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Old September 22nd, 2018, 11:14 PM   #1
Inner Circle
 
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Considering leaving this industry

What the title says. It's been 13 years of a structured career path that led to experiences for me, but I'm slowly thinking I chose the wrong career path, because I remain unemployed.
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Old September 25th, 2018, 09:00 PM   #2
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

Been thinking about your post. It kinda clashes a little because on one hand it's 13 years of structured path and yet on the other hand you say that you remain unemployed. Is this a temporary unemployed or an extended session?

Andrew
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Old September 26th, 2018, 04:10 AM   #3
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

Maybe the easiest way to start making money is to shoot weddings.
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Old September 26th, 2018, 10:06 AM   #4
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

Without knowing the details of your situation, freelancing is difficult to make a living. Salary jobs can be monotnous but are pretty straight forward, show up to work, carry out your job duties and you get paid. Freelancers have to find their clients, pay for their equipment and every day they aren’t working they’re losing money. It doesn’t need to be as bleak as that but if you aren’t motivated on the business end, aren’t a peoples person, or aren’t sure what you want to do you’re going to struggle even if you have the skills and equipment.

Put it simply, most anyone could buy a camera and learn to use it, it’s all the other stuff that most people don’t think about that’s equally as important.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; September 26th, 2018 at 10:37 AM.
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Old September 26th, 2018, 07:01 PM   #5
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

The value of sales/marketing/self-promotional/networking skills for what we do cannot be overstated. I am really bad at all that so all my colleagues who are NOT are way busier than I am. It's at least (like 50% of the...equation?) as important as skill/talent. So finding/landing clients/business consistently in the first place is as important as doing good work and keeping them.
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Old September 27th, 2018, 03:24 AM   #6
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

Pretty much like Pete says. Your (our) options are get big, join big, move on, or just keep picking up the crumbs (which are increasingly harder to find, but who knows, keep going and you might be one of the lucky few who stumble over a big one).
.
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Old September 29th, 2018, 01:51 AM   #7
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

As a former 'staff shooter' with a 'steady paycheck' who has transitioned into
the sort of 'one man band filmmaker/business' (that is increasingly common these
days) I can't even begin to fathom going back to a job as a staff shooter. One thing,
is for sure, I haven't run across any 'staff' jobs lately that would even get close to what I
would require in pay to drop my freelance business. Most of them are what I would call
'low wage' jobs.....working 40 hours a week, 50 weeks per year at an 8-5 job (after I spent
way too much time and money on going to college to get a TV production degree) to
make peanuts?? No thank you, I'd rather take the crumbs I pick up as a one man band filmmaker
and I have a lot more days off than someone working 40 hours a week. I wouldn't even say I'm
that good, and I live in a very isolated, small town, but even I can make more doing my own thing than
working a staff job with what those pay these days.
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Old September 29th, 2018, 02:34 PM   #8
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

And that’s another thing (for Jack)...depending on what you want to do, there simply may not be that many positions even AVAILABLE. Production companies in my experience are usually staffed by only a few people, and they hire freelancers for shoots/projects as needed, as it’s not feasible to keep those positions on full time. And at least half the time it seems like people start those companies with their friends or colleagues, so there may never be an “opening” at all (unless they grow so much they need more people).

So full time/staff positions are probably scarce, period. This industry seems to mostly be made up of freelancers, which ties back to my earlier post about marketing etc.
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Old September 30th, 2018, 11:56 PM   #9
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Zhang View Post
What the title says. It's been 13 years of a structured career path that led to experiences for me, but I'm slowly thinking I chose the wrong career path, because I remain unemployed.
It's a tough business. In order to survive in it, you must network with people who will get you and give you jobs and you must branch out. This year, I have paid the bills as a DP, Producer, Writer, Script Doctor, Journalist and now I have an open ended contract as the head of a small PR/Media team from a networking contact from 20 years ago who called me out of the blue. If I was "just" a videographer, I'd be on the streets.

The solution is simple. Network more and take more jobs using your skills other than being behind a camera or in an edit bay. Or get out and get a "real job". There are VERY few good staff video production jobs out there. Most are underpaid, overworked and usually the first positions to be cut during downsizing and recessions.

For most, our business is not a "real job", no 401k, no health insurance, no paid vacation. It's a way for creatives to do what they want to do while some make some money doing it. But on paper and by analytical analysis, our business is a terrible bet to make a good living and lead a "normal" life. I'm 55, been in this business since 1988. If I had it to do over again, I would have ran the other way from this and earned a degree, gone into investment banking and done video/photography as a hobby. Once you hit 45, you realize that making money and earning retirement is ultimately more important to your quality of life than "being creative", for a living at least.
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Old October 5th, 2018, 07:44 PM   #10
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

Corporate, baby. Corporate. 99% of everyone I know in this business who is making a great income, has steady work, and owns top equipment is doing corporate. But you cant wait for the phone to ring. Nobody is ever going to call you unless you call them first and make the sale. 4 - 6 steady clients with a few projects each per year is all you need. But you have to put yourself in “production company”mode and know how to develop a concept, finalize scripts, direct, shoot, edit, and build relationships. If you can do that, the sky is the limit. TONs of work out there if you can run a busines as well, or maybe better, than you can run a camera.
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Old October 7th, 2018, 01:19 PM   #11
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

+1 on what Doug said.

