6 Tips to Survive Working As a Freelancer in the Film, Television and Video Business

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  • October 16, 2019
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1. Get the Phrase Out

When you determine or the trade decides for you, that you will work as a freelancer, it’s important to turn out to be seen. Calling each TV station or manufacturing firm on the town and asking if there’s work accessible will get you completely no the place, besides to harass the particular person answering the cellphone. And resumes within the mail? They find yourself within the trash.

The only and best factor to do is social networking. Making a profile on websites like LinkedIn.com, Mandy.com, Media-Match.com (Media-Match is a pay website, the others have free fundamental listings) not solely helps to present you a spot to indicate your stuff, it additionally validates you. Your profile on these websites holds extra weight than a paper resume, it offers you extra stars, so to talk. And it will get your identify out on the web in a searchable format-when somebody hops on Google and kinds in your identify, your Linked In profile comes up.

2. Being Paid-What Methodology?

I do know this appears bizarre to be quantity two, however earlier than you are taking your first freelance gig you have to determine how you will be paid.

It’s a must to be versatile, if you happen to get freelance work at a TV station, then they’ll put you on the payroll as a W-2 worker. However what if you happen to get a gig writing a script for a non-profit? How will they pay you? If don’t have anything setup prior, then you’ll have to fill out a W-9 tax kind and provides that non-profit your social safety quantity. And guess what? They will report this revenue to the IRS on a 1099 kind and they aren’t going to take out any taxes out for you, it will likely be thought-about Miscellaneous Revenue. In order that implies that YOU might be accountable for paying your entire Social Safety Tax, Medicare Tax, (all that falls beneath FICA on a W-2) and your federal and state revenue tax. This can be a very REAL drawback within the freelance world and I’ve personally been on the fallacious facet of this, owing 1000’s of {dollars} to the IRS .

The perfect factor to do is to take a seat down with an accountant and talk about your choices. Chances are you’ll discover a sole proprietorship that receives 1099’s works for you. Or you could need to Incorporate, kind an LLC or one thing else. And an accountant will assist you determine what purchases you should use as write-offs to your freelance work. I cannot stress sufficient, that talking with an accountant and having your cost technique arrange a forward of time, will prevent from grief and probably owing 1000’s of {dollars} to the IRS .

3. Being Paid-How A lot? And what about Money Stream?

That is the new button matter round my workplace. And it’s tough to know what goes for what. So that you suppose, properly I was paid X quantity once I was enhancing for this TV station, so that’s how a lot I’m going to ask for as a freelancer. I want it have been that straightforward. Charges fluctuate dramatically however there are thresholds that line producers use. The perfect factor to do is to speak with others and ask, “What do you cost?” And be sincere, in case you are within the technique of getting your first freelance gig and the producer asks, “What’s your day charge?” say, “I haven’t got a longtime charge, I’m versatile and I want to work inside your price range.”

And what about trying up day charges on the Web? The data by no means is correct. Charges are subjective to what sort of gig, location, distribution platform, Manufacturing Firm, and on and on. You simply need to get into freelancing and see what others are being paid in your subject of experience and your location. Finally it’s what’s snug for you.

Money move can also be an enormous subject with freelance solely gigs or once you run a small enterprise. Do not solely settle for gigs from massive companies. Why? They’re sluggish to pay. And this isn’t as a result of they’re making an attempt to stiff you or play the inventory market together with your money-large companies have a system of examine and balances for cost to outdoors distributors. It would take 90 days in some circumstances to be paid. So it’s important to pepper your gigs on smaller tasks the place you realize you will get paid in 30 days or much less.

4. Craigslist.com

Oh boy…….. On-line job boards like Craigslist, Manufacturing Hub, TV JOBS, and the numerous extra on the market are an effective way to search out gigs. And they’re additionally teeming with seekers of free labor. I can not rely what number of adverts I’ve seen like the next: “Searching for crew with their very own tools for a TV pilot, internet sequence or Music Video that would be the subsequent biggest factor. It has been written by essentially the most wonderful A-Listing Hollywood individuals and has Hollywood stars/Director connected. Do not miss out on this as soon as in a lifetime alternative. Please ship your resume, a hyperlink to an on-line reel and a complete checklist of your entire tools. No pay however we promise, meals, a replica of the DVD, publicity and ONCE IT GETS PICKED UP, we will certainly carry again the entire crew to work on the challenge.”

