Long before I became intertwined with filmmaking, I was an aspiring musician and audio engineer. Just like there are a few websites that we visit for our daily dose of filmmaking news (hopefully NFS is one of them,) there are equivalent sites for audio production and engineering. One of the absolute best of these sites is Home Studio Corner, which is run by a super cool dude named Joe Gilder. He's one of those guys that has been able to turn his creative passion into full-time employment. He recently wrote a post about how to land your next audio production job, and as it turns out, all of his advice is equally applicable to filmmakers. Check it out:
Now you might be saying to yourself, "Audio engineering and film production aren't the same thing, so how can audio advice be applicable to filmmakers?" Well, both are skills that are one part technical, one part creative problem solving, and one part art. Beyond those similarities, both audio and film production can be turned into full-time employment due to the fact that media is a massive industry throughout the world.
With that out of the way, here are a few of Joe Gilder's tips to help you land your next job:
You need to hone your audio chops, absolutely. But to make it in the music business, you need to focus on both the music AND the business. This may come as a surprise to you, but people won't hunt you down and hand you money to record and mix their music. You've got to create your own business to attract potential clients and sell your services to them.
This is probably one of the most difficult things for creatives of all types to master, especially considering that most of us find the fundamentals of business to be tremendously boring (at least I do.) However, a little business know-how can go a long way when you're trying to launch your own production company, or even just get a film career started. That's not to say you need to get an MBA or anything like that, but tracking down a few solid online business courses could make all the difference.
Always be building your portfolio
No, I'm not talking about investments. I'm talking about an ever-growing collection of your work, a place to show off your best projects. It's simple enough to set this up online. Make it easy for people to hear how good you are.
Network for clients AND referrals
You should be constantly developing relationships with potential clients. That should be a given. But are you also developing relationships with people who can send customers your way? People you can help as well? My buddy Ben plays lap steel. I send referrals to him all the time. Just the other day, he referred a friend to me who needs someone to play/sing at her wedding. It's the whole "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" thing.
These next two tips go hand in hand. If you're constantly building your portfolio by working on projects, then chances are you're also consistently coming into contact with new people in the industry. In that case, you need to be making the best possible impression on these people through not only the quality of your work and work ethic, but also with the quality of your attitude and personality. These last two things are equally, if not more important than your filmmaking knowledge, so make sure to always be making great impressions on whomever you work with. It'll go a long way in getting you those referrals.
Make sure you stop by Home Studio Corner to read the rest of Gilder's tips. And while you're there, you can learn a hell of a lot about mixing and mastering in Pro Tools (something which will come in handy for you post production audio people out there.)
What do you guys think of Joe Gilder's tips for finding creative employment? Do you have any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments
[Microphone photo from Flickr user Aural Asia]