In corporate work pricing may be more competitive than it once was but please know this: The lowest bidder does not get the job.

My clients won't even talk to "Craig list shooters". Cutting prices in lean times is not generally a good idea unless you are absolutely certain of what your doing.

I learned many years ago in the business world no one wants to hire the guy that can only command the lowest rate. Corporate buyers want the best producer they can fit in their budget.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old October 15th, 2018, 11:38 AM   #12
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

Hey bud, this is a tough one. I'll say, I think we've all been there, and we all have different circumstances.

Everyone gives great advice posted in here, I'll say that I agree with Noa, weddings are a good way to supplement income, or hang in there. If you don't do them because you can't or your gear isn't for that, thats one thing. But definitely don't poo-poo it as low level videography, which I've gotten the impression from other across the net & in person. (About 2 years ago I was at a 'meetup' type happy hour a video friend sorta put together. A struggling audio engineer who did odd vocals & voice over recordings said to me "The problem with wedding videos is anyone can do it." I got a bit pissed off over that. Not, noticeably, but just tuned him out & blew him off shortly thereafter).

I've seen it, with college friends. I majored in Video Production I suppose at a fairly mid sized school known for its program. I'll always remember about a year after graduating running into a couple in that major randomly. He became a cop & she a real estate agent? Shocked me, as they both seemed enthused throughout school. They said it was too hard to find work in the field. I suppose. Anyway, I graduated in 1995 so it was before social media & linked in. I was always curious & googled people, curious how they made it. As the internet grew, and FB, I discovered how many actually dropped out of the field. Some segued into computers/programming, others just ditched it altogether & work in pharma sales or whatever.

It's definitely a career of passion. When I approached 40 I was concerned as it was my last chance to really consider government/civil service work. Could I become a cop or a teacher? I swam alot growing up, and got back into it, is the Coast Guard a feasible career path for me? When you go over 40, opportunities like that seem to close.

I will say this, the technology is getting cheaper, and thus, cheaper to clients/corporate. Things like training, webinars & seminars, conferences, internet ads. There's potential, with it, there's also a 22 year old with a DSLR, however what others mention that those people have less experience with, is sales, marketing, and networking. Corporate may be hesitant to work with a 22 year old with a Vimeo page, or a website promoting their 'films' with shallow DoF, try viewing that to your advantage if you can.

Also, be open minded about anything. I originally intended in 2010 when I went all in on video production & ditched the office/customer service/phone queue jobs I mostly worked, to be a deposition videographer. Without getting into details of everything, I've swayed more into weddings but still keep open to anything, including youth sports on occasion. I've done 3 day lacrosse tournaments where I stand outdoors in the sun for 10-12 hours simply shooting sports with a decent amount of breaks. I think it paid $225/day, but multiply by 3 and wasn't a bad way to spend a weekend for me. Things like that, you never know where it'll lead you and keep an open mind. One thing I wish I was better at, is working with people with an idea. Like, they want to create a training website, or yoga videos or something. I've done it, but mostly only did the show up, video it, edit it method. Wish I could take another step into seeing it come to fruition, but part of that is pay, and part of that is, how much can I commit to seeing their dream business come true.

Dan Brockett, your post hit home for me. I'm 45 now, and think exactly like you spoke of.
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Old November 22nd, 2018, 05:26 PM   #13
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

Hey folks... it's been a LONG time.

Jack, I left the industry about two years ago myself. No looking back, except I miss the people.

One thing no one here has mentioned is that LOCATION makes a HUGE difference to your experience in successfully finding work in this field.

For me personally, the Filmmaker mentality surrounding Vancouver, BC was such that no one understood what I did as a webcaster, verité documentarian and communications specialist. Got tired of people asking me to use RED cameras for corporate conferences and conventions. Or to storyboard a simple talking heads corporate piece.

I couldn't change the system and didn't want to do work that I didn't want to do so I left.

Can't change the world so change yourself.

Video was a great life for me for many years, starting in 1998. It was time to go. So I did.
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Old November 22nd, 2018, 09:02 PM   #14
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

Hey Shaun,

I'd wondered where you had gone to as I hadn't seen you on this forum for ages. Seriously, we need to have a supply of RED stickers to go on our video cameras for situations like yours.

Andrew
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Old December 9th, 2018, 12:34 PM   #15
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Re: Considering leaving this industry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Corporate, baby. Corporate. 99% of everyone I know in this business who is making a great income, has steady work, and owns top equipment is doing corporate. But you cant wait for the phone to ring. Nobody is ever going to call you unless you call them first and make the sale. 4 - 6 steady clients with a few projects each per year is all you need. But you have to put yourself in “production company”mode and know how to develop a concept, finalize scripts, direct, shoot, edit, and build relationships. If you can do that, the sky is the limit. TONs of work out there if you can run a busines as well, or maybe better, than you can run a camera.
1000% on point! Corperate work has been amazing for me. Lectures, large AV live streaming events, training videos and promo media production. Also really happy with adding aerial drone videography and protography for constructuon work, building owners and architect clients.

I have a 40hour week full time job working for a large global media company. I do "my" work on vacation time and weekends. So i have my feet in both worlds.

Corperate work is where its at! Im turning down business today because im 100% maxed put on part time work but the extra money is awesome.
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