8 Proven Ways to Earn More Money as a Filmmaker and Video Editor

Mar 04, 2021


In this blog post I’ll show you 8 proven ways that bring more money to any filmmaker’s bank account. If you are interested in making more money as a filmmaker or video editor keep reading.

Okay, so today let’s talk about MONEY. And how to earn more as a filmmaker or video editor.

I’ll share a few tips and tricks that have been working for me. Let’s begin!


1. Your peace of mind is more important than your customer’s peace of mind

It's tough to be a full time filmmaker or video editor if your bank balance isn't cooperating.

I have a rule. When I work with clients, I always take care of my business first. 

After all, it is MY job to produce a video, edit it, add visual effects and pay subcontractors. Client doesn’t see the process.

And you know how it goes with customers and payments. Sometimes they pay on time, sometimes they don’t.

That is why as a general rule (or in any cases you suspect there might be issues coming up) get a down payment and ALWAYS have a written contract for your job. 

I usually get a 50% upfront and 50% upon delivery of the video. You can deliver versions with a watermark, or, with a visible time code. The latter also helps with a more precise feedback.

Did I learn this after a few delayed payments and fights with customers? Probably. But better late than never, right?


2. Raise your rates after you learn a new skill

Second thing I would suggest trying, when you’re thinking about increasing your salary as a filmmaker, is to not be afraid to raise your rates after you’ve learned a new skill and can bring additional value. 

Learned After Effects? You can now animate their logo, add visual effects. 👉️ Raise your rates. 

Got a new skill in marketing and video strategy that can help your clients? 👉️ Raise your rates.

I remember when I started learning VFX. I Initially raised rates approx. $1000 per video, creating simple logo animations, transitions etc. Then I doubled my rates, once I was confident about the value I bring and how different my videos can be. Motion graphics, transitions, visual effects, fixing mistakes - all these skills were there for me whenever I needed them. It was a good investment.


3. Send cold emails 

Speaking of new skills in marketing. Have you heard of sending cold emails? Have you ever sent them?

I highly encourage you to send cold emails to potential customers. Why is that?

Some of my biggest projects to date were the result of a cold email marketing, so do not underestimate it. 

I’ve sent maybe 50 emails that led to two $4000 jobs so the return on investment was pretty dang good. But don’t be discouraged if it takes 200 to get a single lead.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Create a list of emails to local entrepreneurs or their marketing departments.
  2. Create a personalized offer. It’s important that it’s specified to their business and does not look like a general email you’ll send to dozens of other businesses.
  3. Send it!

If you would like to try it watch the tutorial below to learn more. I highly recommend it, I used a few tips by myself. And they worked.

Here’s a great video from Florian Land's channel covering the topic:


4. Avoid problematic customers

Well, there is no happy customer without a happy filmmaker. Or at least there shouldn't be. 

Before you start making your customers happy, take care of yourself first. 

Have you ever had a problematic client that was a pain in the butt, but always came back? Don’t hesitate to raise your rates when working for him. These clients usually need extra time/care from you. Make it worth your while.

Or exchange them for someone better, for example someone who will answer one of your cold emails. 😉


5. Don’t work for free

Another tip is - Don’t work for free unless YOU suggested it (for example if it’s a great company you’d love to have in your portfolio). Don’t fall for other people messaging you and offering a job in exchange for “exposure”.

It’s just a huge waste of time.


6. Join filmmaking/support groups

If you feel lonely in the filmmaking world, join filmmaking/support groups on Facebook. Not only you’ll learn new tricks but you may get some jobs by showing off your skills. 

I know I have got jobs that way more than once to help them with VFX (and they are still my returning clients!).


7. Keep your customers happy

Did you know that it’s easier to keep an existing customer than to get a new one?

So if you want to keep your existing customers for longer, take good care of them. 

For example on Christmas or at the end of the year send them a small gift and tell them in the note that you loved working with them. Doesn’t matter how small the gift is, they will ALWAYS appreciate it. 

Guess who will pop into their mind first the next time they need another video?

Or when someone asks them about a filmmaker they recommend?

Yes, you. 😁

Also them sharing the photos of the gift on social media is always a great bonus pr.


8. Go the extra mile - always

But apart from gifts and special occasions I’m 100% sure that the following tip is the most important when we’re speaking of work with a customer.

Go the extra mile - always. 

Under promise and over deliver. Always be on time and send your project before the due date if possible. They’ll appreciate it more than you may realize.

And they WILL come back.

Yes, this is super obvious, but guess what? Many filmmakers forget about this rule. As a result, customers keep looking for different video masters. 

I usually (80% of jobs let’s say) work with clients more than one time. Just because they know that they can count on me.



As you well know, working as a filmmaker or a video editor, especially as a freelancer, can be tough and unpredictable. Sometimes it is difficult to financially plan for the next month. It's best to work on several fronts and increase the chances of getting another high-paid job.

So how exactly do you earn more money as a filmmaker/video editor?

Improve your skills and raise your rates as a result.
Learn about video marketing (for example try sending personalized cold emails and get new customers).
Keep your existing customers happy so that they come back with more jobs.

Have you tried everything from the list above?

If not - will you try?


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