Signe Baumane on How To Be A Full-Time Filmmaker


A test frame from Signe Baumane’s feature film in progress

NY filmmaker Signe Baumane (Teat Beat of Sex) is working on her first animated feature Rocks In My Pockets and documenting the progress on her blog. During the past month, she wrote an incredible seven-part series about a topic that nobody ever talks about publicly: fundraising and how an independent animator can afford to make films while living in New York. Bottomline: It’s not easy.

Many filmmakers make films occasionally inbetween commercial film projects, whereas Signe takes a firm and principled stance that puts her independent filmmaking above all other activities. Her free-flowing and often funny articles touch on countless different subjects: applying for grants, why Kickstarter doesn’t work for her, accepting non-film art projects that support her filmmaking habit, and the difficulties of budgeting living expenses when one isn’t earning anything. Unfortunately, the posts aren’t categorized, but start in the October archive with Fundraising Story 1 and work your way up. Her writings provide a sobering and realistic perspective on the life of an independent filmmaker.

(Thanks, Michael Sporn, for the tip)


  • thomas

    That was really inspirational.

    What I plan on doing is just living with a bunch of hippies or activists, work once a week at “norm” job, get food from donations or Food Not Bombs and use then use the rest of my time animating with all the tools and resources I have with my pc, mac, and random stuff I find in garbage cans for stop motions/textures…I don’t think I’d need money for anything else but rent.

    Traveling? I’ll trainhop and hitchhike, yo.

  • Abu

    Good luck with that. Don’t get married or have children or your plan will *never* work. Wait for that stuff for after you have accomplished your goals. Stay focused and it may work out.

    • amid

      Abu – Signe has kids.

      • Abu

        Well that’s pretty amazing then, especially living in NY. I only have one kid and we are currently *barely* getting by, let alone trying to produce a film! Then actually having time to work on something like that! If Signe can actually produce a film under those conditions, even if its not great, then that is truly amazing.

        I’ll have to really check out the blog, maybe I can find some survival tips as well as inspiration.

      • Abu

        And my comment was directed toward Thomas and not Signe. But I will say that having kids and still having time to do such work with little to no money is amazing.

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    One of only 6 animation blogs worth reading.

  • cathy j

    Great blog!!! Thank you so much!!

  • http://mrscriblam.tumblr.com/ mrscriblam

    what a crazy, wonderful, genius of a woman.

    i cant wait to see this film transpire.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    Applause for anyone who gets a movie done, method be damned. The production stills from POCKETS look great.

    However, “I was able to… save money on dinners paid by many wonderful men” is not necessarily an endearing thing to say.

    • http://niffiwan.livejournal.com/ Niffiwan

      It doesn’t matter. It’s the honest thing to say, and I admire her immensely for it.

  • http://tedzey.wordpress.com tedzey

    What a great person! I remember talking to her at MoCCA fest about making an indie picture these days. Very inspirational!