Greater creative control means that we can take any inspiration born from a common relationship and translate that into a movement that ends up on screen and expressed over the global digital landscape. Every time I meet someone and tell them I'm in film (...school), they get an odd gleam in their eye wondering at the mystery behind the art and I realize that some part of them, perhaps the child in them, wants to be involved. Maybe they can't be practically but it's attractive for them to have an inside look on what turns imagination into a reality.
Times can get tough. But dreaming keeps us sane. And there is hope that those dreams will foster an idea and its action and anyone can make a difference.
This is a bit of analysis on why emerging directors and producers need to connect with fans. Film festivals and platforms like youtube are just tools to spread the notice further, but the goal remains to provide a service of realized fantasy (even in documentaries where necessary social issues are finally explored in depth) for the world that will watch. Because people dream and productions are the proof that dreams have value. And we need to believe that. It's like seeing faith redeemed.
Long story short, make even short films with the audience firmly in mind. Develop and preproduce with an eye for the marketing campaign and fill in those commitments. And perhaps you can grow your niche following to the point where 6 figures is a reachable crowd-sourcing goal. You can build a career this way, create more jobs and help bring the American dream back.