Welcome to FilmMates

 Indie filmmakers – let’s learn to think like entrepreneurs!



Making a film is like falling in love

Don’t you think? You get a burning idea, and you just have to follow the story no matter what. That honeymoon phase. Then the relationship becomes rocky. You must find funds to keep going. To pay for your crew, your travel, your production, and myriad other necessities. Most of the time you do not pay yourself.

You do crowdfunding. Submit grant proposals. Remortgage your house, beg, borrow, steal. Often times, you go into debt. Tireless days and sleepless nights.

But finally, your film is DONE. Woohoo!  Now what?  How can you get your film seen? You spend more money on film festivals, press materials, consultants. Right? And your next film, you start this process all over again. 

Does this sound like a good business model?

I believe we can do this differently.  Filmmakers ARE like entrepreneurs but we often don’t know how to treat our profession as a business, how to attract the right audience, and, yes, how to make money! 

So, what is FilmMates™?

Like soulmates, playmates, or just plain, “mates’, FilmMates is a program that brings makers together, to focus on the business and marketing side of filmmaking.  Learn to make your movies faster, easier and turn a profit. Adopt entrepreneurial tactics, strategies — and most importantly — new ways of thinking.  As an independent filmmaker, you can muddle through on your own, but we are better together!


Build Campaign Strategy

Identify your Call to Action. Develop clear and consistent messaging. Drive Impact. Champion your cause!

Find your Audience

Do you want to get your audience to really listen to you? Explore how to find and talk to your audience. Create diehard fans who will help fund and and distribute your film.


Think like a Marketer

Do you believe your film can enhance peoples lives? It is a crime not to reach those who need it!

Monetize your Product

Identify ways to make money with your film and scale your product into profits. 

Create Screening events

Learn about Theatrical/Cinema on Demand and how best to take advantage of this model. Make your campaigns rock! 

Is Facebook Dead?

Learn up-to-date strategies in social media. The internet gives us unlimited possibilities to fund films, and reach our audiences. Uncover innovative ways to utilize this tool for YOUR film! 

Well, hello there! I’m Laurel Chiten. Here’s bit of my backstory.

I am an award-winning filmmaker who has been making films for over 30 years. My previous films were supported by grants and were seen worldwide. When I embarked on my most recent film, I thought for sure that it would get funded. 

But it didn’t. I applied for grant after grant and got rejection after rejection. I thought


I needed to do something.

I started reaching out to individuals.

And I realized


For 8 years I built a tribe who followed me on my journey until the film was completed. 


And thats when I discovered the power of social media. There’s a right way and there’s a wrong way to use it.

My film toured the world. I created a tribe of dedicated followers who were key to the success of my film’s distribution.

My journey led me into the world of digital marketers and entrepreneurs. Learning the best hacks, techniques, practices and MINDSET from the top influencers in their fields. 


Entrepreneurs have many of the same goals that filmmakers do. Create Impact.  Solve problems. Serve people.

What strategies, tactics and ways of thinking can we learn from the entrepreneurial world that will help finish our films, reach more people, create more impact, and make more money? 

I admit it. I am obsessed with teaching fellow filmmakers how to think and behave like entrepreneurs. My dream is to create a way for indie filmmakers to be sustainable, make a steady angle of profit, and continue to make films!


When should you start marketing your film?


Be Inspired. Watch this video!

With no marketing budget. No publicists. No paid ads. 
Over 200 screenings worldwide so far, all promoted by passionate fans.

Why do we make films?

To entertain.To educate. To tell stories. To inspire dialogue. To create change. You put a lot of time, passion, effort and money into your film.  You owe it to the world to get your film seen by the greatest number of people to create value in their lives. You owe it to yourself to create revenue from your efforts. 


Just starting a film? Deep into production? 


I learned a totally different way of looking at the world of filmmaking. I moved forward with much more confidence and clarity.

Gretchen Stoeltje, lawyer and filmmaker

Laurel has wonderful insights about ways to build and communicate with your audience, transforming them into active partners. You won’t find a more constructive cheerleader.

Jacki Ochs, filmmaker

Laurel is the bomb! She is helping me stay on task and develop my business in ways I never thought imaginable!

Jeremy Redman, CEO @ Founder of Not Boring Business

Laurel has always had an entrepreneurial way of looking at filmmaking. Her techniques have saved me a lot of money!

Jay Rosenstein, filmmaker and professor

yeEESSSs! I want to learn more!