June 14, 2017 at 9:37AM

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How To Find Work as a Freelancer?

Hello NFS Community,

I'm looking for some advice on finding work as a freelance Cinematographer. First I'll layout the process so far and issues I'm finding. I'm around the Atlanta area for reference

The sources I use to find work are as follows: ProductionHub.com, Mandy.com (Now filmandtvpro.com), Staffmeup.com, Thumbtack, and Craigslist local ads. I have also sent my reel to local production houses in hopes off drumming up some work from them.

Now I have only been at this about 2 months full-time, but it's like the work just dried up. People stopped contacting me, I don't get replies to follow ups, and none of the listings I find ever pan out.

What is some advice from you seasoned pros out there on finding and keeping some what steady work as a Cinematographer or Filmmaker? I appreciate any and all feedback.

6 Comments

I looked at your reel, and you definitely know what you are doing. I would suggest that you would do better by networking with other filmmakers, befriending them and letting them know you are seeking work. A lot of these websites and job finders can provide work, but also a good amount of awful clients and low paying gigs where your talent will not be appreciated. Also, what is the state of your instagram and other social media? Start producing short from content regularly that you share on there. Bombard your friends with interesting content and just make the world aware that you exist, and people will begin referring you. The best paying and most enjoyable work I get is from referrals, not from Thumbtack. And it just takes time, and the right connections. Be patient. and good luck!

June 18, 2017 at 11:59PM

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John Haas
Cinematographer
799

Thanks for the insights. I'll start working the Instagram route more. I need to split my professional one and personal because right now it's a little bit of work followed by a lot of my daughter and family.
Also what are your methods for networking?

Kyle Acker

June 19, 2017 at 8:42PM

Honestly, I film concerts in LA at $50 a pop through this mediocre company I'd rather not name, but it allows me to be constantly meeting new filmmakers that I then may have the opportunity to collab with if I get along with them, and bands that sometimes I connect with and most times not. Said company is also in Atlanta I believe... so maybe do some research on live living room concert music related content...

But honestly, I take a beating pay wise many times, but it pays off when I bring a positive energy to gigs and people like working with me. When they then refer me to someone else, I raise my rate somewhat. I would say, start filming art events, contact small businesses that interest you and offer pro-bono videos and explain that you are trying to create content to market yourself with and in return, they get a free video.

You are on the right track, just focus on meeting the right people, and making small daily steps. And check out the podcast "Filmmaker Freedom" by Rob Hardy. Its got a lot of great insight in it.

June 19, 2017 at 11:00PM

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John Haas
Cinematographer
799

Hi Kyle,

I started at a camera rental house here in Los Angeles. If you work at a rental house then you will meet a lot of working AC's, ops and DP's. It will limit the number of "real jobs" you can take but you will still have weekends. Also, if you're a good prep tech and you make some contacts that know what you want to do, they might start bringing you out on jobs as a second or camera PA.

Another benefit to working at a rental house is you will get to play with a large variety of gear and get to work with some of the newest toys.

Take free jobs from time to time. A doctor does a lot of free work before he ever makes a dollar. When we do free work, it's kinda like our residency. Even though I get somewhat regular work, I still do free jobs.

If you have equipment, post it on websites like Craigslist or Sharegrid and offer yourself with it. I've seen some aspiring DP's offer full camera packages and themselves for $500 for a complete music video! Remember, all it takes is a director or 2 to like your work and you'll start working more regularly.

Hope this helps,

-Kurt

June 21, 2017 at 6:37AM

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K W
355

Quality visuals in your reel Kyle - suggestion? Who are you trying to serve? Small businesses? The filmmaking community? Want to do weddings? Niche down. As a business owner, I can't tell what you're trying to do; it's all over the map. If you need a little more on this, feel free to visit this article I wrote up for us microbudget filmmakers: http://churchfilms.com/blog/video-production-niche.

June 22, 2017 at 5:01PM

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First let me say one thing, I think your goal is awesome! I have struggled since college on finding a way to use my skills to the means that I should. I'm really looking forward to diving into your site and growing my business, because my goal is to one day be a Hollywood level DoP. Thanks for doing what you are doing and thank you for your input here.

I believe where I want to focus is working with small businesses as I am one myself. So time to dive in and focus on that.

Kyle Acker

June 23, 2017 at 9:50AM

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