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Old October 18th, 2003, 11:49 PM   #1
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Considering video as a full time business

I have recently jumped into this video stuff with both feet - mainly just for my own fun and hobby, but from the last few months of my research and learning, as well as recnet events, I am seriously considering attempting a business out of video. I've been reading as much as possible in the forum and other places, and just keep learning.

Background - I've been into photography for 10 years, and got paid for a few small shoots over the years. I often considered chasing pro phtography full time, but the market is absolutely saturated. My local phone book (mid size metro area) has no less than 8 pages of micro print listings of photographers. The same book has about 1/2 page and a couple 1/4 size ads under the vidoegraphy heading. Also in searching at places like WEVA and, I see what seems to be a shartage of serious videographers in my area. Many I've looked at their streaming demos on their websites, and I can honestly say that I'm producing better material with my "no experience" right now. I KNOW I can compete on a quality level with most of them.

I've shot consumer grade video for years, and am very "up" on technology. I got my first DV camera (consumer grade) about 2 years ago and have played with it and NLE software ever since. This pushed the sale of all my photo equipment to finance a full outfit of higher end DV equipment. I got a GL2, accessories, filters, and built a full video NLE workstation.

I did much of the production work myself for a commercial for my company last year, and really got an interest in video production from this point. However, I've never had "real" formal training, never been to film school, etc. But I do know photography, composition, and so on, and I've always heard good things about the consumer grade video I'd produced.

A couple friends got wind of this interest, and I'm already preparing to produce a few broadcast spots for a local govt. agency, and I'm also starting work (tomorrow!!) on a 30-45 minute documentary for a local racing team. Both are paid deals, and both found me without any seeking on my part. Maybe this is a 'sign'??

Obviously, I'm on the verge of taking the full plunge into full time production. I fear it will be just as brutally difficult to secure contracts as it was in the photo world, but the market research I'm doing tells me the market is wide open. I'm not much of a salesman either - my biggest fear in jumping into this.

Could some of you share how you got into this business full time? Did most of you pros have a degree in film or years of experience as an apprentice on a video crew, or did you just jump right in there? I don't want to sound like some dumb amature "turned pro", but that is the reality. I've got no doubt that I can handle the gigs I've got now, and if I can generate continual similar deals in the future.... I'm quitting my day job... tomorrow. :-)

Thanks for reading and thanks much for feedback.

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Old October 21st, 2003, 01:29 PM   #2
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 09:14 PM   #3
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Do you have enough work right now that your making at least 30% of your current jobs income? I don't think that I would make the jump until I could change over without a significant pay cut.

My local video work is a paid hobby for me that I don't want to make a full time job. I enjoy working on a couple productions a month and having my broadcast job pay the bills. If I did local work full time I don't believe that I would enjoy it as much as I do now. I still make a profit right now and I have enough space between projects that I stay fresh with new ideas.

Have you thought about changing careers and getting into broadcast? You'd learn a lot and still be able to do some freelance commercial work like what your doing now. And the experience you gain will show through in your own productions. Think you can shoot good now? Start shooting on a daily basis and in a couple months your current shots will look a lot different to you. If you already see that you have some natural talent with a camera and building a story then a job in the industry will only hone that talent and give you a wealth of technical knowledge.

How old are you? If your under 25 then there's a good chance that you could start in local news. If your over 25 then public broadcast, cable television, or a full time production company.

Give it some thought that it may be better to go and work for one of the local established production companies. Instead of making it a competition with them try and work with them. If you think that you can do a better job then talk to them about it and if they're wise they'll take it as an oppourtunity to better their product. And you stand to gain more by working together with them as oppossed to competing with them at this point.

Anyhow, I would definitely give it some time and see if the work continues to grow or if your just going through an up time.

Ben Lynn
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