From self-taught to the big screen: how Austin Newman’s retro products are making a difference in the film industry
Austin Newman is a filmmaker best known for his cinematic retro assets, smooth transitions, VHS overlays, and free Premiere Pro Presets. With a background in film marketing and editing, he grew from being self-taught and making YouTube tutorials to selling digital products to clients worldwide. His clients now include amateurs, professional filmmakers as well as big production companies that use his assets on the big screen.
Austin first came across Sellfy in the online community on YouTube. Sellfy’s low startup cost and easy user interface made him stick with the platform as his ultimate eCommerce choice. With Sellfy, Austin was able to start making sales by driving his audience to his store.
Read on to learn more about Austin’s amazing story and how his love for translating retro film into digital turned into a full-time business.
What do you do and how do you define yourself as a creator?
It’s something I’ve struggled with the last few years, especially after starting to sell products on Sellfy. I’ve blurred the line between just being a YouTuber and creating things for visual effects and composition.
A lot of my stuff is like the old retro or film looks, so it’s really hard to say. Everything that I do mostly revolves around trying to get digital to look more like analog systems, or something that was older—formats of the past like Hi8, VHS, film formats like Super 8,16mm and 35mm. These are looks that you just can’t get out of digital.
What do you love about your business?
I find it challenging, yet so rewarding to create things that can emulate that retro feel with digital. It’ll never replace those formats, but it’s always fun to use and import these assets and translate them to a new digital world.
It’s also fun to be able to preserve some of those assets and bring them into new music videos, indie films, and commercials. I just love creating retro-feeling assets.
What did you do before Sellfy?
When I first started, I was on YouTube creating tutorials because I felt like there was a need for more easy-to-understand Premiere Pro tutorials. I had a natural transition from doing that to trying to get a retro look with a certain type of camera or digital footage. I fell in love with the creative process of making these older-looking formats, so I started transitioning more to an asset-based income.
I’ve also worked in distribution and film marketing for years, doing production and editing as well as freelance editing and being self-taught. I didn’t go to a traditional editing school. I went to a school for the entertainment business, so I didn’t get to learn how to edit in school.
So, everything that I learned was online and just by talking to other editors and communicating about different Premiere Pro techniques. I picked up a lot of tips over the years and I wanted to share those as clear and concise tutorials in layman terms.
Why did you pick Sellfy over other alternatives when you were looking for a place to sell your assets?
I first came across Sellfy in the online community on YouTube. It was a trusted brand by a few others, and it’s one of the only at the time that you could link inside of YouTube cards. So, it was easy for me to drive my audience to download these packs.
I started making some free things such as 8mm film grain and similar stuff that people could download because it’s really hard to find high-quality 8mm grain. So, being able to do that and put it into a card on YouTube was really nice.
It was just so easy with Sellfy. Coming from someone who has never set up an eCommerce site, it seems overwhelming. So, Sellfy is the turnkey solution—it was really easy. The startup cost was low and all of the things that I wanted were already plugged into the system.
How did you get your first sales on Sellfy?
One of the first things that I uploaded was something I was using quite frequently for many of the setups that I had for a specific camera. So, starting with this, I had a couple of people on YouTube asking me a bunch of questions about it.
I told them it was available on my site and then it started getting traction. And from there, I realized that I should come out with more things that I would be personally looking for on the market. It took a few months and a lot of consistency to build up a lot of traffic to my Sellfy store.
So, I’d say in the marketing world, it’s relatively quick to be able to bring people from YouTube over to a platform that’s already established and ready to go.
Tell us a little about your audience.
At first, I had a lot of people who were just starting editing and learning things. But what I realized over time on Sellfy was that I had more people with email handles from bigger companies reaching out to me. They liked my products and many of them used these products in commercials.
So, it started amateur and now I’ve seen it in big productions, commercials, and television. I’ve got a lot of clients now that come back. I love seeing the email handles come through for orders and just seeing them presented in commercials worldwide. It’s been pretty fun to watch that grow.
