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Freelance flakes, any advice?


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#1 Stacey Garratt

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 11:52 PM

For the third time this month, I've gotten hired for a freelance camera op gig, set up times to go to production meetings, scouted the location, exchanged a million e-mails... and then the gig vanishes into thin air.

Frequently cited reasons have been "funding fell through", "my friend/brother/hairdresser will do it for free", "I want someone who owns [some expensive piece of equipment]", or the schedule-then-fade-out. Worse is when I've declined shoots because one is already scheduled and the first one flakes out at the last minute.

I've only been back in the city and working since May, so most of these gigs are Mandy/iCrewz/Craigslist born, rather than through established contacts with anyone. And it's all ultra-low budget features, shorts and music videos. But still, frustrating doesn't begin to describe finding out this morning that Friday's promised fat check is never going to appear.

I get the impression that these are fairly common early-career growing pains, but I'm wondering if anyone here has any advice on working with client flakiness. Any thoughts?
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 12:14 AM

For the third time this month, I've gotten hired for a freelance camera op gig, set up times to go to production meetings, scouted the location, exchanged a million e-mails... and then the gig vanishes into thin air.

Frequently cited reasons have been "funding fell through", "my friend/brother/hairdresser will do it for free", "I want someone who owns [some expensive piece of equipment]", or the schedule-then-fade-out. Worse is when I've declined shoots because one is already scheduled and the first one flakes out at the last minute.

I've only been back in the city and working since May, so most of these gigs are Mandy/iCrewz/Craigslist born, rather than through established contacts with anyone. And it's all ultra-low budget features, shorts and music videos. But still, frustrating doesn't begin to describe finding out this morning that Friday's promised fat check is never going to appear.

I get the impression that these are fairly common early-career growing pains, but I'm wondering if anyone here has any advice on working with client flakiness. Any thoughts?


Get used to it. Giant studio movies go down at the last second all the time, and all the people who where booked to work on it are left scrambling.

It's the nature of this business, there is absolutely nothing secure about it.

Smart producers for instance have 20 projects on the go at any time in the hopes that one of them will come together and go into production.

This business has less than zero job security.

R,
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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 12:42 AM

Sadly, this industry is currently attracting everyone and their mothers, brothers, friends and hairdressers. Everyone wants a piece of the action, no matter what -- and yes, a lot of them will do it for free. Some will even pay to do it, by buying some hot new piece of equipment that will land them an otherwise unpaid job --all in the name of getting the proverbial foot in the door. Of course, the digital revolution is playing a huge part in this trend. Which is fine. Except, that is, for people trying to make a living out of film making. Or equally as bad, for people trying to make money by renting out hot-today obsolete-tomorrow digital technology.

The advice I give myself and others in similar straits is: build relationships. Easier said than done, of course, with this economy and so much competition. But there is hardly any other way, short of winning a white hot film making award or marrying a top Hollywood producer's son or daughter. Most people who hire for the legit jobs have spent many, many years working with the same crews year in and year out. Catch 22, as one can easily see. One may have to get a side gig while building relationships, and most people trying to break into the industry will eventually move on to other less competitive fields. Like medicine, accounting, or even hairdressing. May the most persistent, lucky, well connected, set-politics savvy and ass kissing crew members prevail, I guess.
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#4 Stacey Garratt

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 01:36 PM

The advice I give myself and others in similar straits is: build relationships. Easier said than done, of course, with this economy and so much competition.


Thanks; that's really good advice... even having heard it before, it's good to hear it again.
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Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

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FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

CineTape

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport