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Best approach to approaching a perspective employer

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Roy SchneiderBest approach to approaching a perspective employer
by on Jan 18, 2010 at 1:50:47 am

Hi All:
I hope you are all enjoying a happy new year.

After 10 years of a really good gig with great earning potential, a new contract has cut into my paycheck considerably. I find myself looking for supplemental work doing evening or weekend shifts. I have not doe this in a while and am just starting to put together a list of potential employers. As employers, how do you prefer to be approached by well qualified freelancers?

I am looking for the best way to get your ear without irritating you! Love to here your thoughts.

By the way, I am a highly experienced editor/preditor with both long and short form expertise in the NYC area (just incase).

Thanks for the input

Roy Schneider
Long Live Da Cow!

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Mark SuszkoRe: Best approach to approaching a perspective employer
by on Jan 18, 2010 at 6:55:28 am

(That's prospective, as in a prospect, btw.)

I think from previous iterations of this topic the consensus was that a personal visit with a killer reel was the thing, once you pre-qualified the prospective employer. A lot of email spamming won't do it. Random phoning won't do it. This is a business of relationships, so any time you can get someone you've worked with before to introduce you to someone new, it carries more weight than you might think.

Have a killer reel and web portfolio site. Ask to take tours of places you want to work in. Find out about the guys that run the place; their backgrounds, their charities, their hobbies, etc. Have some idea of who they do work for and demonstrate you did a little research before you came in, by asking intelligent questions. Ask to leave a reel and biz card, ask if you can schedule an interview later.

The hire is a 2-way transaction: you are giving of your talent and expertise, they are giving a salary and benefits and facility access. Act like you are an applicant, not a supplicant. You came to help them out, not to beg for a hand-out. Of course you want to seem eager to work and not like any sort of diva, but you can't go in on your belly and take slave wages for the "experience" or "the great references and contacts". Know what kind of rate you need as a bottom line, and be ready to say "thanks but I can't go that low without some other kind of offset benefit", and walk if it is below that minimum. It is not a negotiation unless they know or feel that you can walk away at any point if you don't like it.

But that negotiating comes later; first, you're just making contact and establishing relationships.

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Timothy J. AllenRe: Best approach to approaching a perspective employer
by on Jan 18, 2010 at 3:06:59 pm

In addition to what Mark said, I'll add...
The people I feel most comfortable hiring are the ones I've seen already working with people that I work with (clients, colleagues, competition). Reputation is everything. The way to do that is to get out there and connect with the people who are working in the area that you want to work.

Expand your circle of co-workers a bit, even if it means volunteering as a grip or an Assistant Editor for a charity event. I'm much more likely to hire you if I've seen you in action before.

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Chris BlairRe: Best approach to approaching a perspective employer
by on Jan 18, 2010 at 3:51:32 pm

I spent several years freelancing back in the early 90s and now own a facility (14 years). I for one don't mind a phone call from someone with a follow up of a solid reel and resume.

But what got me a lot of gigs when I was freelancing was offering to come in and work for a half-day or day on their editing system to learn how their facility works. Even if you go into an Avid based facility and most of your experience is on Avid, their workflow, storage, naming conventions etc. will be different than other places you've worked.

What I would usually do is offer to edit a real short-form, non-deadline type project for a client for free. If they liked my work, liked my attitude, and if I could quickly learn their system, they hired me at my regular rate from there on out.

I know as an experienced editor you might be saying, "no way." But every single company I made that offer to ended up using me as a paid freelancer. I doubt seriously they do that if I don't come in and show them I know what I'm doing.

I hire people more than just for talent. I hire them for their attitude, their ability to get along with everyone else in the office, their ability to understand and adhere to our way of doing things, and probably most important, their ability to take constructive criticism and make changes.

You'd be surprised how many freelancers I've worked with who will argue about how to do something on their first gig. I've been doing this for 25 years, and while I realize there are dozens of ways of doing things both on shoots and edits, the owners are ultimately the ones responsible to their clients, so if they want something a certain way, that's the way it needs to be.

Last thing I'll say is be persistent but not annoying. Call the places you'd like to work every 4-6 weeks just to touch base. I actually appreciate that and when a job comes up, your name will be top of mind if I see you calling regularly.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN

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Roy SchneiderRe: Best approach to approaching a perspective employer
by on Jan 18, 2010 at 9:39:58 pm

Thanks For the ideas. It has been a long time since I have hit the road for work, and the industry has changed quite a bit. Looking forward to new adventures

Roy Schneider
Long Live Da Cow!

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Mike CohenRe: Best approach to approaching a perspective employer
by on Jan 20, 2010 at 10:28:56 pm

You could approach architects and fine art painters, as their work deals with perspective.

Sorry I couldn't resist.

Mike Cohen

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