Ever wanted to make a YouTube video but just been lacking in inspiration? Film Prompt Society might be just what you need.
Creative block affects everyone and, after experiencing it, it can be hard to motivate yourself to start creating again. However, Joolz Zenda, Jay Moussa-Mann and Jamie from jamiedoesthings may just have found a solution. Film Prompt Society aims to inspire small YouTubers to overcome their doubts and just create, by uploading prompts at the start of the month and livestreams at the end. It allows creators to improve their skills and build a community, chatting to others about their work.
Initially inspired by DoodleTube, a channel that encourages creators to take on new art challenges, Joolz wanted to replicate the community she quickly found herself part of. “I saw an improvement in my drawings really quickly from this regular practice and a little community formed that I loved being a part of,” she says. “I wondered if a similar format could work for filmmaking so I came up with the concept for Film Prompt Society and asked around to see if any of my friends wanted to help me out with running it. Jay and Jamie were really enthusiastic about the idea from the start.”
“I jumped at the chance,” affirms Jamie. “We committed to keeping it casual but we were all keen and started thinking up ideas for formatting and names – I thought Film Prompt Society said everything it needed to and had the bonus of the abbreviation FPS, just in case you forgot we worked with film! After that, Joolz made up some amazing artwork and we just went ahead and launched, knowing it may not take off, but all being ready to try.”
With the project running for five months to date, there have already been some amazing creations. For Jamie and Jay, Joolz’s video A Day in the Life of a Smartphone is a highlight, with Jay saying that “it’s stop motion and the puppet she made is so beautiful.” Joolz adds that Henry, known as Zuparnowa on YouTube, creates some of her favourite videos. “He creates computer simulations and games and works them into his videos in such a unique and creative way. I’m always excited to see what he comes up with.” Our current favourite over at TenEighty HQ is Jamie’s video YouTube is a Garden.
With many YouTubers being increasingly focused on the importance of making excellent quality content, FPS celebrates just creating, regardless of how much time, money, or fancy equipment you have. Joolz, in particular, is trying to combat the misconception that creators need to spend a lot of time on their videos.
“The hardest part has been convincing new people to participate in creating videos,” she admits. “It sounds like a rather daunting task, especially to someone who’s not made videos before. I’ve been trying to make it as clear as possible that the videos don’t need to be something you spend a lot of time on, they should be something you can throw together in an afternoon or two. The idea is just to practice and it’s OK if it’s not perfect.”
Jamie echoes this. “The group is growing slowly, but we did expect that and are fine with it…Someone might be sitting and watching for eight months before finding the courage and the time to make a video response. Equally, someone might discover the channel today by reading this article, and then sit and watch for eight months before being able to start! We just have to keep encouraging people, and popping up in their sub boxes again and again to chip away at their doubts and insecurities…If it’s difficult for viewers to get started, I hope they feel they can get in touch with us so we can help out.”
Despite occasional difficulties, the three have learnt a lot from the project. “It’s been great seeing other people’s films and discovering ways of making a film that I would never have thought of,” says Jay. “It inspires me to try new styles. I think it’s teaching me to think outside the box.”
Jamie adds that “on the film front I’ve learned that it always to take longer to make something that’s new to you than you’d think, but that it’s worth the effort.”
“I’ve learned to try more things and experiment more,” Joolz mentions. “I’ve made some videos for FPS that I’m really proud of that I know I wouldn’t have otherwise. But not just in creative projects, I sat on the idea of FPS for almost six months before doing anything about it. I’m trying not to overthink things so much in future and just give it a go and see what works.”
So what are their hopes for the future of FPS?
Joolz has some specifics in mind: “The initial plan was to run it for a year then decide what to do next. I’m hoping to keep it going for longer than that but perhaps we’ll shake things up a bit when May comes around…We’ve talked about creating a discord server to give people a place to discuss ideas and help each other out so that’s probably something we’ll be doing in the next month or so.”
“I’d love to see people who have maybe never attempted filmmaking but always wanted to feel that FPS is a safe space to try their hand at it,” says Jay. “It would be great to see new and unique styles of filmmaking grow out of this community.”
“The ultimate dream would be to have a new person coming up to us and saying ‘I made my first video because of FPS!’,” Jamie adds. “I finally started creating and sharing my own work because of a reply from an established creator back in the day, and it was an amazing moment – feeling like you matter, like your ideas have worth, like someone you respect has heard and listened to you. You feel validated, and motivated. Everyone should get to feel that way, but sometimes it takes some prompting. I would love to give that feeling to someone else.”
But for now, the three are enjoying running the project as a collaborative effort and building a community together. “Each of us have our own styles and interests so we can do something a bit different each month and we can tailor the challenge to something specific if one of us has a particular skill they want to work on,” says Joolz.
For Jay, community is the most important part of FPS. “Particularly during the livestreams it’s good that we can bounce off each other and encourage each other. I think that’s probably what’s at the heart of FPS – knowing there are others out there in the same position as you and all wanting to see each other create.”
Jamie mentions that “it helps knowing there are other people who’ve got your back and will keep things going if you have to miss a livestream or two if things ever get a bit overwhelming, or if more pressing real-life issues get in the way.”
“And the support of like-minded people makes it even easier and more fun to find and support new creators,” they add. “The community aspect of YouTube, and small YouTube in particular, is one of the best things to come out of the site. There are some really cool people creating things online and I hope lots of them will be friends for life.”
Are you a small YouTuber? We love spotlighting up-and-coming creators, but we’re not always on top of all the emerging talent in the community. To make sure you’re on our radar, fill out our Small YouTuber form!