Filmmakers: Be Open to Career Change!
With the Coronavirus Pandemic, the term 'job security' becomes redefined. Those who thought their job was safe and was furloughed, now realize how fragile their job security is. This is where diversifying your skills can help you through economic depressions and future pandemics. Luckily, I believe that the film industry, specially technicians, have skills that can be transferred to jobs that are considered essentials through a defensive and cautious society.
All types of media have seen an increase in demand thanks to the internet. Companies like The New York Times, Vice, Fox, CNN, and many other news platform have seen an increase of online media demand. It's not just the news media that requires an active internet presence or remote operation. Virtually every company has a social media or internet jobs that is considered an essential part for their future prospects. Every photo and video you see in a company's website is make by a professional photographer, filmmaker, Videographer and organized by social media managers and employees.
*Behind the scene of a short film*
Why you should NOT change your career too dramatically.
If you are considering changing your profession completely different from film, you can and it might be a better security, but I don't think it is necessary. I am using the assumption that the internet will thrive in the future. There is a risk to everything, so do your own research and decide for yourself. I will list reasons why you shouldn't change your job completely unless you have no choice.
1. You already have the skills you went to school for or have many experiences in. You are a more powerful asset to companies if you don't require training and has an excellent resume or work already to show that transfers smoothly to a different job.
2. You know the general industry, union laws, and know if you are being taken advantage or not. You already have good insight to what a good employer or bad employer is as a freelancer.
3. You know the community of your profession more and you are more able to be referred or find opportunities.
4. You will be able to work on a career that you love. Switching careers because of job security can really hurt you emotionally and mentally in the long run. Whatever decision you will make, regretting it in the future and changing back can slow your progress tremendously. Don't give up on your career choice, be creative with it. You picked it for a reason!
*Music Video I made with my buddy*
The advertisement and social media career has a greater need in times of quarantine. As technicians, you can also find skills that society finds helpful during times of need. I know one electrician who is now working to make incubators for hospitals and is also doing a photo shoot for the incubators. You can work to set up tents, and become a reliable handyman. As an onset technician you already know you can work twelve hours a day. Use your skills to help your society. Don't forget as a filmmaker, your skills are already diversified into many jobs. You either work well with your hands or you have skills that will help with media and advertisement.
Here are reasons why you should start looking into a career in advertisement, specially as an individual contractor:
1. There is a chance you get commission. Commission pay may be inconsistent but unlike a salary, the quality of your work can result in more pay than a salary ever would. With commission pay, you can work less hours and can make more. You become your own business.
2. Like I said before, there is good job security in advertisement as long as the internet is still the future.
3. You can transfer to many different companies as an individual contractor. Unlike film, where network can mean everything, the corporate world only cares about the quality of your work and the price you offer. You have more options of companies to work for as an advertiser or social media manager.
*Photo of my old lens that I'm advertising to sell*
How to train to be good at advertisement
I don't claim to be good at advertisement, and many of you may already be successful in this. Here I offer you ideas on how you can improve your advertisement skills.
1. Learn how to use your phone
This means know how you can optimize your social media and know how to use your phone camera effectively. If you don't have a smart phone, buy an affordable used camera and know how to edit those on the computer.
2. Know how to advertise yourself
It might be hard for you to show yourself to the world, but the more exposure you will get, the more opportunity you will encounter. If you do it wisely and consistently, whether it be in two years or longer, you will eventually get to your goal or end up with a better opportunity.
3. Learn to talk to the camera.
I know we are not all actors but I believe speaking into a camera is a skill that can be learned by anyone. You will find success when you learn how to say your ideas creatively and concisely.
4. Learn FREE editing softwares.
Many phone application or PC applications are available for FREE (Blimp, Photscape X, iMovie). The only time I recommend using paid softwares, is if your tasks requires features not offered in free apps. Your school or library might offer paid editing softwares for free as well. You can also use Free trials to practice the software.
*Screenshot of Broccoli Soup Cafe Podcast*
As the biggest platform of media, Youtube can be a safe career change. Treat Youtube like how you treat your body with fitness goals. The more often you do it and the sooner you start, your success will grow and eventually you will get results that you want (aka getting paid). It is always good to diversify your skills and sources of money, so if you haven't started now, you should think about it more seriously. Keep in mind, to be successful in Youtube, you may need to do many years of consistent upload with no pay to see your desired outcomes. Lucy and I do Youtube because it is fun for us and it is a way we can experiment with our creativity. Have something that keeps you on Youtube without the expectation of getting paid. Ironically, I believe that's the secret to success for many creative careers.
Look for side jobs to supplement your income or lack thereof when times are hard.
When times are tough you may not have any other choice but to do side jobs you don't like. Start with asking your contacts shamelessly. If you're in serious need of money, you have nothing to lose. You can also try these online jobs to make a quick buck, or to just supplement your income during the slow season.
Other Online Jobs:
1. Work as a teacher online. (Might need certifications)
2. Become a blogger or vlogger.
3. Sell your photos
4. Sell your videos
5. Make product photos for companies for their amazon products
6. Become a virtual personal assistant
7. Become a transcriber
There are more opportunities that you know not see listed here. Just remember to be safe, and don't break the law. If you do this part right and consistently, you are starting your journey as an entrepreneur. At this point, you have the ability to decide how to make money instead of relying on one job you might not like.
Level Nine Productions