What’s your favorite marketing technique or strategy?
One of the big pillars in my marketing tactic is to create cool things that you can add to editing. For instance, if I’m going to create cool things for editing, then I have to show off a really cool edit.
So, anytime I do a new product, I’d show it in a video. I wouldn’t just dump a product out there and tell people to figure it out—I have to show them how to use it. I edit it to something of my taste and that piques interest from people. Showing products in your own content is so important.
Everything that I’ve ever created has always ended up in some of my videos so that I can show off how cool I think it is. So, I think that would probably be the number one marketing technique that I’d use as far as creating my assets.
What Sellfy features do you use the most?
I think email marketing is really important for Sellfy. I love sending email campaign blasts. If I have a new product or a sale coming up, those are absolutely crucial.
Going through Sellfy’s email marketing system is really nice because I have all of the lists segmented into buyers of different products as well as people who have downloaded free stuff. I can pick the people that I think would be most interested in the sale that’s coming up or the new product I’m about to release.
For example, to promote a free 8mm product, I’d create a list of all the people who have previously downloaded the 8mm. So, people who are interested in that might also be interested in this new product. So, being able to manage all those lists and figure all that out—it’s already in there.
There’s also the analytics, which is great. Another useful feature would be upselling. I think upsell is a powerful tool, especially for free products or products with a discount.
Speaking of email marketing, do you have any special tips?
Coming from a marketing background, one of the biggest things is using cool words and being true to what your product is. In other words, don’t oversell—only sell what it is. Think about what sets your product apart from other products that people can go and download.
I’ve developed some of the best products on the market over the years and I’m proud of that, so I use that in my text. I’ll tell people that this is one of the only ones on the market that has this, or this is the first or the original to the market. Writing good copy and choosing the right words is very powerful.
How has Sellfy helped your business grow?
Sellfy allowed me to transition to doing content creation and selling my assets. I was just creating so much and I was getting such a good response that it quickly became a full-time thing.
I launched my brand, Video Milkshake, this past year. And starting on Sellfy, I can learn to build a launching point for my brand and see what needs to be filled in with my business, and what I need to be doing with marketing, emails, and customer interaction. That was incredibly important for me when I was growing my business.
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned? What advice would you give to another creator?
I think, first and foremost, it’s important to learn who the people that want to buy your product are. If you’re passionate about your industry like I am, then it’s going to be people who are like you and you see those holes that are missing.
For example, you learn over time what emails work and it’s not something that you just learn overnight. Everyone’s email lists are different. I could go to someone who makes stickers, hats, and shirts, and their email list and their client base are going to be a lot different than mine.
Community outreach and customer interaction are also important. If someone reaches out with a question about a product on Sellfy or needs something from me, I always get back to them. I have a timeframe that I try and get back to them within because I don’t want them to feel like they’re going to be waiting for an answer.
And, lastly, I’d say that Sellfy is the foundation to learn how to grow and scale your business. Identifying opportunities, customer outreach, high-quality products, and consistency are very important as far as scaling a brand.
How do you motivate yourself to achieve that level of consistency?
When I see my customers using some of my products on commercials and big brands, I want to make sure that they’re using the best.
So, anytime I’m thinking about a new product or something that I’m creating, I’m thinking about the result in mind:
Is this thing going to end up on television one day? Is it going to end up in a movie theatre?
I want people to have the best products so that they can use them going forward. So, that’s what motivates me.
And if I do happen to catch one of my assets on the big screen, I want to know if I recognize the product or the asset. It’s pretty cool to see that it’s the highest quality that it can be. That’s what motivates me to just keep creating the highest quality content possible.
What are your ambitions and goals for the future of your business?
The most important thing for me going forward is creating the best products on the market.
Some people start in this industry and they’ll go all the way to doing major motion pictures with studios. So, when you buy a product from my store, I want you to be able to use that as an amateur and grow to use these in feature films.
That’s why I’m future-proofing a lot of my assets right now. Everything that I’m mostly working with is in 6K in the new products.