The life of a freelancer means living constantly in the unknown. Highs and lows, ups and downs, busy times and slow times. We need to be able to take the punches when they come and know when to seek out opportunities. Timing is everything. Why let it control your life when you can use it to your advantage.
Last week in my email newsletter, I was talking about the harsh reality that there’s a current work drought in the film industry, specifically here in Australia. Freelancing is tougher than ever in Queensland, with the low tax incentives and Commonwealth Games hype driving productions away. Only now are we starting to see television and film slowly make its way back to our shores.
It can be a stressful time for an artist when work is slow or even non-existent and often causes a hell of a lot of panic and worry. So how can we find the GOOD in this situation and use it to our advantage?
This doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you’re willing to change your mindset.
When you really think about, no work simply means you now have a chance to catch up on everything you’ve been ‘meaning’ to do but never had the time. It’s a golden opportunity that will disappear when the next job comes around. There’s no point sitting there waiting for the phone to ring. Take advantage of your free time and get things sorted while the opportunity presents itself:
You are a brand, so make sure everything is evolving with you
Everything that represents your skills to potential employers should always be up to date. This means your resume. Add your most recent jobs, make sure your contact details are still relevant and do the same for your IMDB page. But don’t forget about your other ports of call, namely website, and portfolio. If you have images from recent makeups, add them to your body of work. Even though most work comes through networking, it only takes one person to catch you off guard when you’re asked for your folio when it hasn’t been updated in three years!
Take care of that boring business stuff you’ve been avoiding
Haven’t had time to do your tax? Drawers of receipts piling up that need to be recorded. This is the time to take care of that stuff because there’s no way you’ll be doing it in the middle of a job when you’re working 16 hour days. Catch up on that expense and income tracking, send out invoices, follow up payments, and file everything neatly. It makes your life so much easier when you have to refer back to it. We freelancers gotta get paid!
Use the time to take on some personal passion projects
Portfolio looking a little drab? Start a personal project that you can add to your portfolio. Something that you have always wanted to do that gets the creative juices flowing. The reality is that in film and television, you will rarely have access to photos of your work due to confidential briefs and NDA situations. So why not create your own brief. Get together with some other artists, book a photographer and go nuts. Create on your own terms.
Clean out and re-organise your kit with a clear mind
We all do it right? When a job finishes, we’re so excited to get out of there that we throw everything back into our kit willy-nilly, destroying the organised structure we had started with. You all know I love a good cleanout, so take the opportunity while it’s quiet to go through and neatly repack everything for the next job. ~And while you’re at it, look thoroughly at all of your makeup. Do you really need that? Can I work more efficiently with less?
Don’t forget to stay in touch with people
It sucks when work is slow, but the worse thing you can do is wallow in your own self-pity and do nothing. I hate using this word, but HUSTLE really is the name of the game. Stay social and don’t let people forget you exist. Get in touch with fellow colleagues and find out what’s happening. Information is your best friend and you’ll never have the knowledge if you don’t ask for it. Follow up with your contacts, and don’t forget to remind them that you’re available. Still having trouble? Try sending a friendly email to other department heads and artists, introducing yourself. Staying active is the true key.
ALSO, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER! WALLPAPERS FOR THE REST OF YOUR APRIL!
If you’re new here, I’m a little obsessive and like to change my wallpapers every month on my devices. If you’re like me then you can look forward to a new wallpaper every month here on the blog. I think this month is my favourite because I love me some black and white. I hope you do too. Enjoy!