Hi, my name is John Holser
I’m an award winning filmmaker who’s spent the last thirty years making my living in the film and video production business making documentaries, television commercials, training films, sales meeting promotional videos and independent films.
My mission with this platform is to help any motivated filmmaker create a rewarding career making dramatic films, episodic entertainment, documentaries and promotional videos by helping them discover and use the same tools, techniques and systems used by film industry professionals as well as the fundamental cinema and story conventions taught in the best film schools.
Because it works.
You don’t need film school but you do need knowledge and skills. I know this works because that’s how I found my way into a successful filmmaking career.
In the early years I shot weddings and worked as a camera operator and then as a producer for an ABC broadcast affiliate.
I was in my late twenties before I picked up my first camera, but once I did I knew this was how I was going to spend my time. I was hungry and wanted more. I learned a lot by hanging around photographers and working as a production assistant, gaffer and best boy grip.
I didn’t go to film school.
I didn’t have the money and thought “making movies” was beyond my abilities. Looking back I realize making movies wasn’t outside my abilities but it was out of my knowledge base. The problem was – I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Since then, I’ve worked on and made hundreds movies both as a director and as a crew member. I’ve been paid to travel the world and won numerous awards for my documentary and directing work.
During this time I also spent significant time and money studying with industry pros while taking camera, lighting, directing and acting workshops.
I call this the “workshop” stage of my life, and it was some of the most fun and creatively productive time I’ve ever spent.
It seemed like opportunities just appeared out of no where.n I now realize they were no accident but were a result of study, hard work and meeting people.
I got to go to Africa and climb Mount Kilimanjaro with blind climbers. I directed a sketch comedy show with Jimmy Fallon and by taking acting classes I became a sought after “actor’s director.”
I was just working at what excited me.
I must admit that as a small town boy who dropped out of community college I’ve been blessed. But, I also must admit that I’ve worked my butt off for these opportunities and still do every day.
It’s time to give back!
It’s easy to fall into creative complacency, it’s also deadly. This is exactly why I’ve returned to studying, taking more workshops and teaching.
Over the last ten years I’ve split my time between directing, teaching, and as a film student.
I say film student, but it’s really been a self directed combination of studying filmmaking, film distribution and online platform building.
At fifty six years old I’m taking as many and maybe more courses and reading more books then I did in my twenties and thirties.
It’s a little overwhelming at times, but I know why I’m doing this, and that “why” is what keeps me going.
The reason why behind this work is fueled by my desire to work toward filmmaking mastery. I think saying I’m working to become a “master” is to focused on attaining something and based on an ego goal.
Let’s just say, I was a pretty good filmmaker ten years ago. I’m a much better filmmaker today and I hope to be ten times better ten years from now.
I find focusing on the doing more in line with satisfying progress.
I love both the process and the learning involved in making films and videos that move people’s emotions. I love the way master filmmakers expertly blend cinema, story and performance to take me on all kinds of big screen journeys.
In short, I want to spend as much time as I can immersed in learning and practicing and making movies.
That is why I’ve built this platform. This platform is a way for me to stay accountable to my goal because I’m putting it out there to a community that I respect.
I’m digesting the best information, combining it with the experience and knowledge I already have and then putting it into a new digital form available to anyone who comes to visit and hopefully study.
The process has been incredibly rewarding.
If you’d like to know more about my story please check out the video at the bottom of the page. You’ll see some of what I’ve described and you’l also meet some of my family and associates. The journey is visual and I think, I hope it will help you see that I’m just a guy who had a dream – just like you!
What this platform means to you.
My mission with this platform is to create bigger a better opportunities for motivated filmmakers by empowering them with what they don’t know, they don’t know.
Why, with what they don’t know, they don’t know?
Because when we learn something we we didn’t even know, we needed to know – a big aha moment happens. It’s like being enlightened and what previously seemed unsurmountable because it was invisible is now visible just a process we need to attend to.
It’s like the magic that happens when we apply heat to invisible ink.
When we see a goal from the perspective of a guide who’s been there we see the path, the trail is marked and we believe we can do it because we specifically see how it’s done.
The guide is the heat and the magic is the doing.
That’s what I’m about.
There are a lot of online people sharing techniques, methods and short-cuts. Many of these are valuable.
I’m also sharing material in this form because it’s easily digestible. It’s what the casual filmmaker is drawn to. But what I think is more important and ultimately more powerful is helping new and even experienced filmmakers develop a success path. A path helps the filmmaker realize and remember success is a journey. The journey is what provides opportunity to put these newly learned techniques and methods to work. And, along the way create a sustaining film and video-making career.
My journey is far from over.
I’ll be spending the rest of my life honing my craft, working with mentors, creating more short films, documentaries. Ive also got a feature or two in me. Maybe more if the gods agree 🙂
That’s the plan anyway.
Through hundreds of projects and numerous workshops I’ve learned a lot of industry methods, proven systems, and a few tricks.
Some of what I learned has been shared in blog posts, some on my Youtube channel and some in online workshops. The “school of hard knocks” lessons I’ve learned are so important I share them in all my channels. If I can spare you from making those, I’ve provided a just service.
These are the lessons that has helped me become a leader and confident in my abilities to tackle the creative challenges and logistics hurdles of projects, big a small.
I’m hoping my journey also includes helping you discover “what you don’t know” so you can create projects that move your creative life forward. I truly do love this business and I’d love to help you succeed in it.
If you’d like to take years off of your success journey, check out the video at the bottom of this page and give this blog post a read “How to Create Great Film Distribution Deals.”
It will give you insight as to what’s possible when you begin your journey with the end in mind.
Be well and good luck with whatever path you take!