A few months ago, I was contacted by a woman named Marina, who read this blog and thought I would be interested, to tell me about her company, Elastic Lab. Elastic Lab hires filmmakers of all skill levels (literally--complete beginners to professionals) to complete freelance filming assignments. They call this "crowd sourcing". They take the filmed bits,which are often interviews, edit them and put them together into films or commercials or whatever they were hired to produce.
Every single person who signs up as a freelance filmmaker gets a trial $100 project, and the company claims subsequent assignments pay anywhere from $300 to $1000 depending on what is required ($1000 is in the professional realm). Once you receive your assignment, you complete it, burn the footage onto DVDs (they take care of all the editing) and mail it in. After the first project, they pay for shipping and DVDs. As long as you complete the assignment as directed and on time, you get paid whether they use your footage or not.
Greg and I did not have a video camera at the time Marina contacted me, but we made the decision to start shopping for one because we wanted one anyway. Marina recommended purchasing one that will film straight to DVD (or mini DV), but we found those were too expensive so we chose one that records to memory. It really was not hard to upload the videos to the computer and burn them, but it does add a little extra time.
Once we received the camera, we both signed up for the site and were each given a $100 project as promised just a few days later. The project was such that we were able to interview each other--the subject was creating digital content, which we do every day, so it was easy. We were also encouraged to film "b-roll", which is personality footage with your hobbies, pets, etc. It was a lot of fun to do! We had some blips along the way, but overall it went pretty well.
We sent in our footage on Christmas Eve so I did not expect an immediate response--I think it was maybe a week and a half later, which I felt was reasonable. They gave some tips to look out for next time and said they enjoyed our footage. We received our checks by the end of that week.
That was last week, so we have not received any new assignments yet. I don't know when we will or what they will be like, but I will report when I do! As of right now, I definitely recommend Elastic Lab. I have no filmmaking experience and Greg just had a little in college (which was *ahem* years ago), and yet we were able to make some decent money doing something fun.
Check it out! If you have any questions about our experience, please comment. Perhaps Marina will stop by again and give her input on anything I left out!