Lights, Camera, Income: The Inspiring Journey of a Film Lover Who Earns $10,000 a Month

Portrait photo of Neil Chase.

We’re back with another interview in our series of conversations shining the spotlight on successful online business owners. This series aims to uncover the motivations, strategies, challenges, and tips that have driven their success throughout their journey.

This week, we sat down with Neil Chase, a film enthusiast from Canada who is generating $10,000 a month from his online business, which he started just one year ago.

#1 Why did you start your online business?

I started my blog with the goal of helping fellow writers and indie filmmakers develop the skills they need to create great stories and projects. As someone who has worked in the film industry for several years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a successful script, film, or video project, and I wanted to share that knowledge with others.

I started my career as an Electrical Engineer. I soon found that it was not the job for me, as I was not able to use my creativity in any way. That’s when I started exploring fields like acting and writing. If I can go from being an Engineer to an actor, writer, and filmmaker, anyone can!

My goal is to create a community where writers and filmmakers can come together to learn from one another and support each other’s growth. I hope that my blog can be a valuable resource for those who aren’t yet confident in their writing or filmmaking skills and that they can learn from my experiences.

#2 What topics do you cover?

My blog covers a wide range of filmmaking, screenwriting, and storytelling topics, providing practical tips and advice for aspiring writers and filmmakers.

Topics include:

Screenwriting: I share tips and techniques for developing compelling characters, crafting engaging dialogue, and structuring your story to keep audiences hooked.

Technical Tips: I offer advice on everything from lighting and sound design to camera angles and shot composition, helping filmmakers create visually stunning projects that look professional.

Independent Film Production Advice: As someone who has worked on many independent film projects over the years, I share my insights into how to get your project off the ground, find funding, assemble a team, and navigate the challenges of production.

Reviews of Movies and TV Shows: I provide thoughtful reviews of current movies and TV shows, analyzing what works (and what doesn’t) in storytelling, character development, cinematography, sound design, and more.

Analysis of Effective Storytelling Techniques: Drawing on my own experience and insights from other experts in the field, I explore the most effective storytelling techniques used by successful filmmakers and fiction writers. This includes everything from using symbolism to convey deeper meaning to creating tension through pacing and editing.

My goal is to create a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in filmmaking, screenwriting, and great storytelling. I offer insights into the creative process for writing and filmmaking and behind-the-scenes stories from my personal experiences.

#3 How long has your online business been active? What are your main sources of income?

I started my blog about one year ago (February 2022) with the goal of sharing my knowledge and experience in the field of filmmaking, writing, and storytelling. As I built up my audience, I began to explore ways to monetize my blog.

Affiliate marketing has been a successful source of income for me, as I promote products and services related to filmmaking and writing that I personally use and recommend. In addition, I offer story coaching services for writers who are looking for guidance on their screenplays, novels, or other writing projects. Recently, I decided to include ads on selected pages on my site as another source of revenue.

However, my main focus remains on providing valuable content to my readers and helping them achieve their creative goals.

#4 What has surprised you about your journey?

One thing that has surprised me about blogging is the fact that I could make money and help people in my creative community by doing something that I love.

When I first started blogging, it was simply a way for me to share my knowledge and experiences with others who were interested in filmmaking and writing. But as my blog grew in popularity, I began to realize the potential for monetization. It’s been a pleasant surprise to discover that I can earn income from doing something that I genuinely enjoy.

Another aspect of blogging that has surprised me is the power of Google search. When I first started out, I didn’t fully understand how important SEO (Search Engine Optimization) was in getting my content seen by a wider audience. But as I learned more about it and implemented strategies to improve my ranking on Google search result pages, I saw a significant increase in traffic to my site. It’s amazing how many people can discover your content simply by typing a few keywords into a search engine.

#5 Is your goal financial independence? If so, where are you on the journey?

While financial independence is certainly a fantastic outcome for many bloggers, it’s not my primary goal. My main focus is on providing value to my creative community and continuing to do what I love – making movies and writing novels.

I’m currently in a good place on my journey, as I’ve been able to monetize my blog through affiliate marketing and offering story consulting services. However, I don’t want to lose sight of why I started blogging in the first place – which was to share my knowledge and experiences with others who are passionate about filmmaking and storytelling.

In fact, I’ve recently completed post-production on my directorial debut feature film, Spin the Wheel, which I also wrote and co-starred in. Because I blog about what I actually do, every experience I have in my movie-making career directly translates into content for the blog.

My goal with the blog is to continue creating content that resonates with my readers and helps them achieve their creative goals, alongside my own storytelling through film and books. If I can continue to do what I love while also earning income from my blog, then that’s just an added bonus!

#6 Tell us a bit about your experience and professional background.

I am a story and writing coach, award-winning screenwriter, actor, and author of the horror-western novel Iron Dogs (available on Amazon). Throughout my creative career, I have won over 100 international writing and movie awards, including the prestigious FilmMaker’s International Screenwriting Grand Prize Award, the ScreamFest Best Screenplay Award, and the Arthur Rosenfeld Award for Excellence in Dramatic Writing.

My directorial debut feature film, Spin The Wheel, is currently in post-production. The film is an edge-of-your-seat dark-comedy supernatural thriller about a group of strangers whose faith and resolve are tested past their breaking points as the world ends around them.

