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    Getting your 2nd, 3rd or 4th full time job? How to move up as a videographer?
    #1
    Senior Member PegLeg Media's Avatar
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    Hello all! I am just curious how all of you have got to where you are today and ways to get to the next level of your career?

    I got my degree in media production in 2008. I did my free work off craigslist to build a portfolio to then land unpaid internships at a PR firm and a small production company. Then went to be the videographer for an event company that went bankrupt in 8 months. I was the senior videographer for the marketing team of a blood bank for 3.5 years and have now been the senior videographer for an online school with a marketing team of 30 people for 2 years. I am still a one man band and I dont want to start my own business where im hustling and dont have a steady paycheck. With over 10 years of doing video I am still shooting with a basic sony a6500 and small light kit. I've never found my way onto a film set and dont know how to advance from here.

    I have personally emailed close to 3 thousand different ad agencies or production companies with my resume, demo reel and website/portfolio and applied to well over 10,000 other jobs. (not exaggerating on the number but this has been over the course of 3-4 years). Id say 1 out of 50 reply, usually with we will keep your resume on file and call you for freelance work, or if applying to certain jobs ill hear "it was tough decisions but someone was more qualified"

    I review my video stats and realize only about 1 in 100 of these people even view a video on my portfolio, so they are just eliminating me before seeing my work.


    SO, I am looking to actually grow and move into a position that works on larger projects, i want to use better cameras like a RED or film in an actual studio. I would love to assist some way on a film or tv show. I would love to find my way into an ad agency, production company or somewhere I can travel with my job. I would think after doing video for so long I would find a company that has at least one person more qualified than myself who can teach me something or assist me as opposed to remaining a one man band forever.

    I have my resume and website ready, I plan on creating a new demo reel soon. I would just like to know if anyone has knowledge on how to get into a job like this? Am I doing something wrong? I am applying across the country and willing to move almost anywhere. Does anyone know a production company/ad agency or somewhere that hires people on my level and helps them grow? I know a lot of it is about contacts so maybe someone can let me know a place hiring near you? Is my only option freelancing?

    Here is my current site: www.AdamFBarefoot.com - I plan on updating the main video with my demo reel when I complete it.

    So advice? opportunities? Anything?

    Thanks for the feedback and hopefully this can lead to a discussion to help people starting out as well.

    Adam


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    Morning Adam. First off I want to say best of luck. I hope you find something you enjoy and can grow from

    I went a different route after school but still think I can help. I started in sports broadcast at a local station and then to Brighthouse Sports (I see you're from Tampa also so I'm hoping you know what I'm talking about lol). I left them a year before Charter took over and now I'm at a different production company. We do things for ESPN and CBS mostly. Please private message me and we can talk. I may be able to hook you up with either sports contact or a great friend of mine who is a DP for Discovery, HGTV and other non-fiction documentary show. Maybe he can set you up for some bigger jobs than you're doing right now

    Best of luck


    Pete


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    Senior Member robmneilson's Avatar
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    Adam,

    I'd say that a large part of getting a response is going to be your reel. I get folks emailing me all the time looking for a job (of which my company is too small to hire an additional shooter full time) BUT the ones that send me a nice reel at least get an email back and I'll keep their info if one of my usual B camera ops is not available for a job.

    So I'd say definitely update your reel. While it proves you can shoot stabilizer footage in a park and edit you should really showcase that you know how to light some stuff too. Shoot some fake interview setups (with family, friends, or craigslist actors) so you can at least try to get simple corporate interview and b-roll gigs as a start.
    "That's what happened to this friend of mine. So he had a lobotomy. Now he's well again."
    http://www.robmneilson.com


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    Senior Member PegLeg Media's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robmneilson View Post
    Adam,

    I'd say that a large part of getting a response is going to be your reel. I get folks emailing me all the time looking for a job (of which my company is too small to hire an additional shooter full time) BUT the ones that send me a nice reel at least get an email back and I'll keep their info if one of my usual B camera ops is not available for a job.

    So I'd say definitely update your reel. While it proves you can shoot stabilizer footage in a park and edit you should really showcase that you know how to light some stuff too. Shoot some fake interview setups (with family, friends, or craigslist actors) so you can at least try to get simple corporate interview and b-roll gigs as a start.
    Yea that's a temp video for my new site. The video section is 8 corporate video examples and that's what I've been sending out in the past. I have about 250 interviews Ive filmed ready for my reel, just wanted to know how much time to put into it considering I would email a couple hundred places in a day and my vimeo video would only get about 2-3 plays that week so I assumed nobody even wasted their time and just hired their friends.


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    I was under the impression that video is a world of freelancers. I am surprised you've had not one but three full-time jobs.


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    Senior Member roxics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by combatentropy View Post
    I was under the impression that video is a world of freelancers. I am surprised you've had not one but three full-time jobs.
    They are out there, but they are few and far between. I've been where I am for over eleven years now. The pay isn't the best, but it's a living and I have a 401k and they pay for my health insurance. Honestly I don't know where else I could go beyond this place to have that. So rather than complain about the pay I've just started doing some freelance work on the side a few years ago to make up the difference.

    I think in many ways this industry is about luck and who you know. You can probably send out a million resumes and reels and get nowhere because I don't think most people really file that stuff. If they do they are horrible at finding it again or even remembering they filed something like that away to even think about searching for it. When it comes time to get some video work done they likely just fire up google or craigslist or call the guy they already know. You need to become the guy they already know that they are comfortable working with or want to work with.


