SAINT JOHN– A New Brunswick filmmaker plans to break into the booming webinar market with his new venture.
Greg Hemmings, founder of Saint John-based Hemmings House Pictures, is currently beta testing Filmpreneur, a webinar course and community geared towards not just filmmakers, but creative entrepreneurs in all fields.
Hemmings said the idea to create an online course came from his experiences mentoring.
“Filmpreneur is the result of a number of years of me mentoring other filmmakers from all over North America. I spend four or five hours a month just getting on the phone with people just saying ‘hey, how do you do this?’” he says. “Everybody is asking the same questions, so why don’t I make a course?”
Hemmings doesn’t consider himself a teacher, but what he could do was share his experiences and the lessons he learned while building up Hemmings House.
“What I can do is create a series of modules of me telling these people how I started my businesses, how I grew it, where I failed, how they can avoid falling down and how we’ve been able to find a niche with Hemmings House in a more global market being a local company,” he says.
The Filmpreneur course has 12 modules, but Hemmings realized he would need more content and more contributors to justify charging money for it. He decided to do this on a recent trip to Mexico, where he first tested his course material.
“I want live footage of me teaching, [and] of other people teaching this content. So we went to Mexico,” he said. “So we said for a Beta price of this much money, you get to go to Mexico for three or four days of really intense co-learning, but everybody who participated as learners were also teachers.”
The trip had other professionals hosting presentations on things like social media, bitcoin, blockchain, marketing and more.
“There are all these different streams of learning and we filmed it all. That all goes back into the course,” says Hemmings. I’m still in Beta, so once it launches full-on, we’re going to have a nice little collection of learning elements that people can get into the community and learn from or continue to have events, continue to roll out more and more content. We’re also going to have monthly webinars with industry.”
Despite the name, Hemmings says Filmpreneur is not just for filmmakers, but for creative entrepreneurs of all stripes who are looking to take their business to the next level.
“It’s really for creative entrepreneurs who are trying to figure out how to make a business. Artists who say ‘ok I’m a filmmaker’ or ‘I’m a writer and I really want to take this to the next level but I don’t know how to incorporate a company’ or ‘should I start this company with my best friend?’” he says.
“These are pretty entry-level 101 entrepreneurship issues that are relevant to everybody. It’s just that creative practitioners often times don’t have the foundation of starting a business that I’ve chopped my way through for many years.”
Filmpreneur doesn’t just offer great content, Hemmings says, it also offers a strong network. Participants are added to an active private Facebook group where they can interact, ask questions, share ideas and give input on future webinars and programming. He says this is what makes Filmpreneur different from other online courses and programs out there for entrepreneurs.
“It’s the network of learning that I think is the biggest value right now,” says Hemmings. “Because the content I create is just one part of the puzzle, there are so many other participants adding great content.”
Before officially launching Filmpreneur’s next cohort this November, Hemmings is planning another “beta” trip to Mexico. The details on that will be revealed in the coming weeks.
“What we’re doing with these first few betas is having a cool location to go to so we can keep filming more content,” he says. “Soon after that, we’re going to put a trip attached to it, it’s just going to be an online course.”
The cost to take the course will be around $500, with the option to add additional things like one-on-one coaching for an extra cost.
The webinar market is booming right now, with organizations, businesses and individual entrepreneurs making money by offering their expertise. Though the market is global, in order to succeed you need to have a strong business and personal brand. With Hemmings House’s focus on using business and filmmaking for good and positive social change, Hemmings says he sees Filmpreneur being successful. But he doesn’t just want it to be all about him.
“There’s a whole industry wrapped around this where the personal brand of someone who has some sort of expertise is able to create a business out of it, and that’s what I want,” he says. “But I don’t want it centred around me . . . Pretty soon, you’re going to see courses from all the Hemmings House people and beyond as well.”
Long term, he hopes Filmpreneur will help put Saint John on the map.
“I want to make Saint John the storytelling hub of changemakers. That’s my global vision,” he says. “Sure, we’ll still do events elsewhere, but let’s bring it to the centre here.”