How I Made 6+ Figures: Editing Stock
By Caleb Rexius
Let’s Talk Money
I don’t love talking about the financial side of being a filmmaker, editor, or any other creative professional.
It’s not real comfortable, it’s all relative, and for most of us, it’s not the ultimate goal while we pursue a career in this field.
At least, it wasn’t for me.
I’d much rather talk about gear, directing, tips and tricks, software hacks, BTS stories, etc.
You know, the fun stuff.
But, money is important.
We have to talk about it.
In fact, it’s essential for sustaining a career in video, marketing, or content creation.
So, I want to share a story + strategy that I used to make over 6 figures in less than a year… only using stock.
5 years ago, I was about 4 years into being a full-time video freelancer. I always loved filming custom shoots for clients and projects, so most of my projects had a “custom shot” element to them.
But I began to realize something: it wasn’t always necessary.
And if I had the right stock footage (and music), I could create really great videos for myself and clients, and create them FAST. But it always relied on one very important component: contemporary, consistent, cost-efficient stock footage.
I needed it to look custom-shot, in a cool style, that matched my aesthetic.
This was very hard to find.
Actually, it was impossible to find.
The Original Collection
So I began filming, not for any project or client in particular, but for me. A library that I could use for the coming months and years. I shot footage of friends, families, workers, scenery, etc.
Let me stop here for a moment to clarify something: This is not meant to encourage you to go shoot your own stock footage library. It was a lot of work. I was kind of forced to do this, and I was very fortunate to be close to mountains, beaches, big cities, small towns, and many more photogenic locations.
The moral of the story is what happened next.
Time to Work
Over the next 6 months, due to a number of personal and circumstantial reasons, I couldn’t shoot. But I had to produce a ton of client work fast, inexpensive, and high-quality.
So, I used this stock library. My stock library. Again and again. Over and over.
Different moods, different genres, different clients, different projects.
My clients were winning, and so was I.
Having a cool stock footage library that met my aesthetic and content requirements was an absolute game changer, not just for my quality of projects, but for the quantity of projects I was able to get done so quickly.
I found that I was spending so much time, money, and effort meeting these custom filming requirements for my clients. And when I eliminated that aspect from most of my projects, I flew. I accelerated my capacity.
Once again, I don’t love talking $$$, but let’s just say I more than cleared 6 figures over that 6 month span, just editing stock footage at my computer from home. I was very efficient.
- conference promos
- music videos
- lyric videos
- book promotional videos
- motivational videos
- and so much more.
…all from stock.
It opened my eyes to what was possible when I had the right footage at my fingertips.
The Birth of Filmpac
Now, maybe you can guess where the rest of the story goes from here.
But if not, continue reading:
At the time, even though I had this cool, small, private library to myself, there were no really great options on the market that captured these 3 elements well: Contemporary. Consistent. Cost-Effective.
So, I thought to myself, “hey, this has been really useful to me. I wonder if this library could be useful to other video editors?”.
The answer was yes. Filmpac was born.
Launched in 2017, we’ve grown from a tiny, boutique stock footage library to a leader in the footage and music licensing space, with a large and highly-useful comprehensive library.
The Goal Remains
But the original intent, mission, and goal remains the same, from my first shoot to my goal while writing this blog post, 5 years later: Help creatives win.
It started with myself and now extends to thousands around the globe, supported by our amazing Filmpac team of creative pros, tech wizards, content creators, composers, and more.
My hope is that you can use Filmpac to help grow your business, finances, and ultimately, build more freedom and fulfilment in what you do.
Caleb is the Founder and Creative Director at Filmpac