The Reality of Being an Independent

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    • #42858
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Hello All! I’m new to the forum! Thank you for reading my post. I’m uncertain where to post my question, but Making Money seemed to be the most appropriate.

      I currently work at a local television station. I operate camera, direct and edit several of our productions. I really enjoy my work, but soon, it will be time to move on. While this sounds good, quite often, there are realities that one didn’t realize when pursuing such goals. I’m not looking to be discouraged, just prepared. To you who are currently working as independent producers, what comes to mind here? Any advice?

      If it helps, I plan to do productions such as weddings and family events at first, and then expand into music videos, safety videos and possibly infomercials.

      Thanks in advance.

    • #179477
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      You’ve obviously had some experience. My suggestion would be to start (if you have not already) getting some of your own equipment. (Camera-wise I would strongly suggest HD or HDV) Also, start trying to make connections with the smaller businesses in your town. Stop in and talk to the manager or owner if possible, explain your services, and leave a card. Hope some of this helps.

      Jeremy

    • #179478
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Hi CS:

      Thinking of moving on, are you?

      In that case, in additon to weddings and family events, etc, I would encourage you toconsider real estate videos as an exciting and potentially lucrative part of yourrepertoire of production categoriessince the best way to sell real estate nowadaysis to show high-powered and artistic videos ofproperty on the Internet.

      Towards this end, I amin the process of establishing anational network ofreal estate videographers on TheRealEstateVideoShow.com and invite youto come aboard.

      It’s a long shot, but I see no reasonor need forambitiousand enterprising videographers to restrict their artistic activities or to put limits on their financial horizens.

      Yours truly.

    • #179479
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Good for you! That;s a tough decision i would say of doing something independent. That simply means more finance to start your own. Good luck for this new career, i mean not really career but choice. Just enjoy for sure you’ll go far beyond what you are expecting to happen.

    • #179480
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Congrats and best of luck to you… Going indie can be a tough choice and a lot of people never seem to be able to make it happen.

    • #179481
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      I’ve been free lancing for twenty years and I’ve never done a wedding or similar event. The main reason being that it’s a tough market to break into, especially in larger cities. Weddings are a genre unto themselves & and your description of your work hasn’t done one thing to prepare you for it. And then, if you do start making a bit of money, you’ll be pegged as a wedding photographer and have trouble getting into other work.

      To be a successful free lancer, you need a vision. Don’t think you’ll have anywhere near the income of a broadcast TV professional, so plan your vision around the kind of video you absolutely love to produce. Then you can put your heart into the productions and let the money take care of itself. If you’re looking to specialize in corporate or industrial video, start making the connections before you leave your current job. The best bet is to contract to do work in your spare time to establish contacts, create a demo reel containing video similar to your client’s needs and purchase your equipment while you still have a job.

      In my career, the biggest problem is that I’m infinitely better at producing video than I am at selling video. As a totally independent producer, I’ve spent more time trying to find work than actually doing the work. Until the contacts & my reputation start heaping me with repeat business. Unfortunately, I’m producing mostly for governments & non-profits and after I’ve been there for a while, they start establishing in-house production teams. So I’m back on the market for new customers. So my best advice to you would be to get serious about the jobs you want, then start going to them.

      When I first moved to Des Moines, I started doing dance recitals & similar events by approaching folks with FREE production services in exchange for a guaranteed minimum of DVD purchases. In fact, I just wholesale the DVD’s to the studio & they sell them to the families so I don’t have to worry about sales taxes or bouncing checks and having to take credit cards. I found owners understood the value of video in terms of a retail product. Once you’ve worked with them, you can bring in new ideas and expand your services (and salary.) But trying to sell video production itself is a tough nut, so consider selling the products of production, DVD’s or cable TV shows.

      But I am not an event producer. So my next target was to get involved in city government videos. Des Moines had virtually no local video, except meetings. And the couple of shows they were trying to produce were shot without lights in the council chambers. First I had to volunteer to help with those shows. Then I got assurances that if I produced an event video of a city activity, the would put it on the channel. So I went out and shot a story on the Mayor’s Ride for Trails. And I kept offering ideas to improve the look of the channel. Like producing a Halloween safety PSA using Digital Juice animations & music. It took me over 18 months to work myself up to producer of the Mayor’s show, now a field produced talk show. And start up a couple of other talk shows to share government activities with the city. Then they wanted a full time, in-house producer and I moved on.

      Sorry I’m going on so long. But having the tools & talent to make great video won’t get you a job. But having a direction you want to go can make all the difference. Don’t get stuck competing with people less talented than you. That’s the problem with weddings, an idiot can shoot them and the customers aren’t impressed by audio quality or color saturation. You are adding value no one cares about. Work where your skill set stands out, maybe recording oral histories for the historical society. Or doing free lance feature stories for TV news & talk shows, CNN has several free lance stringers you’d recognize right away.

      Good luck (and I’m hoping you won’t actually need any luck!)

    • #179482
      AvatarGrinner Hester
      Participant

      you know you didnt select a nine to fiver regualt job. Securuty has been traded for passion and a fine trade it is. Remeber that when your eating roman noodles for the 5th day in a row.

      At the same time, learn not to freak when not booked. Over the year, you’ll make more than you did staffing. Look at it that way… not the noodles your eating. πŸ˜‰ You’ll have peaks and vallies. Plan accordingly.

    • #179483
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      you know you didnt select a nine to fiver regualt job. Securuty has been traded for passion and a fine trade it is. Remeber that when your eating roman noodles for the 5th day in a row. At the same time, learn not to freak when not booked. Over the year, you’ll make more than you did staffing. Look at it that way… not the noodles your eating. πŸ˜‰ You’ll have peaks and vallies. Plan accordingly.

      great advice for anyone wanting to freelance really..

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