Enjoy the flexibility to work on the projects you like
If working behind a desk at a corporate job, following the same routine every day doesn’t appeal to you, then a freelance career in film production may provide the freedom and flexibility you crave.
As a freelancer, you offer your services to a client – whether that client is an ad agency hiring you to direct a TV commercial, a company hiring you to produce a marketing video, or a film production hiring you as a crew person. This career path allows you to pick and choose your clients, focusing on the areas that interest you, all while providing a flexible life schedule.
The joy of freelancing is that every job is different. One day you may be shooting a car chase on a city street, and the next day you may be shooting a Victorian ballroom scene for a documentary recreation. The versatile nature of this business includes a lot of traveling, and it’s a great way to experience the world on your clients’ dime.
What may people don’t realize about this film industry is that nearly every production job is freelance. There’s no such thing as permanent full time employment for a film crew. A production company hires the crews they need on a job-by-job basis, so getting in with a successful production company can provide consistent income.
Building a Demo Reel
As a freelancer, clients will hire you based on what you are able to produce, and the way you can showcase your creative and technical abilities is through a demo reel.
I’ve landed million dollar productions based on my 2-minute demo reel, and here are some of the key tricks I learned from years of trial and error.
- Your client will form an opinion of your work within the first 10 seconds. That why you should always lead with your best work first. I’ve had success building a tight montage of my best shots from a variety of projects to show the breadth of my work.
- Clients think you can only shoot what you’ve already shot. If you’re going after a restaurant job, you’d better have food shots in your reel, otherwise your client many not think you can shoot food. I have edited and re-edited my demo reel for specific clients many times to make sure the work I am showing is relevant to their needs.
- If you don’t have it, shoot it. One of the biggest misconceptions is that a demo reel should be a highlight reel of your best work. But in fact, you can shoot shots specifically for your demo reel. They don’t have to be entire scenes, but can be a collection of un-related shots that showcase your abilities.
- Keep it short. Most producers don’t have time to watch your entire reel, so make it short and to the point. I will always provide a link to my website, which has the full videos of al my projects, so if a client wants to see them, they can. Remember your demo reel is the hook at the end of the fishing line. All you need to do is catch their attention.
Day Rates for Freelancers
So let’s get down to brass tax. How much can you expect to earn? If you’re working below the line as a group or electrician, you can expect to earn anywhere between 150 and $500 per day. Once you get into the union, which we show you how to do, you can easily earn over $600 per day. If you become a key such is a key grip or gaffer, you can easily earn an additional $50 per day. Often, the cinematographer is the highest paid on set. My day rate starts at $2000 per day, but often goes much higher depending on the nature of the shoot. We also show you how to rent your camera and equipment package which can often double your revenue. I built a van group truck full of camera, grip, and lighting here. It rents for $1500 per day. Combined with my $2000 day rate, and a $1500 camera package, that means that I am earning $5000 for every day I work. That frees me up to accept jobs that I like, and give me the free time to enjoy my life. And that should be the ultimate goal – to reduce the number of hours you work every week so that you can enjoy life.
My work as a filmmaker has afforded me the time to follow my true passion, which is teaching you the skills you need to succeed. I’ve always been passionate about teaching, I’ve taught at a number of film schools and universities, but I felt that building Filmskills was the easiest way to help bridge successful show maker is at the peak of their career with the next generation of filmmakers.
So if you are interested in improving your career, and learning the skills to be successful, I’d like to take you on a deeper look inside of Filmskills. If you enjoy this webinar, know that it is only a small taste of the over 120 hours of training content in film skills.
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