Wanted: Career in Video Production

Photo credit: San Diego video producer Patty Mooney, Crystal Pyramid Productions


Good article, but lacking some cold hard facts....

I just read your article in my latest issue of Videomaker. I have to say, this is great for the wide-eyed newbie that thinks this is an easy field to get into. The truth is, now everyone with a phone or a decent store-bought camera thinks they can do this and now with the advent of social media, batting 20 somethings for gigs because they have more Instagram followers is an entire headache I never even planned on.

Maybe it's just where I live. As a Los Angeles resident, the competition is insane and if I am not careful I can find myself racing to the bottom and bidding on jobs cheaper than the next person just to land a gig.

I easily have over 5K in equipment in my house. I work as a one-person operation. I have been a freelance videographer/filmmaker for about five years now. There are good months and there are certainly bad months. I have tried just about every avenue laid out in your article with mixed results.

I am flexible with my pricing, but I am fair when it comes to quoting for my perceived time invested in projects. I have lost bids to family members that have agreed to shoot a wedding on a cell phone and I have had people not return calls or emails because they thought my quote was just too high. Not understanding that driving 25 miles away, plus setting up, recording, editing and eventually handing over a completed project takes more effort than they realize, and that even if they only need three hours of my time to record that I easily another 16-20 editing a finished product.

I think the one thing that is very misrepresented here is this notion that doing a free gig puts you in line for jobs when a budget becomes available. I have never been offered a paying job after doing work for free. I have agreed, often times because I was a fan of the company, organization or cause. The work was praised, it was delivered within reason, I never received one call back.

I have done weddings, Bar & Bat-mitzvahs, I routinely do school culmination ceremonies, I have produced content for myself on topics I found interesting, I even created and finished a full-length documentary that I have tried to shop around for no other reason than to get more work from it. So far nothing.

I am at a strange place with this career, I am in dire need of someone to work social media for me, but I do not make enough to pay someone. I do not like working for free, so I do not feel right asking someone else the same. I have increased my Instagram profile extensively the last several months and even lent a hand to some popular youtube and Instagram personalities and have never received a request or even an inquiry to my work.

A little dejected, a little distraught and a bit over the whole freelance thing I am now trying to parlay my skills into a full-time job working for a company and even that is being met with a lack of interest. I do sometimes think that a change of skills might be in order, because I am just not feeling the whole rewarding career with this particular skill-set at least not as a one-person operation in 2017.

Just keep shooting!

Good article and advice !

It is even harder now to make good $ in video especially in "big cities" as there is much more competition now than ever and getting more every day so you have to now "differentiate" yourself from the "competition" not just with good/great gear as most have that but also a good grasp of marketing and not "racing to the bottom" as said in this great article.
You have to build a good reputation and that takes time.. .usually 10 or more lean years if needed. "If you love what you do and do what you love you will never have to work a day in your life" is almost the only way to be these days to "make it" in this fun but tuff biz. Try listing your biz in the Production Hub database for free and/or pay for a big listing presence as it has worked for us. Have patience and keep at it and you will make it too.
Peace Mark (Since 1985 as New & Unique Videos and in Production hub too) or www.newuniquevideos.com