Long Term Plan
One of the biggest thing that always in the back of mind is how long can I physically be an event videographer.
I just turned 30 and I am in good shape. I don't mind waking up early hours to cover events. I also sometimes work on gigs and commercials.
However, generally speaking, I do think this is a physical job, being able to carry gears and move around and etc. I often ask myself, can I do this once I turn 40 or 50? Can I do this once I have a family or kids?
As I haven't seen too many older folks in this industry, I am just wondering if it is possible for this be a long term career path? Is my long term goal to be doing corporate gigs where things are less demanding then event videography?
Not sure if anyone else thought about this and how they will be dealing with this.
Toronto Wedding Videographer | Toronto Photobooth Rentals
I know people in their 50's doing it. I know people pushing 60 that do it. And more. If your body can keep up, keep at it.
But if you're looking for something to branch into, forensic work, i.e., videos for the legal profession, could be one way to go. As in all cases, lower equipment costs and new technologies lowered the bar for entry so there's lots of competition. But the hours are better.
Another growth area would be to specialize into a niche like recording oral history for families and archives. You'll need to partner with a good interviewer, or learn how to do that yourself, but I can tell you it's rewarding work, if not very "sexy". And a growth area, because of aging demographics and a desire to keep family history before memory loss takes it away. It's a marketing challenge, for sure. But there IS a market there.
Find a local or state government media job covering council meetings, etc. Pay's low but the work's steady. Benefits and pensions may be available.
Work in independent journalism, freelance correspondent documentary stuff.
A niche area that might pay well would be 3-d capture and digitization of objects and locations, for architectural and many other purposes. Scanners mounted on drones, on jibs, etc.
Something I'd personally like to get into; projection mapping video in various places. For art installations, concerts, marketing/sales/conventions/sports (ever see projection mapping done on a basketball court?)
To make a career that pays, I give the same advice I've been giving for over a decade: find a hyper-specialized niche where there is less competition, and master it. I've seen people make a living just doing pro photography and videography of prize livestock. And people that shoot rodeos, beauty pageants, car racing. People that specialize in coverage of vacationers on cruise ships or at resorts. People that just shoot hunting and fishing media. Boat races. Stop motion and time lapses. Fencing matches. Underwater work. Skiing and boarding, of course. Cycling... And all the other activities people do. Maybe, ask yourself, what do you have a passion for, outside of what you do now... and is there a community of those people that can be served with good video? Some of these careers need more than just camera skills or editing skills... they may need producer and writing skills. You may need to retool your skillsets to realize a better career.
Good luck, hope you find something that pays you for your passion.
FWIW, you're still young. And, if you're fortunate enough to find enough work to stay in the business, you should - or at least could - be facing a somewhat lengthy career.
Media and content production have changed so much and so rapidly in such a short amount of time, the biggest challenge you face may be determining how to please an audience. There was a time, some might call it the "golden age of television", when content creation was rather formulaic, and live streaming, i.e. a live broadcast was such a monumental undertaking that it rarely happened.
As for the physical demands, they may change as you age. Look at what's happened in just recent years: equipment has become smaller and lighter. Even small halogen lights largely have been replaced with LEDs. Perhaps the one aspect that hasn't changed all that much is in the audio end. Yes, mixers and other equipment have become smaller, but the size and general scope of microphones has changed little.
I started in video after a long corporate carer, and it became my 2nd career while concentrating on legal video, something that can be handled relatively easily as a one-man-band. I'm 65 now, and have been shooting almost entirely alone for about 15 yrs. Yes, I'm slowing down a bit, but, I still do non-legal work that doesn't require a run-n-gun pace. My take is that if you stay healthy and in shape, make occasional upgrades to equipment, and stay alert to changes in audience preferences, you should be able work for quite some time.
is honestly great to hear the feedback from you guys. i suppose wedding industry (which we are focused on at the moment) is different from what you guys are doing. our hours are quite long usually 10 to 13 hours days.
i do like all the suggestions mentioned and gonna give it a thought.
is just in my industry, at least in my city, we don't see too many ppl in the wedding industry past 40 and rarely 50+ and beyond.
even photographer's too, i dont see too many of them at those ages.
i guess wedding is just different, in the summer we really don't have a weekend and is just non stop working. i am happy about the pay, but yeah i just dont think i can or would want to do this forever. once in a while is nice to have a weekend, spend time with your families and friends.
Toronto Wedding Videographer | Toronto Photobooth Rentals
I did wedding work on the side to supplement the income for my growing family, but yes, you get to a point where the time you can spend with the wife and kids becomes more important than the extra income. And I can guarantee you, most people come to that realization much later than they'd have liked, in retrospect. (cue "Cat's In The Cradle" song here). I also was doing this back at the point where the formats and systems were about to take a huge technology jump, and I had to decide if I wanted to invest in all the new gear and editing technology, to stay competitive and relevant, for what, for me, was only a weekend "pin money" gig, ...or cut my losses. I learned some things while doing those weddings, (including building an abiding hate for the Kool and the Gang song: "Celebration" (shudders)...) and was able to apply my existing production skills and knowledge to those gigs to elevate them a bit. But unless I went for the super-high-end work, which my day job didn't allow time for - I wasn't going to make enough to offset the loss of quality time.
So your existential crisis is coming in about on schedule. You face the same kinds of issues, just in a different decade.
I'm not going to disparage wedding/event work. Doing it well is an art. There's a lot of competition from the low end, cut-rate, semi-pro people, who use it as entry-level work, giving it a bad reputation, and there's a stratospheric level where the budgets and production standards rival a Hollywood production. In the middle are people just doing their best to make a living telling people's stories, at a price they're willing to pay. It's a job where the client has a lot of influence on how the job is done, which can be hard to manage regarding expectations. Yes, the hours are hard in season. OTOH, shooter jobs regardless of genre' often run to ten-hour days, then paid overtime. You often get to have some creative fun in the editing in this genre'. But it does carry a stigma to the unschooled; don't try to promote this background too heavily when marketing to businesses/ corporate, because they have some out-of-date prejudices about what qualifies a person to do corporate communications work. Rather, I'd suggest if you plan to chase corporate work, start building a portfolio of example work "on spec". Make up some training, promo, PSA's , VNR's and annual report kinds of examples to show what kinds of "looks" you're capable of, outside of weddings. In the process of making those, you may find what kind of alternative work flips your switch.
Then concentrate on that.
I have a friend who contracts out the shooting and just edits the videos. He doesn't make as much as when he shot weddings, but it's easier once you have a stable of good shooters(with people skills) to work for you.
Greg Ball, President
Ball Media Innovations, Inc.
Another consideration with age is travel. Taking a red-eye flight at 30 vs 50 is very different. Also waking up at 2am to catch a flight makes for a potentially long work day.