Jan 3, 2022
Academy Award-winning director Alfonso Cuarón is known for many things — like his work on the sci-fi thriller Gravity (2013), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), and Roma (2018). But, believe it or not, he’s also pretty well-known for his occasional cameos on TikTok.
While Cuarón has yet to join the app himself, he’ll nod along to a Bhad Bhabie song or contribute a dance move in his daughter Bu Cuarón’s TikTok videos. (Here’s the proof, if you’re curious.)
These days, filmmakers like Cuarón are dipping their toes into the TikTok pool, and some are even leveraging this platform to launch their professional careers. Zac Stracener is one of those up-and-coming directors and actors who is doing this quite successfully. (More on him later.)
Even though TikTok is a popular social media platform — we’re talking one billion users and climbing — you might be wondering: Is this platform really worth the creative investment for filmmakers? Or is it just a passing fad?
In this guide, we’ll answer those questions and share seven filmmaker-centric TikTok video ideas for growing an audience and standing out on this platform.
TikTok isn’t a platform for long-form content. In fact, a typical TikTok video will be anywhere from just a few seconds (usually 15- or 30-seconds) to three minutes long.
As far as video content goes, the TikTok app is where social media challenges, cute animal videos, and dance videos — i.e., non-filmmaking related content — thrive.
So, as someone involved in video and film production, should you use TikTok in 2022 and beyond? The short answer is yes, but here’s the long answer:
As far as social media algorithms go, TikTok’s is designed so that the user experience is hyper-customized. This means that a new TikTok creator with zero followers could make a video that goes viral as long as the content is engaging and optimized. (For example, if the description includes trending hashtags.)
After making his first short film Broken Valor on YouTube, Stracener joined TikTok and saw the benefits almost immediately: “I made a video with my camera...and it got something like nine million views in a day.”
TikTok gives its creators an upper hand in this way. Whether you have millions of followers or not, you can generate a ton of engagement from filmmaking and non-filmmaking related content in a short amount of time. A low follower count won’t hinder your growth when you’re starting out.
Aside from the algorithm, another key reason why filmmakers join TikTok is that there are already filmmaking communities on the platform.
If you search #filmmakersoftiktok, #doplife, #filmmakerlife, or any other trending hashtags tied to filmmaking topics, you’ll find thousands (if not millions or billions) of tagged TikTok videos.
From behind-the-scenes content to industry humor and short films, there’s a wide variety of content on the app right now. And since videos like this generated 1.5+ million likes with the #filmmakersoftiktok tag, it’s safe to say there’s an audience for this type of content on TikTok.
Video is the lifeblood of TikTok, so this platform is an ideal social media setting for filmmakers to showcase their production and editing skills. For Stracener, the video length limitations on TikTok also provide a good creative challenge: “[I’m] really trying to figure out, ‘Okay how can I tell a story in 16 seconds?’”
By investing in content creation, filmmakers on TikTok are able to create cinematic-quality content for entertainment and/or promotional purposes. The only caveat is that, like Stracener put it, you only have three minutes max to pull it off.
Before sharing our list of TikTok video ideas, let’s first break down a content strategy that can help you set your videos apart from the rest.
When done right, having a TikTok platform can help bridge the gap between you and your target audience. Through your videos, you can spread brand awareness, promote upcoming projects, share your expertise, and more.
Whether you’re new to TikTok or have been sharing content for years now, a good way to strategically plan and make high-performing videos is to follow these three steps:
Sure, cute animal videos are a cult favorite on TikTok, and the hashtag itself has accumulated 9.5 million views:
But just because a TikTok video idea is trending doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good fit for your account. To attract the right viewers, the video content you make needs to be on-brand.
If a video goes viral but doesn’t actually make sense for your personal brand, then you’re probably attracting viewers outside of your target audience.
While this isn’t always a bad thing, a possible downside is this: After engaging with the viral video, viewers could take one look at your TikTok profile and conclude that the rest of your content doesn’t match the content they just saw.
If this is the case, making viral content is only beneficial in the short-term. You might have millions of likes on that video, but far less engagement on every other one.
To tap into the long-term benefits, you need to create videos that attract the right viewers (i.e., viewers who will be interested in your niche and want to engage with more of your content).
So, before you do anything else, make sure you really understand your content niche and target audience.
Let’s say that your target audience is a mix of novice filmmakers, fellow cinephiles, and video production professionals. Once you know this, the next step is to find out what types of content shows up on their TikTok For You pages (since that’s where you want your content to show up).
By doing some market research on TikTok trends, you can find out which filmmaking-related hashtags, video styles, and content types are the most popular. Not only does this inform your own content creation, but it also can inspire you to think outside of the box.
Do you have years of experience creating Foley sound? You could create a series of videos like the one below, but for TikTok instead of YouTube:
Do you have an unconventional style of filming and stabilizing shots? Consider making a Tiktok video like this to showcase that.
In order to stay on top of the latest trends, you have to pay attention. Learn everything you can about your target audience’s likes, dislikes, and preferences — and then keep learning. This can fuel your content strategy and help you create viral-worthy videos on a consistent basis.
Staying true to your personal brand and tapping into TikTok trends are two best practices for anyone who’s branching out on TikTok, filmmaker or not.
As you plan out and publish new content on TikTok, try not to fall into a routine of making the same type of content day-after-day. Your viewers might love it when you use TikTok’s Q&A feature, but your content will start to seem monotonous if that’s all you’re posting.
It’s important to add variety to your content calendar and change things up from time to time. This might mean posting a Q&A video twice a week and then alternating between a short film, duet video, and educational content throughout the rest of the week.
Whatever the case is for you, what matters is that you’re creating new and diverse content regularly.
To help you implement each of these steps, we’ve compiled a list of seven TikTok video ideas that are #FilmTok worthy. We’ll also share popular hashtags that you can include in your video descriptions to land your content on users’ TikTok feed.
Even though YouTube is a go-to video sharing platform for long-form content, TikTok has the upper hand when it comes to sharing and boosting engagement on short-form content.
One of the ways you, as a filmmaker, can make the most out of the three-minute video limit is to create short films. To give you an idea of the formatting and style of TikTok short films, here is an example of a POV short film by Stracener.
There are many different angles you can take here. You could create a short film trailer on TikTok and then direct viewers to YouTube or your website. You could split up a lengthier short film into several smaller TikTok videos. It’s entirely up to you.
So, get creative and look for ways to use narrative storytelling in your TikTok videos.
Popular hashtags: #supportindiefilm #filmproduction #shortfilm #moviemaking
In a filmmaking context, “educational videos” refers to anything from behind-the-scenes content to production advice.
This TikTok video from creator Josh Morgan gives viewers a step-by-step breakdown of his creative process for filming a product video with a power drill, a can of White Claw, and a green screen. (And he does this in only 48 seconds.)
Another example of a TikTok video that takes viewers behind-the-scenes of a production shoot is this video from Soundstripe:
Whether you’re sharing tips and tricks or providing insight about your own process, this type of content gives viewers something new to walk away every time they watch one of your videos.
Popular hashtags: #makingofmovies #behindthescenes #setlife #learnfilmmaking
A popular vlog-style for TikTok is to edit together footage from your day and record a voice over in post-production. (Notice how Josh Morgan used this technique in the earlier example too.)
Cinematographer Easton Bennett took this exact approach when filming this Tiktok video about a day in his life running a video production company.
By making this type of TikTok video, you’re able to give viewers a real look into what you do as a filmmaker day-to-day — whether you’re at the pre-production, production, or post-production stage. It’s just another way to give your audience a peek behind the scenes.
Popular hashtags: #doplife #steadicamoperator #youngfilmmakers #filmeditor
With TikTok’s Duet feature, two videos play on a user’s screen simultaneously: 1) the video you recorded and 2) the video created by a different TikTok user. The videos are formatted side-by-side with the new video (yours) on the left and the original video (theirs) on the right.
TikTok user Deity Microphones (shown in the image above) acted out a call-and-response scenario in this Duet video. Not only is this video pure comedic entertainment — definitely check it out — but it also shows viewers what an audio engineer is doing behind-the-scenes during production.
The Duet feature is great for creating reaction videos, sharing your perspective on another creator’s video, your filmmaker insight (like this), and more.
Popular hashtags: #movieeffects #audioengineer #promixing #videoproduction
The Stitch tool allows you to collaborate with other creators on this social media platform, and here’s how: When you see a video that you want to respond to in some way, you can:
Let’s say you come across a TikTok video that prompts you to respond, such as “Tell me you’re a filmmaker without telling me you’re a filmmaker.” You would stitch the video and film your answer — just like creator EposVox did in this video.
As you create your own TikTok videos, you can encourage others to stitch your videos and record your own responses. Either way, it’s a great way to engage with the filmmaker community on TikTok and establish yourself on the platform.
Popular hashtags: #cameracontrol #filmmakersetup #filmmaker_tiktok
Engagement matters on TikTok and other social media platforms. By using the Duet and Stitch features, you create engagement-driven videos that can be both entertaining and informative.
Another way to directly engage viewers is to use Tiktok’s Q&A feature.
To create videos using this feature, you need a Creator Account on TikTok. (Here’s a guide on making that switch.) Once you have that type of TikTok account and turn on the Q&A feature button, your viewers can select the question icon in the “Add comment” section and post their question.
You — as the video creator — can view all of the questions submitted using this feature and give your answers in new TikTok videos. (For more information on how this works, check out this explainer video by TikTok.)
This is a really effective way to connect with your viewers on a more personal level and make content that you know they want to see.
Popular hashtags: #iphonefilmmaking #makebettervideos #screenwritingtiktok
Whether you’re just starting out on TikTok or not, a great way to land your TikTok videos on more For You pages is to add trending music and sounds to your content. Not only will your videos get picked up by the algorithm, but music can also spark your next video idea.
For example, “Oh No” by Kreepa has been used 18.4+ million times in videos. The intro theme of this particular song would be a perfect fit for a video about filmmaker fails and/or common errors on set.
Pairing the right song with your video can take the quality of your TikTok videos to the next level, and it’s easy to do. Simply navigate to the “Add sounds” icon and then peruse the “Sounds” and “Commercial Sounds” categories for music you like.
For a more in-depth guide on adding music to TikTok videos, check out this blog post.
Popular hashtags: #indiefilmmaker #womeninfilm #producer
TikTok creators have truly mastered the art of the short video — and it’s even more impressive when you consider that the three minute threshold wasn’t introduced until 2021.
As a filmmaker, there’s an audience for the type of content you’re creating. And social media gives you the opportunity to build and join communities of fellow creators, even on an international scale.
While you can always dabble in the dance videos side of the platform (great content is great content), the best strategy for making successful videos is to know your content niche, follow trends, and diversify your content.
Not only is this important, but understanding your audience’s interests and preferences on TikTok is another key part of coming up with video ideas.
By integrating the video ideas and trending hashtags from this guide into your content plan, you’re in a good position to start creating high-performing content for TikTok and other social media platforms.
Looking for more production-related content? These articles from the Soundstripe blog are worth checking out next: