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Freelance strategies


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#1 Stephen Floyd

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 02:11 AM

I have been going to film school for not very long and just got my own Panasonic DVX100b. I have already been propositioned to film a play for someone and I like the idea of freelance work. But where is a good web site to go for such things? Craigslist is swamped with people offering digital video and audio services and they don't have a specific category for people like me. Are there any good web sites to advertise on where I will be able to stand out and where I won't just get hit up for wedding videos?
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 06:16 AM

First thing to do is to alter your profile to display your real name, as forum rules require.
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#3 Stephen Floyd

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 08:07 PM

First thing to do is to alter your profile to display your real name, as forum rules require.

Sorry, you're the first person to tell me so. And the first person to leave unhelpful information on my posts. But I'll let it slide, sice you're British.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 10:37 PM

Technically his reply was helpful in informing you of the forum rules. And just so this post isn't entirely off topic, one of the best ways to distinguish yourself is to network with other people in the industry who may be in a position to refer work to you or offer other help. It's all about networking. It's a hell of a lot more of you finding work for yourself while maintaining a presence with other working professionals.
As for wedding videos, when they come up, just respectfully explain that you're not properly outfitted for that and refer a wedding videographer whom you trust and who might be inclined to throw you work s/he isn't set up for.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 06:33 AM

Sorry, you're the first person to tell me so.




D'you really want me to go and look up the page you clicked through when you signed up?


Basic reading skills, gentlemen.
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#6 Stephen Floyd

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 08:02 PM

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D'you really want me to go and look up the page you clicked through when you signed up?


Basic reading skills, gentlemen.

Lighten up. We're all here because we have visual skills, not language skills.
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#7 JD Hartman

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 02:36 PM

Lighten up. We're all here because we have visual skills, not language skills.


Really? That will make you pretty F'ing difficult to work with.
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#8 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 14 June 2010 - 05:04 PM

But I'll let it slide, sice you're British.


First rule of successful freelancing: Be careful who you are rude to.
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#9 David Bowsky

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 12:22 AM

First rule of successful freelancing: Be careful who you are rude to.


Seriously.

Would like to see this thread go farther though. How about sharing what you guys do when it's slow, or how to balance the uncertainty of a freelance schedule with family needs, etc?

Hell, right now I'd take recommendations on good health/dental/vision options for self employed types - or perhaps a good accountant with experience with freelance film crew types up here in NorCal.

I mean really, sad to see what could be a good thread disintegrate so quickly.

Edited by David Bowsky, 15 June 2010 - 12:22 AM.

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#10 Sean Elder

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 06:27 PM

Seriously.

Would like to see this thread go farther though. How about sharing what you guys do when it's slow, or how to balance the uncertainty of a freelance schedule with family needs, etc?

Hell, right now I'd take recommendations on good health/dental/vision options for self employed types - or perhaps a good accountant with experience with freelance film crew types up here in NorCal.

I mean really, sad to see what could be a good thread disintegrate so quickly.



I've been wondering the same thing. How would you obtain decent health dental etc for self employed peoples? Also who would you call for financial assistance when tax time comes around? Is there a certain percentage that you should set aside each gig in order NOT to be audited?
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 06:34 PM

If you're union there are ways to qualify for health and dental which I don't know. I know a lot of people who are on their spouse's plans who have a full time job though as well. For taxes I try to set aside bout 25% of what I make each check and then at the end of the year when I get my 1099s I take them to an accountant who I've been with for years who tallies it all up and tells me how much more I owe, or how much is owed me. I highly recommend an accountant who is competent and who works with small business (freelancing is technically a small business) and save all your receipts, for everything even remotely associated with your job as they could be deducted. I normally keep my 25% savings in a savings account which earns me a little interest which is nice.
Most important rules for freelancing are knowing how to network and knowing how to spread your money around. There will often be months of little to no work and you need to figure out a way to carry yourself through the slow-times (feast or famine is true!)
Also, I highly recommend against backing out of a gig even if a higher paying one comes along. I know it doesn't make financial sense in the short term, but in the long term when you cancel on someone, they don't normally want to call you again. of course, make your own call in these situations, i'd certainly look into bcking out of a ultra low budget music video if I got a call to DoP a feature... And, whenever you need to back out of any gig, replace yourself.. find the people who need the work whom you trust and whom you know production will approve of.
Also, don't piss where you drink.... e.g. be as kind and nice to everyone as you can be, be honest, give your honest opinions when asked, and always offer to buy a round at the pub. Never forget, a PA today could be a producer tomorrow.
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#12 Rob Vogt

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 08:30 PM

If you own your own equipment consider forming an LLC or C-Corp production company. Then you can manage all of your expenses and make doing taxes infinitely easier. You can keep all of your finances in your business expense account and have a separate billing account for your invoices. Also if you hire crew on your account and pay them, they are now freelance employees of your company and its a write off. Not to mention if you decide to make a film, then you already have your production company for business loans, investments and tax write-offs for investors... but that's a different story.

Also if you're getting consistent work as a freelancer there is a freelancer's union which can help get you medical/dental. It's not associated with 600, but you still need to work a certain amount of hours/days per year to qualify.

Edited by Rob Vogt, 16 June 2010 - 08:33 PM.

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#13 David Bowsky

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 11:23 PM

Thanks fellas!

Rob: I looked into the Freelancer's Union, but their health care plan (IIRC) is unavailable in Cali. Excellent advice on the LLC though. I know a teleprompter guy who incorporated because he was hiring subs to go out with this gear. I'm pretty far from that point though, only my AC tools at the moment, no real equipment to speak of.

Adrian: From what you posted it sounds like I'm on the right track business wise. I still need to find an accountant I can afford though. Unfortunately my biggest weaknesses are the two things you listed as most important. Saving for lean times: Getting better at that one. And Networking. Oh how I suck at networking. It's great if I actually work with someone as they get to know me as the guy who quietly busts ass, and is friendly if a bit too shy, especially at first. In fact just had a similar conversation with the UPM at a company I work with frequent. She said her first impression of me was just that: Great worker, but kinda shy and quiet.

Would love to hear more of this kind of stuff. I guess especially the networking side.
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#14 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 11:57 PM

Guys who bust ass and get the job done, safely, quickly, and artistically are generally the ones who get the most calls back. Networking ability, I find, comes with one's own confidence in one-self. For me, hell, there are some times when I'm all thrilled and excited to get a beer with a film-fellow, talk shop etc, and then there are other times I am intimidated by it. It's something that (hopefully) gets easier ;)
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Visual Products

The Slider

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine