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Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.

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Ed BlackfordWhere to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 10, 2012 at 7:46:28 am

Hello Everyone,

I am part of a collective that does all sorts of post production work and some pre-production. ( if you want to check it out and see what we do). We have had some success on craigslist (created a relationship with a production company to work on feature films) but most of the people on there are only willing to pay 1/4 of what a project is really worth. Half the time people want it done for free. I wanted to ask what other places do people look for jobs for their companies. I would be grateful for any knowledge in this matter. (I also submit to sites like mandy, creative cow, production hub, motionographer, cpn, krop, creativeheads). How do companies get these jobs from coca cola, red bull, loreal, and other big name companies? Do you need to email them directly and hope they respond? I've heard that elance is no good from co-workers because they take a lot of your profit. I also know that the local government is always needed things like meetings shot and archived. Anyone have any advice on getting into the local gov.?

I feel that this kind of knowledge is very valuable and greatly appreciate any advice anyone could give.

Thank you!

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Michael HendrixRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 10, 2012 at 4:55:02 pm

Ed, most (if not all) big jobs with national companies go through agencies. Now you can sometimes get in through an internal communications department to do training, etc. but, I wouldn't waste anytime contacting them for national ad work.

As far as local government, many mid-to-large governments have internal video departments. Best bet, see if they do and get in with them, sometimes they can throw you overflow work which can sometimes get you in with specific departments.

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Ed BlackfordRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 10, 2012 at 8:43:36 pm

Thanks Michael!

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Bob ZelinRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 10, 2012 at 11:39:28 pm

did you ever apply for a real job? Did you ever solicit a company ?
Did you ever make a phone call? Did you ever ask a hot girl out on a date and get rejected ? Did you give up ?

Pick the company that you want to work for and CALL THEM. Don't email them. Don't look for a "wants add" or "" or "craigs list". BE A MAN. CALL THEM. Get REJECTED. Then call them again - and again, and find out what they want. Do you think I got jobs with Disney, Electronic Arts, Lockheed, etc. from a want ad ? From my reputation ? I CALLED THEM. And they told me (at the beginning) to F#$% off. And guess what - I called again, and I spoke to different people. It took me EIGHT YEARS to get into Disney, but I got in. Do you know what being persistant is ?

Let's get down to basics here. Did you ever ask a girl out on a date ? Did you get rejected ? Does this mean that you only get to go out with fat ugly girls ? Or do you KEEP AT IT - and risk being a stalker ? Well - legally, harassing a girl is being a stalker, but in business, THERE IS NO SUCH THING - you STALK your clients, and you torment them (politely and professionally) until you get them - until you get in !!!!!

So, how would I call them ? Let's say you want Coca Cola (for example -it could be anybody). You call the corporate office phone # (get it on Google) - ask for corporate communications, or the video department, or the advertising department. Ask for the head producer, or the chief engineer, or whatever - ask for his name. Ask for his mailing address or email. Ask for his extention - then say "thank you", and hang up. Do this for 100 companies. The next day, CALL these people. Most of them will not talk to you, but one of them will, and he will reject you. Now, you keep calling these 100 people, keep mailing them, keep emailing them. And ONE of them will say "ok, why don't you come in and we can talk. And when that ONE person hires you - do you know what you do next ? You do a good job for them and you KEEP CALLING THE OTHER 99 PEOPLE on your list. How long do you do this for - FOREVER. And when you now have 5 clients, and you are making a lot of money from being successful from these 5 companies, do you know what you do next ? You hire someone, and you have them KEEP CALLING THOSE OTHER 95 people thar rejected you. Do you actually think that they will call the police and put a restraining order on you ? you NEVER give up - you keep calling until they are willing to meet with you. Until they are fired, and the next schmo gets hired for that position, and you are given an opportunity to present yourself as a great producer/director/editor/shooter, etc.

Do you not like this little story ? Then get a job somewhere, because even when you become successful, you will have to continue to do this for the REST OF YOUR CAREER, because one day your one wonderful client will dump you for the next young hot guy, and you will be unemployed, and have to do this ALL OVER AGAIN.

That's business my friend - this is why Delta Airlines, and General Motors and Alpo dog food keep spending millions to advertise, because THEY KNOW that the next guy is going after their business, and they know that even thought they are established, that their business is being chased by the next aggressive company with a product that is a little better (like Jet Blue, or Kia, or IAMS), and they have to keep up. It applies to them (think Budweiser) and think YOU.

Now tomorrow, you are going to pick up that phone, and EMBARASS yourself, and make some phone calls, and GET REJECTED. Be a man, man up, get rejected, and keep at it, until someone that you want agrees to have a meeting with you. And let me assure you, the first 10 - 20 phone calls will get you nowhere.

Bob Zelin

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Rich RubaschRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 1:25:29 am

Whew, my hair flew straight back while I read Bob's post. And I chuckled, and then realized that, once again, Bob is RIGHT.

How DOES he do it?

Just be grateful he does.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

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walter biscardiRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 1:54:45 am

Standing Ovation........ We should all frame this reply and keep it in our offices........

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Cathy MayvilleRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 2:27:39 am


A-freakin men! And thanks for taking the time to post that. This is church for the freelance life and you can never hear this too much. I remember walking my neighborhood streets on Tues and Wed afternoons totally depressed bc I was working so hard to get work but it wasn't happening fast enough. Within a few years I noticed that the clients I had been picking up were starting to keep me busier and busier. Then I got too busy...then I got "that" client that was a gravy train for years and I thought I had arrived. But then one December came and they sent me home bc they had no work. Whoa! That was a reality check, back to square one! But I know that what I did wrong was stop calling all the people on my list. Now I do that. The other key thing is I only keep clients that I know I can do a really good job for, some clients require more maintenance than others. That's okay. But you have to know when one client requires more than you can give in order to keep your business life healthy and balanced. You have to kick butt on every job you do. And the're finished when you get that, unless you are marketing and learning more on your unbooked days. It doesn't come easy to anyone, but it feels great when you make it work year after year.

