If you show up
on a Wednesday,
you’ll be working
on a set
by the weekend
It took little more than a year for Max Brudvig to grow The Chicago Film Scene from personal inspiration to thriving organization.
Meeting every Wednesday night at The Arrogant Frog bar in Lincoln Park, The Chicago Film Scene invites cinemaficionados to drink, network, share ideas, and have a good time while celebrating their collective movie jones.
Since its first official meeting in August 2017, the group has generated more than 600 members on Meetup.
To accommodate the growing popularity, The Chicago Film Scene hosts occasional live podcasts built around the themes of their weekly events. Available for streaming on iTunes and Spotify, the talks have generated a legion of followers and 5-star reviews.
The road to popularity tested Brudvig’s faith, persistence, and ability to hang out in a local tavern. Here, he tells Reel Chicago how and why he made it happen.
What’s your bio? I definitely don’t have a Hollywood film bio, but I’ve done a lot of work in film and video production. I’ve worked as a videographer at UW-Madison, filmed construction videos in Australia, shot music videos and comedy shorts, and now I produce videos for a real estate investment business in Chicago. But there’s nothing better than getting together with a group of friends on a weekend to film.
What inspired you to create the Chicago Film Scene and when did you launch it? The inspiration for the Chicago Film Scene was a desire to become part of the filmmaking world in Chicago, and to connect with other people on the same mission. The idea is kind of in the name: we want to be at the center of the independent film scene in Chicago. In 2017, I didn’t know many filmmakers, but I had a good relationship with the staff of the Arrogant Frog Bar. So I put the event out there, and decided to just show up every week and see what happened. The first meeting was in August 2017 and 5 people attended. Sometimes no one would show up and I’d hang out with bartenders, which wasn’t a bad consolation. And when people did show up, we talked about our film ideas. The group has grown a lot since then, but the idea is still the same: build a welcoming filmmaker community without any other agenda.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about the Wednesday meetings? I love hearing about what other people have created, especially through connections they made over drinks at the Chicago Film Scene. I also really enjoy making plans on what we’ll do next — I always leave feeling super inspired. We’ve also been doing a live podcast where we discuss films lately, that’s always fun.
How can the group and the Wednesday meetings help a guest’s film career? I think immersing yourself in the world of film and filmmakers is a requirement for a film career. The Chicago Film Scene is a great place to make connections with people who are making films, writing scripts, and helping out on sets every single week. If you show up on a Wednesday, there’s a good chance you’ll be working on a set by the weekend.
To learn more and get involved with the Chicago Film Scene, click here.
Send your film updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, firstname.lastname@example.org.