Until you are feeling like volunteering your time, do not fall for that. As a result of it will likely be nothing greater than a volunteer gig and 9 instances out of 10, it should develop into a nightmare.

BUT-student tasks or individuals simply getting collectively to have enjoyable making a video or for a worthy cause-do not submit guarantees of future paid work. They state it’s a pupil or volunteer challenge. They are going to be upfront! And hey if you happen to really feel like throwing your hat in for the trigger, by all means do it, it’s a strategy to meet extra individuals within the biz.

There are legitimate gigs on Craiglist. You simply need to filter by means of the entire noise and reply to those you suppose are legitimate. Use your intestine, if pink flags are waving, then click on off.

Look on Craigslist within the following sections: Underneath Jobs-TV/Movie/Video, Underneath Gigs-Inventive and Crew.

5. Managing Purchasers

Yeah you have got your first gig! However oh no, you bought a name for an additional gig and they’re each on the identical day!

Right here is the place the artwork of the “maintain” or “penciled in” comes into play. So many instances bigger manufacturing firms, advert businesses, and many others, will put an entire shoot collectively with out having the 100% inexperienced gentle from their consumer. This occurs extra on the massive company degree than wherever else. Or the producers for a actuality present might pull again on a shoot on the final minute and solely need two PAs as a substitute of 4. And nationwide TV new outfits have an entire system of “maintain” and “launch” phrases with cost ramifications and minimize off instances from a “maintain” to a “go.”

So what do you do?

Properly first off, in case you are booked and it’ll occur, then you’re booked. You actually need to weigh your choices in case you are booked on a gig and also you get a name for an additional gig on the identical day that’s going to pay you a little bit extra money or has higher networking alternatives. You actually have suppose onerous about canceling on somebody. How will it have an effect on your relationship with that firm or that particular person? This trade may be very small, and phrase spreads quick if you happen to do not honor commitments.

However for instance you’re serving to out your buddies on a brief movie and Martin Scorsese calls. Properly, be sincere and clarify your state of affairs to your folks and assist them discover another person to switch you.

Then again in case you are on a “maintain” and one other gig comes alongside, name the primary gig and ask whether it is actually going to occur. If they can not provide you with reply or want extra time, then inform them that
you could take one other gig so you will not be accessible anymore. Don’t fret!! Producers take care of this on a regular basis, you will not be black balled or talked unhealthy about. The producer will respect your honesty. No producer or coordinator desires surprises; they need to know the whole lot up entrance. And at all times say, “Hold me in thoughts to your subsequent challenge.”

And in case you are working for a small gig, like writing a script, simply handle your time correctly.

6. Insurance coverage

Do you have to get a manufacturing legal responsibility insurance coverage coverage? Not until you will be creating the complete manufacturing, hiring the crew, renting gear, and many others. Then you’re accountable for the manufacturing and also you want it. You’ll be able to’t pull allow and even get on some areas with out it. However in case you are simply being employed to be on the manufacturing staff, then the manufacturing firm might be accountable. And the manufacturing firm ought to carry enough Workmen’s Comp insurance coverage in case one thing occurs to you on the shoot. It’s a grey space, however even volunteers on shoots will be coated beneath Workmen’s Comp. Even in case you are solely on set for at some point, you continue to might be coated. Should you ever really feel bizarre a couple of challenge, ask the producer if they’ve insurance coverage. In the event that they get mad at you for asking, then that may be a pink flag!!!

Medical Insurance coverage then again is the large subject. I nonetheless wrestle with this. Once I was at NBC as a freelancer, my union, NABET, labored with NBC so we may very well be a part of the Leisure Trade Flex Plan. I paid for the insurance coverage, it was low cost as a result of we have been half of a giant group and NBC managed the funds. And it was actually nice insurance coverage. The catch was that you just needed to work so many days per 12 months at a collaborating TV station to be a part of the plan. Once I left NBC, and after my Cobra ran out, I used to be confronted with an enormous dilemma.

There actually is not any one-way to go about this. And in some states, like Illinois, it’s unlawful for non revenue member teams to return collectively and supply a gaggle medical insurance coverage plan. And when you have a pre-existing situation, till 2014, you’ll be able to’t get particular person insurance coverage; it’s important to be a part of an employer group. The state of Illinois has an ICHIP program to assist individuals like this, however costs range.

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