How I got a million followers on TikTok (and became a filmmaker)

This filmmaker is learning the importance of just trying.

Written by Zac Stracener

I think I will start from what would be the “beginning” of my story. I started out with a cheap handheld camera, like a point and shoot camera, and ended up making my first short film that was Broken bravery– that’s on YouTube. That was literally just me and a buddy in a back yard, and it was a sniper a little short. People liked it. It was okay.

A few months went by and there was a film festival coming up and I thought, “I did that a few months ago. Maybe I can do another one. ”

And I did one more all by myself – just an actor and then me with a camera and a light microphone in hand. And in the end it won the festival. I thought, “Woah, that’s cool! OK! That is actually possible. ”

Try different platforms

Lo and behold, a year and a half later I downloaded TikTok and made a video with my camera. It was a little short story that got about nine million views in a day.

I thought, “Oh my god. That’s all I ever wanted. ”

So I just kept posting and to this day I’m really trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. But at the end of the day I try to tell short stories with every video I make and post, short little scenes of a bigger story that hopefully will help inspire some people.

As for my gear, I’m now using a Sony A73 and switched to DaVinci Resolve for editing last month.

The importance of teamwork

If I didn’t have a team for everything I do, I would be nowhere. I would be in my room and run against a wall.

I recently did the Baker Grace music video for “I Feel For You” and I had a team of seven on my crew and they were really great. I couldn’t have done it without her. I think having a team helps me and my creativity. You know, I can spit ideas out to someone and they could counter that with another little piece of history that can make them even better. Maybe they can fix some bugs or uncover some problems with my original idea that I might have overlooked.

Often times I have pretty big ideas and I want to do pretty big things and I need to have someone to come back and say, “Okay, you literally have zero dollars for this shoot. It takes you two million dollars to do what you say. ”

With that in mind, working with a team is extremely important and I wouldn’t be anything without the crews I’ve worked with.

This is how you keep growing

In terms of my goals, I want to keep growing on social media, just posting the best possible content. Something I really like to challenge myself is getting better with each video and how I can improve the content. And not necessarily: “How can I get more views” or whatever. Obviously, this stuff is important, and if someone tells you it isn’t, they’re lying.

But ultimately, my goal is to get better at filmmaking and storytelling. I’m really trying to find out, “Okay, how can I tell a story in 16 seconds?”

I mean, if you can tell a story in 16 seconds, gosh, give someone two hours and you will be so much further in your ability to do that.

So, yeah, I want to keep growing in social media and paving my way into the actual film – like feature films or even series. I just wrote a feature script that is also broken down into six episodes, like a limited series. So in the end, I want to make full-length films.

My advice

One piece of advice I would give to anyone trying to do the damn thing is just do it. I think there was a long time when I kept saying, “I want to be a content creator” or “influencer” or whatever. And I got into the pattern of just saying that and telling myself that every time certain dates or events came up, I was doing videos or vlogging or whatever it might be.

But I would never, and I would never get through. But once I started and was consistent with it, I could see it bloom.

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