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Old June 24th, 2007, 11:19 AM   #346
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Job Advice?

Hi all. I wanted to see what people's opinions were. I have a BA in Journalism/TV Production and worked for a couple years after college at an affiliate station as a Photog. But then left, pursued other interests, lived abroad for a couple years, etc etc. Have been working in non-TV related jobs for a few years now.

But now I have the itch again to get back in the game. I miss the creativity!!! I was wondering what people think would be a good idea. Should I try to begin again (at the bottom) as a photog in a small market and "work my way up." Or try to get a job with a production company? Or freelance (not really my preference, at least yet).

Right now, my main interest is being a shooter (I'd be perfectly happy being a cameraman for a few years), but in the future would probably like to produce/direct, etc. Working in news would be fine, but I'm also interested in more long-form stuff eventually (Discovery Channel type shows).

Any advice is appreciated. Regards. Bob
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Old June 24th, 2007, 10:18 PM   #347
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Bob,

If it's just the creativity you miss, then keep your day job and 'create' on the side.

I don't know about Seattle, but in the market I am in, the are no jobs per say for anyone other than freelancers unless you go through the union. In my case, that would mean seriously relocating, and standing in a long line.

Originally, I wanted nothing more than to just be a shooter, but I have come to love the challenges of being a one-man production company. I still have a near full-time day job, that pays the bills, but am slowly weaning myself away from the security and into the great unknown. For me the transition is slower as I have a family to feed, but I am absolutely stoked every day because of the excitement, and challenges of video production.

I think to make it in this business, you really have to just persevere. My original ideas and plans from a year ago have changed, but my desire to succeed and my faith in myself remains.

Good luck!
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Old June 25th, 2007, 08:03 PM   #348
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Bob;
Seattle is a tough market, as you probably know. Not many full time positions, mostly with TV news, and they want shooters with a couple years experience. Freelance is really the only way to break into the market here.

If it is at all possible to have some flexible hours at the real job, stick with it and see what you can find for freelance gigs.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 09:30 PM   #349
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Thanks for the advice. My day job is a teacher so hopefully I can start using summers, etc. to really start working at it.

For someone starting from almost nowhere, what's the best way to start freelancing?
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Old June 26th, 2007, 12:48 AM   #350
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I did the same thing as you. Former news photog with broadcast/journalism degree. Working for local TV stations. The pay sucked, the work was cool. Bought some gear, did a few TV spots on the side to suppliment my meager income. But kept my steady job because I didn't want to strike out into the "great unknown" without security (I am married with two kids.) My employer found out I was doing TV spots on the side and saw it as 'competition' for their stations production. Long and short of it was they demanded I stop, I told them they couldn't control what I did in my free time with my own gear (maybe not the smartest move ever) and they fired me. Because it started as a 4 month gig that they ended up asking me to please stay on and work for them, and because they never had any problems with me before this, I am fairly certain why they got rid of me. It forced me to get serious about my production company and may be one thing that pushed me into being very marginally successful. One of my favorite moments now is when I take clients from them....(I know it's petty.)
If you do end up getting into it, I'd recommend diversifying. Just like when investing money, you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket. What happens if the wedding market just sucks one year? Or if no one does TV spots? I pretty much do everything related to multimedia that I can do....TV commercials, weddings, sports, events, video news releases/marketing, Freelance news coverage, DVD authoring, website building with emphasis on video for the web, live cam for conventions, pretty much anything I can get my hands in. I don't make much, but probably a little more than I did as a full time news photog, and I have a lot more time off to spend with my kids (average work of one or two days a week.). I actually was pretty lucky. If you have any questions, just ask and I'll do my best to help.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 08:40 AM   #351
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Is "common sense" an oxymoron?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
...My employer found out I was doing TV spots on the side and saw it as 'competition' for their stations production. Long and short of it was they demanded I stop, I told them they couldn't control what I did in my free time with my own gear (maybe not the smartest move ever) and they fired me.
What a small-minded, petty, and childish move! The wise thing for them to do would have been simply to move you closer to a job you preferred. Instead they lost the benefit of your experience, and had to "waste" time/money in the hiring and training of your replacement. (I wonder if they manage other aspects of their business so narrow-mindedly. Apparently so, if their clients are willing to move to "the new indie/freelancer in town"). Go get 'em.

If misery loves company, here's my contribution to commiseration: When I first thought I wanted to pursue video work after my own downsizing in the corporate arena, I called a few local indie's out of the blue. With no real experience, one offered to give me work (when he had it) as his assistant. But, the very first words out of his mouth were: "Don't give up your day job." I worked on/off for him for about a year before I started buying equipent. Over time since then, things are picking up, but I still have that part-time day job. I've bought my own equipment, have worked as both 2nd and 1st cam for him, and have even begun to pick up a handful of clients on my own, (and it's taken about 3 years to get to this spot since I first called him, but my confidence level is way up. I've even got a couple of repeat customers).

If someone has the perseverance, resources, patience, and personality, I think they can make a go of it. Just keep your eyes open to every possible opportunity that might come your way, and network, network, network.

Good luck.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 11:53 AM   #352
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[QUOTE=Denis Danatzko;702986]What a small-minded, petty, and childish move! The wise thing for them to do would have been simply to move you closer to a job you preferred. Instead they lost the benefit of your experience, and had to "waste" time/money in the hiring and training of your replacement. (I wonder if they manage other aspects of their business so narrow-mindedly. Apparently so, if their clients are willing to move to "the new indie/freelancer in town"). Go get 'em.

Thanks. It wasn't even so much that I preferred commercial production over news, it was just that I needed the extra money as my full time job didn't pay very well. AND to top it off, I regularly told the salespeople at the station when I did a commercial on the side and about 85% of the time the salespeople were able to get 'my client' to buy airtime on our station, making them MORE money. My station just didn't like the fact that the other local stations (a couple of which had no production person) could now tell clients that they could get a commercial (by hiring me). They wanted to continue to have a monopoly on all commercial production. By the way, yes they do manage pretty much all aspects of their business so narrow-mindedly. I would tell them repeatedly that their camera had problems, ask for some lights etc....and always was told to 'just deal with it'. They even denied my 'expense' request to buy a pair of $10 headphones at the local store so I could monitor my audio. And then when the s@*t hit the fan and their camera quit working, they would ask me to use my personal camera and when an interview needed lit they would ask me to use my personal lighting kit. How do you think I was able to buy that stuff?... It sure wasn't from the salary they paid me! But really it was for the best as I like what I am doing now a lot more, and have more free time.

And I couldn't have said it better myself,....perseverance, resources, patience, and personality, and network, network, network. The reason for keeping your day job is because it takes time. If you keep at it, you can make it happen. One thing that I marvel at every day, is that (here in the US anyways) you can actually make your own job!! It's pretty neat when you think about it. One other piece of advice.....don't be pressured into setting your rates to low!! I know, it's hard when you are trying to get that first job, but once you do a job for low rates, the word goes out, and other customers expect that same rate! And when good paying work comes to town, customers look for the guys that charge more because the perception is that they are the ones that do good work....you are the one to go to when there is no budget.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 12:25 PM   #353
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Bob, to answer your question, try and get a job with a local production company. Local TV news stations, in my opinion are not the way to go. Very LOW pay, horrible hours, lack of respect, the list goes on. I speak from 10 years of experience in local tv news. Tv news is great if you want to learn how to run and gun. If you want to do quality television go into some sort of production. Don't get me wrong there are a lot of good shooters in tv news, mostly in Denver, Minneapolis, Louisville, N.P.P.A shops. However those are few and far between, and those guys are the best in the business and have a lot of experience. Getting to those markets takes years and a very good reel, trust me I used to be a N.P.P.A regional judge.

If your just starting out it's tough as it is to afford gear, get clients, market yourself and so on. My advice is this, try and get a full time production job and "freelance" on your time off. Save that $$$ and buy your own equipment. Remember this takes time, but be patient, draw up a plan and you'll be fine. Good luck.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 10:16 AM   #354
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Thanks to all who've responded. It's always great to hear personal stories from people here. Reading some of the stories about the low pay, terrible hours, bad management, no funding for equipment, lack of respect, etc. in the TV news biz reminded me of why I got out of it in the first place! :) I dealt with some of the same things you were talking about and couldn't stand this aspect of "the biz."

Thanks for making me remember this. I definitely will not start again in TV news. Sounds like the way to go is to keep my day job and set out on my own. I do have my own gear (albeit limited right now) and have produced a few short videos for fun for various people. I guess the next step is to make a plan to start charging people for them.

Gabe, you mentioned not to start charging too low. This is good advice, but how does one justify charging someone "more" when they are just starting off freelancing and don't have much of a background or contact list locally? Thanks!
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Old June 27th, 2007, 02:14 PM   #355
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Make-up artist - Portland, OR

Does anyone have a lead for a reasonably priced make-up artist in the Portland area? I just need light make in the mornings for a 4 person panel discussion (3 men, 1 woman).

Thanks!
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Old June 27th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #356
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Found

found someone, thanks
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Old June 27th, 2007, 10:32 PM   #357
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It's like the college grad dilema...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Bitteroot View Post

Gabe, you mentioned not to start charging too low. This is good advice, but how does one justify charging someone "more" when they are just starting off freelancing and don't have much of a background or contact list locally? Thanks!
How does one get a job if they have no experience, and how does one get experience wituout a job?

The typical advice is to volunteer, donate your time, etc. While I was lucky enough to have someone "take me under their wing" to learn while getting paid as an assistant, I realize situations like that may be few and far between. Unfortunately, I have neither a solution to the dilema, nor alternative to the advice.

FWIW, though, I heeded the advice and it did work for me, though not overnite. My first "job" was supposed to be a freebie for a non-profit funded almost entirely by private $$. They asked my mentor to do it, who in turn suggested I might be interested. I took the job, expecting no payment, but maybe a few bucks from selling DVDs. It turned out that the "client" burned copies of the DVDs themselves, so no money there, but they liked my work so much that they "gifted" me about 5 times more than I thought I might make from selling the DVDs.

With my courage bolstered, I started networking just a little more aggressively, and after my most recent job behind the camera with a different experienced producer, he told me I was good enough that I should be charging more than I am, and I'm already charging the same rate as my mentor. (I haven't been paid for that job yet, but the compliment was very welcome). Moral of the story: good things can come from unexpected places, if you're willing to look in new places.

Good luck.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 12:50 PM   #358
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Ah yes....this is the 50 thousand dollar question. I can only tell you what worked for me...your milage may vary.

I decided to build a reel, to try to promote the services I could offer. That way, I wouldn't have to work for free. I had kept a bunch of tapes of news stories I had done. I also 'created my own stuff'....by which I mean, I had a PD-150 and Final Cut Pro, I went out and shot a few things (community events, sporting events, things like that), made 'fake' commercials, made some motion graphics and such, and put together a reel with that. So in a way, I was working for free....but the client was MYSELF. I just feel that working for others for free or at a reduced rate tends to get you 'typecast' at a certain rate, as the cheap guy. I'd rather spend my time building up a reel than taking cut rate jobs or freebies. Believe me, I've been turned down by more clients than you can think of because I won't lower my rates. It gets discouraging sometimes. But I can tell you from sad experience, if you ever decide to accept one of these 'jobs' you will find out that in a strange sort of wormhole, the clients who want to pay the least, usually want the most! They will want revisions, reshoots, all kinds of stuff. I decided it wasn't worth my time. Now if you quote them a high price, they accept it, the shoot goes really easy and you feel like it's too much, you can always invoice them less then the quote. Think you look good then? But when you try to charge more.....they throw a fit.

Also, when I started, I was bringing business cards around....stopped in at the local cable company. Their salesperson wanted to meet me. She said they had just got rid of their production arm, and wanted to hand out my cards, because if she sold 'airtime' she needed someone to refer the client to to actually MAKE the spot. Also, right after I started, a guy who was a former attorney general of the state, decided to run for mayor of the town I live in. I had interviewed him about 100 times with a reporter when I worked for the local news station. Somehow he heard that I was doing local production, and since he had seen me with a camera so many times, he told his campaign people to hire me, since he figured I knew what I was doing. So I got lucky and got a spot right away....within a week or so. He ended up winning the election, which helped my reputation as well. Kind of a win for everyone. So maybe the moral is.......it's better to be lucky than to be good! Or maybe it could also be....keep the contacts you made as a news shooter....they can really come back to help you!

Last edited by Gabe Strong; June 28th, 2007 at 12:56 PM. Reason: cheap client wanted a re edit.....
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Old June 29th, 2007, 02:24 AM   #359
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I'm available in NYC/NJ

Hi, how can I help you??
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Old June 29th, 2007, 02:39 AM   #360
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Need a sound person in Calgary - Sat, June 30

I'm doing a 3-camera concert shoot in Calgary on Saturday, June 30 out of my own pocket. We're using my Sony Z1 and renting two more from work. I'm also renting a Sound Devices 744t so we can run a pair of room mics and stereo board feed into it. Absolutely everyone I normally work with is busy this weekend so I'm kind of desperate for someone to work sound. It's very basic - just helping a bit with setup and making sure the levels in the recorder are okay.

I'm not normally one to ask people to work for free but I'm not making money from this and can't afford to pay normal rates. I'll pay for supper and buy a few drinks after, but that's the best I can do.

If you're into independent music, the band is Les Savy Fav and they put on a pretty crazy show - definitely worth checking out!

If you or anyone you know would be interested, please contact me asap!

mark [attt] mg . ca
306-290-5884

Thanks!
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