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-   -   When Can You Call Yourself a Professional? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/taking-care-business/87468-when-can-you-call-yourself-professional.html)

Jenna Klingensmith February 24th, 2007 06:17 PM

When Can You Call Yourself a Professional?
 
Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum, and fairly new to the digital video world. This seems to be the best forum on the web for digitial video and I am glad to be a part of it. Now for my first question :)

I know there is alot of professionals on here, so this is mainly aimed at you.

For those of you who are self taught, or in some cases even educated in an institute, at what point did you begin to call yourself a professional.

I'm a begining videographer, and I don't want to jump the gun and call myself professional, but I'd like to know when I technically can. Does it depends on the amount of work you recieve? How talented you are? Your equipment? If you have a crew and a studio? etc.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

-Jenna

Mike Teutsch February 24th, 2007 06:27 PM

Jenna,

Well, technically you are a professional when you get paid for what you're doing. That said, you have to decide when you are ready to be called that.

Base it on your knowledge and expertise in the field and your ability to turn out consistently good work. If you are doing video work and your customers are happy with what you turn out and they are willing to pay you a reasonable wage for it, then you are truly a professional. You are then a professional videographer.

It is a different story if you wish to call yourself a DP, Director, etc. etc., because then there are much higher standards to live up to and others generally have to agree with your opinion, especially if you wish to promote yourself as such.

Just have fun!

Mike

Jeffrey Butler February 24th, 2007 06:30 PM

PROFES'SIONAL, a. Pertaining to a profession or to a calling; as professional studies
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith
...but I'd like to know when I technically can. Does it depends on the amount of work you recieve? How talented you are? Your equipment? If you have a crew and a studio? etc.

You have to have a landline and fax machine, right? Isn't that it? I think that's it...or maybe it's when you meet someone who can't do you what you do - yeah - I think that's more it. Then again, it might be when another professional respects you. Nah, that's goofy.

It's when you can actually do what you're telling people you can do.

Bill Davis February 24th, 2007 06:36 PM

Hi, Jenna.

From my perspective the key is if you make your entire living from making video.

No matter what level you work on, if video work is the difference between eating and going hungry - to the exclusion of everything else. You're a working pro.

Either you're already good enough - or you will be soon - cuz if you aren't - you and/or your family won't eat.

Simple as that.

Nate Weaver February 24th, 2007 07:04 PM

Of course the technical definition is whether you make your primary income from it.

My own personal definition is, are you confident that you can fulfill your client's expectations, for the work you're advertising yourself for? For instance, if you're getting into wedding videos, can you complete the job on time, with no major problems that require excuses on your part? Audio that you don't have to make excuses for, etc etc.

In other words, I think being a true professional means not getting so far in over your head that you can't deliver.

Waldemar Winkler February 24th, 2007 09:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith
Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum, and fairly new to the digital video world. This seems to be the best forum on the web for digitial video and I am glad to be a part of it. Now for my first question :)

I know there is alot of professionals on here, so this is mainly aimed at you.

For those of you who are self taught, or in some cases even educated in an institute, at what point did you begin to call yourself a professional.

I'm a begining videographer, and I don't want to jump the gun and call myself professional, but I'd like to know when I technically can. Does it depends on the amount of work you recieve? How talented you are? Your equipment? If you have a crew and a studio? etc.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

-Jenna

A few thoughts on the question. Please add your own.

Being a professional is a number of different things. It is having enough experience to complete the task at hand within the deadline even if you don't know all of the details, because you WILL learn what needs to be known.
It is knowing when to turn down a job, regardless of the money, because you know the end result will damage more than it benefits.
It is hundreds of hours of learning the techniques, and at least the same amount of time applying those techniques while working with people, the infinite undefinable variable.
It is your attitude. It is applying virtually impossible standards of quality upon youself that no other business or corporation would even consider demanding of its employees.
It is paying the bills, and building equity for the future.
It is taking the "sows ear" shoot and turning it into the "silk purse" video.
It is saying, "The day is over. I am going home, and I am proud of what I accomplished. And ... I will do the same thing tomorrow".
It is being recognized by peers.
When you know professional quality, and you know you exemplify that quality, you will know you have achieved:
1. Something precious.
2. Something temporary.
3. Probably the best never ending goal to consistently achieve.
4. Personal gratification.
5. Humility.
6. The wilingness to nurture the growth of those persons who are just beginning the process you started so long ago.

Jenna Klingensmith February 25th, 2007 02:04 AM

thanks so much
 
Thanks so much for all of your feedback and quick responses! As I continue to try to establish myself and get my foot in the door you can expect me to be on here asking questions and seeking advice.

Jon Fairhurst February 25th, 2007 02:40 AM

When can you call yourself a pro? Whenever you want. Don't let others define you. Define yourself. :)

Meryem Ersoz February 25th, 2007 08:50 AM

i'll second what jon said. you decide. when someone asks you what you do, and you say, "i own a video production company," or "i'm a video producer" or however you decide to frame it. when you wear that identity comfortably.

i don't even think you have to be paid, frankly. get a few local credits or get a few things in festivals. get a business card. find a potential business partner who is advancing at your level or greater, and agree to shoot an event or two, to see how you work together. just step into the shoes, and the rest will follow. professional video production is a vast, expanding universe right now, and there's plenty of room at the trough for many levels of production expertise....

and take full advantage of the DVinfo resources. you can get distance-mentored from some of the best in the biz...just ask, and it's amazing who will step up to give you advice and tips. i am always astounded by the friendliness and access here.

Steve House February 25th, 2007 09:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jeffrey Butler
You have to have a landline and fax machine, right? Isn't that it? I think that's it....

Nyah, you have to carry BOTH a cell phone and a Blackberry and be so special that you never, ever have to turn them off on the set, even when the shot is mic'ed wireless.

Oh wait, that's a Producer

Peter Wiley March 23rd, 2007 02:14 PM

When I see the term "professional" in advertising it always makes me pause. Those working as professionals and who have a reputation in a real professional community rarely have to explain that that's what they are.

If your work is up to a professional standard it should speak for itself.

Chris Luker March 23rd, 2007 02:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst (Post 631647)
When can you call yourself a pro? Whenever you want. Don't let others define you. Define yourself. :)

Exactly!


ps I just had a thought... When Sonny and Cher were signed, did he go by Pro Bono?

Art Willig March 30th, 2007 01:41 AM

After you've made all the mistakes an amateur makes.

Bill Hamell March 30th, 2007 08:13 AM

When asked if I am a professional, I answer no (since I do not film full time,) however I do professional work.

Bill

Josh Laronge March 30th, 2007 09:14 AM

Isn't everyone with a 3 ccd camcorder a professional?


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