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    Quote Originally Posted by roxics View Post
    I think in many ways this industry is about luck and who you know. You can probably send out a million resumes and reels and get nowhere because I don't think most people really file that stuff. If they do they are horrible at finding it again or even remembering they filed something like that away to even think about searching for it. When it comes time to get some video work done they likely just fire up google or craigslist or call the guy they already know. You need to become the guy they already know that they are comfortable working with or want to work with.
    I'd agree with all of this from my experience. Even with craigslist and production job groups I browse on facebook, it's very hit or miss. Sometimes I'll get several well paying gigs in a row, beating out a ton of others who apply. Morale is high and I'll feel like a king. Other times I'll reply to several, not hear anything and feel like some clown who can barely turn a camera on.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by combatentropy View Post
    I was under the impression that video is a world of freelancers. I am surprised you've had not one but three full-time jobs.
    Generally speaking, yes. Out of the guys that I would consider my close friends in this business that I see/talk to on a regular basis, two are staff at a production company, and they just did that in the last few years. I know more people, including myself, that have never had staff jobs, than those that have. And some of those that did, didn't stay in the staff position too long. If you look at any professional or college sport being broadcast and look behind the camera, there is a 99.9% chance that operator is freelance and the vast majority of the entire crew, too.

    This is a weird business and a lot of it is about timing and luck. Being in the right place at the right time and meeting the right person. Of course, you also have to be able to capitalize on that luck when it happens.


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    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    Based upon what you've posted, you're going about advancing all wrong. You are going through the "front" door, along with ten million other people, trying to sell themselves. The way you get gigs and move up is through networking. Everyone I know in this business who is successful got a connection, recommendation or hook up through the back door, through a friend or colleague, that's the way this business works. I have not updated my production company's website in over a decade because even when we did update it, it never got us work, not saying you shouldn't keep an up to date website, just that we don't and it doesn't matter as far as getting us work. I can count the number of times we have landed a paying gig because of our website (when we were updating it weekly) on one hand. Demo reels, IMHO, don't get you work either, at least not in production. Personally I feel reels are much more important for motion graphics, colorists and editors than for people in production. A lot of camera/videographer/DPs think if they have the killer reel, the world will beat a path to their door. That's BS. Not saying you shouldn't have a reel, you should. Saying that a reel, good or bad, probably won't land you much of anything, reels are more important when a friend or colleague recommends you to a decision maker and they want to see if you know what you're doing. Think of your reel as a basic business card, that's all it is. Even if you think or a few others have told you how good your reel is, chances are your reel alone is not going to do much for you. People give YOU jobs and opportunities because of you, not your reel.

    I have a meeting today with a corporate client. It took me three years of working leads with the company to "land" them and the real thing that put me over the line was that their corporate counsel was a leader in my son's Boy Scout Troop. He hooked me up because I asked him to. All he did was facilitate a lunch with me and their Corp Comm manager and the rest was history because I was "approved" by one of their top execs. I could have sent reels, made calls and e-mailed until I was blue in the face, nothing would have happened because me and my little company would have just been round filed along with all of the others that stream in through the front door. It only happened because of who I knew and who went to bat for me. It's the same all over. Same thing with broadcast and feature film work, most of those hookups have came because I worked with two or three producers at a production company in the 90s and here it is 12 years later and I often shoot high-end projects for them. Because we were in the trenches together over a decade ago and they know that I am skilled, persistent and can make their project happen, even under challenging circumstances like not enough time, budget or resources.

    There is no single recipe for advancing in the business but the constant is, you will only move up and succeed if you have people who will hire you that already know you or will recommend you to others who will hire you. Demo reels, websites, Facebook, Linked-In, few people have moved up in the world and had success BECAUSE of them, they were just support for the connections the person made through other people who advocated for them. Same thing happens at the higher end with reps, publicists, lawyers and agents. Those with good agents, etc. book good gigs, those with mediocre or not connected reps often languish, even if they are talented and are doing good work. The bottom line in our business is who you know, not how talented you are. There are plenty of people in our business with just average talent who make huge amounts of money are massively successful because they are good people people, not because they are the best at their jobs. Network, network, network, work your connections. It's a skill and may who aren't good at it hammer people too much so that they don't want to hear from you. It's a fine line to stay in touch with people without seeming like a pest. Persistence can pay off though. Ask them how their world is doing, what are their challenges and projects? Be at least friendly and conversational, if not a real friend. Find legitimate reasons to talk to them, either through email, text or PM/DM. Don't get into politics, philosophy or anything heavy. Be a bit light and funny, be an expert in something that they need. I network with people all of the time about lots of stuff other than hiring me as their DP. I recommend others when its a skill I don't have. How many of you, if a potential client called you or contacted you, asking if you knew a good makeup artist or production designer, could look through your contacts and instantly recommend someone great at those jobs? Make it a point to befriend the crews you work with, I have landed a few gigs through makeup artists, grips, gaffers, sound mixers, etc. I write for magazines and websites. I publicly speak sometimes as a SME on certain subjects. Meet people, make an impression, stay in touch. Work your connections. It's not an exact science but it is so much more productive than sending your resume/CV/demo reel to complete strangers. IMHO, that is an almost complete waste of time.
    Last edited by puredrifting; 03-01-2018 at 11:12 AM.
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    #10
    Senior Member PegLeg Media's Avatar
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    Good advice puredrifting. So do you or does anyone else have some networking advice? Certain sites good for meetups like Meetup.com? I guess next I need some business cards and to get out more.


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