*takes wedding photos with a Nintendo DSi*
me trying to accomplish life goals
I’ve finally got around to updating my showreel, my last one was out of date by about 8 months!
I’m quite pleased with what i’ve created in the last year and think this showreel really gives an accurate representation of what I can do as a filmmaker.
I’m pretty chuffed because I’ve just been booked to film one of my favourite bands, Tall Ships next week! I had a spooky evening yesterday. I was downloading their new album, Everything Touching on iTunes yesterday and just as it was nearly finished, I got a phone call from the event promoter I do a lot if work for asking if I was free next week to film their gig. Hell yea! How did then know?! So next weeks gonna be pretty awesome. I’m being paid to see one of my favourite bands, and be ‘all up in their grillz’ filming them all night. I’ve said it before but ill say it again. I love my job.
I get emails every week asking me if i’d be happy to offer my services for free. This can range from “Can you come to London to shoot my band’s music video, we can’t pay you but you can sleep on my sofa?” to “I am a professional photographer and have 8 wedding bookings for the rest of this year and would love someone to shoot video alongside me, I am hoping you can do this for free?”.
The first answer that would come to mind for most people is a resounding no. But don’t be so hasty there my friend! There is still merit in doing work for free.
Having done this ‘video thing’ for over 2 years now, i’d say roughly 50% of the work I have done so far was done for free. There are a couple of reasons for this:
I think the first one sort of speak for itself. I’m not keen on charging people I know for my services, just doesn’t seem right somehow. Number 4 on this list however I feel is the most important. If you’re like me and you’re wanting to expand your portfolio of work for the future, you can’t afford to be saying no to jobs, paid or un-paid. Trust me, doing all this free work now will pay off in the future. Nowadays, even after only a few short years, all of my work is paid, with the exception of family/friend favours. That is largely down to the fact that I have a fairly expansive portfolio of work now that I can show to people for them to see what I can do.
Another thing, just because you’re working for free does not mean you should put any less effort into it. You should put all your effort into every project you take on, wether paid or un-paid. At the end of the day, the purpose of your free work is to show other people what you can do, so surely it makes sense to do it to the best of your ability?
Another benefit of free work is establishing connections. By working with lots of different people, you gain lots of new contacts which could, in turn, lead to paid work. After doing a few free jobs for a local theatre company, they where so impressed with my work that I now do bi-annual paid work for them.
Just watch out though. You don’t want to cheapen yourself. Your aim should not be to do free work forever. If you are not happy to do a job for free, try and reach a compromise with the client. If they like you enough, they’ll usually be able to find some money for your time. Never EVER let free work conflict with paid work either, this is a cardinal sin!
Hope this helps some of you out there. I don’t want to pretend to be an expert. I’ve only been doing this a couple of years, not the 30-40+ years of some people in the industry. Just thought i’d share what i’ve learned. Good luck!