one of the biggest things in filmmaking is the legal minefield that is “content”. it’s a real hassle because if content were more easily-accessible, a lot of really great films would get made for quite small amounts of money; on the other hand, people working full-time on a project or art form need to get paid so that they can support themselves - otherwise, those art forms become the preserve of people who are already wealthy. here are a couple of examples of things that anyone can take which will help to foster a sharing, but sustainable, environment. it would be great to hear about things other people are doing too:
i can’t give away everything i make (sometimes because of contractual arrangements, and sometimes just because i’ve got to pay the bills!) but there’s a lot that i can. it’s really cool seeing it used elsewhere, re-worked or used for a purpose i wouldn’t have thought of. there are two main ways i share work:
1) making it available online under a creative commons license. i do this with all of my photography. there are lots of sites that let you make your work available - some, like flickr (which i use) let you specify the license as creative commons. for others, you can simply allow people to download the work, and make it clear that the license is (CC).
2) pro-actively offering material. i regularly work with musicians, and i make sure that everyone i work with knows that if they ever need footage, they should ask. i’ve provided many musicians with hours of super8 footage, animation, that sort of thing, and seen it used in music videos (occasionally) and projections for live events (more frequently). i always offer it with no strings attached, but people often offer music for use in a project or something like that in return.
that brings me to the next part: things i use from others. there are, of course, many, but here’s a really important example: sound and music. film relies on sound massively, to more of an extent than most filmmakers recognise. for most projects i take on, i work with a musician, sound recordist or both, but there are always extra things i need (sometimes because of budget, sometimes because of unforeseen circumstances). i’ve had projects saved because musicians donated a track to a film, which is a pretty generous and amazing thing to do.
a resource i use frequently is freesound. it was created by a university in barcelona, and it is amazing - a huge repository of sounds that you can use under a creative commons (or similar) license. there are a lot of sources for things like synth music on the web, but freesound’s somewhere you can find a recording of inside grand central station new york during rush hour, or a whole pack of sounds of typewriter keys, or a running tap, or anything else you can think of. they’re generally uploaded by serious audiophiles, so the quality is often very good.
the important thing to remember with sharing (both giving and receiving) is that you’re part of an ecology: it depends on people putting in something that’s proximate to what they take out. so if you find freesound useful, for example, it’s important to think about what you can do in return - not necessarily to the person whose work you used, but to the system as a whole. maybe you do illustrations, and could make them freely available? or maybe you search freesound, can’t find what you need and have to record it - why not upload it for everyone to use in future?
it’s also important to give credit where it’s due - so i always include the source of sounds on the credits of my films, and generally try to tell people about resources like freesound to increase their profile and use.
speaking of sharing - post any good platforms for content sharing that you know of, or other more hands-on ways to exchange material, and i’ll try and find more too