I wrote the screenplay, starred in the movie, and co-directed the film. We just had our first private screening of the film here in Edmonton, and it was a huge success! Our next step is entering the film into film festivals the world over and networking with industry professionals with the goal of securing worldwide distribution. You can learn more about the movie through our production company, Brimstone Pictures.

#7 How is your unique expertise reflected in your business?

My blog is a reflection of my unique expertise and experience in the creative arts. As someone who has made award-winning indie movies, written short stories, and authored novels, I write about what I do best.

I share insights on the process of storytelling and novel writing, such as how to develop compelling characters, craft a gripping plot, and develop your story structure. Additionally, I provide advice on how to navigate the world of independent filmmaking, from securing funding to casting actors, as well as reviewing new technologies such as AI video editing software programs.

Because of my extensive experience in both writing and filmmaking, my blog offers a unique perspective that is useful for anyone looking to improve their skills in these areas. My articles are filled with practical tips and strategies that writers and filmmakers can apply to their own work.

Furthermore, I use my blog as a platform to showcase some of my own creative projects. For example, I might share behind-the-scenes footage from one of my films or offer an excerpt from one of my novels.

My blog is a reflection of my passion for storytelling and my desire to help others achieve success in their creative endeavors. Whether you are a seasoned writer or filmmaker, or just starting out, I believe there is something for everyone on my website.

#8 What makes your blog different than others

What sets my blog apart from others is that I write about what I know. As an experienced writer, filmmaker, actor, and author, I offer a unique perspective on the creative arts that is both informative and entertaining.

Unlike many other blogs that cover a broad range of topics, my blog is focused specifically on writing and filmmaking. This means that readers can trust that the advice and insights I provide are based on real-world experience rather than just theory or speculation.

Another thing that makes my blog different is that I am not afraid to share my own successes and failures as a writer and filmmaker. By being transparent about my own experiences, I hope to inspire others to pursue their creative dreams with confidence and determination.

#9 Tell us 3 interesting facts about yourself.

  1. Despite now working in the creative field, I actually have a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. While it may seem like a far cry from writing and filmmaking, I find that many of the work habits and research skills I learned during my Ph.D. are still applicable to my current work with blogging, filmmaking, and storytelling. In fact, my experience in engineering and project management has helped me develop an analytical and detail-oriented approach to my writing and filmmaking projects.
  2. In addition to being a writer and filmmaker, I have also expanded my repertoire into voice-over acting. Specifically, I narrated the audiobook version of my novel, Iron Dogs. It was a challenging but rewarding experience that allowed me to bring the characters in my book to life in a new way.
  3. After completing my Master’s degree, I took some time off to travel and explore new hobbies. One of those hobbies was surfing, which led me all the way to Hawaii for a month-long adventure. While there, I not only learned how to surf but also got certified as a scuba diver. It was an incredible experience that taught me the value of trying new things and stepping out of my comfort zone.

Overall, these three facts give insight into my varied background and interests outside of writing and filmmaking. They also demonstrate how seemingly unrelated experiences can inform and enrich one’s creative pursuits.

#10 What is one thing you believe that most others do not?

One thing I strongly believe that many others may not is that everyone has a story worth telling. Whether it’s a personal experience, a unique perspective on the world, or a creative idea, every person has the potential to create compelling and meaningful stories.

However, what often holds people back from sharing their stories is a lack of knowledge or confidence in how to tell them effectively. Many people assume that storytelling is something that only comes naturally to a select few individuals with innate talent.

But I firmly believe that with the right support and guidance, anyone can become a great storyteller. This might involve taking classes in writing or filmmaking, seeking feedback from peers or mentors, or simply practicing and honing one’s craft over time.

Moreover, I believe that encouraging more people to share their stories can have profound benefits for both individuals and society as a whole. By sharing our experiences and perspectives through storytelling, we can foster greater empathy and understanding among different groups of people. We can also inspire others to pursue their own creative passions and make positive changes in the world.

While many people may underestimate their own potential as storytellers, I firmly believe that everyone has a story worth telling. With the right support and resources, anyone can develop the skills needed to create compelling and impactful stories.

#11 What is one popular piece of advice that you don’t agree with?

One popular piece of advice I disagree with is the idea that we need to wait for the right opportunity to come. While luck and timing can play a role in our success, I firmly believe that we ultimately control our own destinies and have the power to create our own opportunities.

In my experience, waiting for the perfect chance to come along can be a recipe for frustration and missed opportunities. Instead, I believe in actively seeking opportunities and taking action to make things happen.

This might involve networking with others in your field, pursuing new skills or training opportunities, or even creating your own projects from scratch. By being proactive and taking risks, we can open up new pathways for ourselves and discover opportunities we may never have found otherwise.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we should always act impulsively or without careful consideration. It’s essential to do our research, plan ahead, and be strategic in our pursuits. But ultimately, I believe that those who are willing to take the initiative and make things happen are more likely to achieve their goals and find success than those who sit around waiting for someone else to hand them an opportunity.

While many people may advise us to wait for the right opportunity to come along, I disagree with this approach. Instead, I believe that we make our own opportunities by being proactive, taking risks, and creating our own paths forward.

Featured Image Credit: Neil Chase.

This article was originally published on Ash & Pri.

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Pri Kingston

Ash & Pri are the Founders of and have spent the last decade building their way towards financial freedom and a lifetime of memories. Having successfully achieved their early retirement goal in under 10 years, they look forward to sharing their financial sense with like-minded people. Read more about Ash & Pri in the 'About Us' section.