long been an idol of mine not just because of her success in business, but her personal journey. Every personal film I make is a reflection of me, a life lesson I’ve learned, that I’ve challenged myself to share with others so that they can live a richer life.
Every corporate film I make is from the heart. She has inspired me to hustle with a specific direction in mind (not just ‘get more revenue’), which has led to clarity with not only the next few months of my business, with the next few years.
Creating fictional clients helped me find my real clients
Defining my Ideal Client is the basis for everything–and hearing Jasmine talk about the fictional “Elle” in such crisp detail, it pushed me to redefine what ‘being specific’ actually meant! And without a clear picture of who I’m trying to attract, I won’t know if I’ve found them let alone know how to market to them!
Also, I’ve been able to use creativity to bridge perspectives. We all experience life differently and as a result, we all have very different perspectives. But I believe that life is largely the same: we’ve just been given different pieces of the puzzle. My dream as a filmmaker is to collect these pieces to share an emotion or experience where words fall short.
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