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Taking Care of Business
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Old October 10th, 2008, 11:04 AM   #46
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Los Angeles CA USA
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It has always helped me to have a set of friends in the same business.

Some of them have told me that I've saved their incomes over the years by consistently passing them my excess work, and they've more than returned the favor.

Plus I pool some of my more exotic gear with them (primes, crane, dolly, Magiqcam, HMIs, audio, etc) on a borrow-and-lend or much reduced rental fee, and of course we work together on multi camera gigs.

In one instance I actually helped set up a pooled co-op between ten freelancers - 20% of everything you do goes into a pot, which gets split up and distributed per month, every month, regardless. Which allowed a few freelancers to relax and if not actually take a holiday (which they were allowed to, after a big job) then at least approach each day with slight less anxiety than a lot of us do. Of course, there were agreed upon safeguards and the membership was very exclusive and qualified. As far as I know, that co-op, or a descendant of it, is still in existence, 20+ members as of a few years ago.

YMMV certainly in this case, and obviously it really does depend on mutual trust and admiration in the face of competition and hard times, but over the years I've built up a trusted few and it's been way much more of a help than a hinderance.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 12:05 PM   #47
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Thanks Chris, that's fantastic and timely advice. It's little gems like that that make this forum so useful. I've been building up my professional network steadily, mainly as I want to have good people to hand to take on anything I can't handle or lack experience in. I also have good friends working in different parts of the industry (though I'm finding the ones working in other industries are equally useful in finding me work!).

The equipment pool is definitely something I'll be trying to get going with friends or even friendly competitors.

I'm really impressed with the co-op idea and that it worked at all. That must have been a wonderful thing to be part of and it's a shame people usually don't have the same faith and trust in one another. But understandable too I suppose.

Apologies for steering the thread off course a little, but I think all the advice is still relevant to the original question.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 04:05 PM   #48
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You're very welcome, Vinny.

One other thing - as you meet and get to know others in your area, even though they be competition and so will be by and large bidding on the same jobs as you will be, it's useful to find out a little more about each of them so you can eventually set up a kind of divide-and-conquer system going on, with each person more or less specializing in certain aspects of product or production that the others don't really get into.

For instance, I refer nearly all my pack shot and tabletop stuff to a friend of mine, green screen teleprompter work to another, etc. That way we don't all have to invest in duplicates of the same gear (apart from the basics, like cameras, support, lighting, audio, etc, that we all of course have to own). and in that way a classic co-op, even if it turns out only to be an occasional sub-contract, is feasible.

So personally, as you may be aware, my own niche has been in post production, so I tend to get a few references from that but many more midnight calls for technical advice, etc., than the others, which I'm glad to give for free, as long as they realize (and they do) that there may well come a point when they'll have to truck their job over to my facility so I can pull their bacon out of the frying pan. Which has happened. And in reverse, many a time.

That extends to clients, of course, producers and facility owners who have sort of fallen into the same habits as the rest of us, because, in the end, production is production and deadlines are they same as they've always been. Budgets too.

In that respect, I don't think I've worked for clients I don't know, or that one of my own circle doesn't know, in, oh, two years, at least. Can't truly say, don't really recall.

I think that's really the only kind of long term security I've ever experienced in this business.
"The content, not the container."
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