Thanks! Cat Mayville
Mac 2 x 2.93 Ghz Quad Core Intel
OS 10.6.4
Kona LHi V 9.0.6
Final Cut Pro 7
Episode 5.3.2

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Eric HansenRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 2:43:31 am

Awesome post Bob. Wow.

It's humbling that even after years of freelance, we still need to keep chasing. Same for business owners. Well, even more so for them so they can afford to keep their full time staff employed. Ed, it could be worse. You could be funding pilots that don't get picked up. I've been down that road and it's brutal.

Bob is 100% right, you need to reach out. You use Red Bull as an example. I've been working with Red Bull for almost a decade. They would NEVER look at Mandy for editors, producers, etc. They reach out to the producers they already have on hand. If they need to go elsewhere, they will ask their best producers who they would recommend. I got to work on Red Bull projects because I worked for production companies that worked for Red Bull. Would this be an option for you? Would you consider an internship to get your foot in the door at one of the companies?

To add one more layer to Bob's calling advice, just show up. I can't tell you how many times I've hired someone, not because they were the best, but because they kept showing up at the production office looking for work. Sometimes being available RIGHT NOW is your most valuable asset. When I'm traveling, I'll try to meet up with clients and prospects in whatever city I'm passing through (even if the reason I'm in that area is totally unrelated). If you cold call someone and tell them you'll be in town for the next 2 or 3 days, it's very likely they'll at least meet with you.

This advice won't help you now, but hopefully it does down the line. My biggest source of business comes via word of mouth, and people i've worked with before. It really is networking. When I take on any job, no matter the pay level, I do the best work that I can for my client and try to leave people with a great impression. I don't let them walk all over me, but I do my work as professionally as possible. Then sometime down the line, someone from that project may give me a call. I've actually had former interns hire me. Treat every person you meet like a future client.

The only other thing I would add to Bob's excellent advice is to never stop the other things you're doing to work on one job. For example, right now I'm working on a Color Grading job that's roughly 6 weeks. But I'm also reaching out to new and old clients to book projects after this one is finished. So even though I'm spending the whole day working on a Color job, when I get home, I spend a few hours doing work for my other clients and prospects. Bob's right, it never ends...


Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT

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Ed BlackfordRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 10:27:06 am

Thanks everyone. All the information is really helpful. I'm not afraid to call companies or do any of that stuff and that's how I have gotten a few jobs in the past. I just wasn't sure the best way to go about it from a new business perspective but I looked too much into it and thought there was some "special" way to do things. Looks like I'll be calling up a bunch of companies soon. We just started up recently and landed a very nice gig working on a feature. We did so good on it that they want to hire us again to help in all aspects of the next film. Thanks again for helping!

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Tom SeftonRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:02:36 am

This is the best response I've read in ages.

Stalk your clients!

It took me 3 years of telephone and email conversations to get our first job from our now biggest client.

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Ed BlackfordRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 10:13:32 am

Thanks Bob!

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Mark SuszkoRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 2:03:16 pm

Put down that coffee!

Coffee is for closers.

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Steve ModicaRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 2:26:45 pm

This is so awesome I would retweet it twice if I could!

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications

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Matt GeierRe: Where to look for work. How to land those big jobs.
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 4:45:54 pm

Go get what you want, and do something worthwhile with what you have!

Turning 16 and submitting 2 job applications and making numerous phone calls to the organization to follow up asking for the interview....
= Showing The Perseverance to Get What You Want In Life

Landing your first position in Customer Service two weeks after your second interview followed by sitting and staying awake through 40 hours of Customer Service and Procedural Training....
= Showing The Ability to Achieve Outstanding Accomplishments

Spending the next 2 years at your first job, moving up the ranks from pee-on status, getting yelled at by people from Disney, NASA, MGM, Universal and then taking time to let them know it wasn't their fault because "the customer is always right".....
= Showing the Full and Unconditional Commitment and Love to the Customer

Having the balls to leave all of your family and friends behind at age 19 and accepting the generous relocation package to go to work for Silicon Graphics Inc. doing the same thing....
= Proving Everyone Wrong Who Said You Would Never Be Able Do It

Still Turning Your Dreams into your Reality......
= Truly 'Fraggin' Priceless

Call To Action
Don't let anyone tell you cannot do something....


Something I had a dream of doing since age 12 was go to work for Silicon Graphics. That was about that time saw Indy graphics workstations in Jurassic Park. I became inspired to be a 3D Graphics Design and Computer Animation Artist.

I had to wait until I was 16 to work full time, and find someone willing to hire me....and then keep that position and do the job better then I was supposed to do.
Although I'm not an accomplished Computer Graphics and Animation Artists today, I'm still in the same industry I started in, and I'm still talking and interacting with Video and Production Companies who are always on my TV and Big Screen.

Now, my 3D Graphics and other work is more of a hobby, but that's because I love what I do....

...Which means I did something right so many years ago.
...Which also says something to the people who took a risk on me.

Matt Geier
(Video Networking Solutions Expert)
(Creative Design Workflow Consultant)
(Social Media Networks Consultant)
(Technical Video Industry Sales Consultant)

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