Finding Full Time Work
Ever since I graduated from college (2 years ago) I've been doing freelance work wherever I can find it. I have a fairly versatile skill set so I end up in a lot of different areas of production and will often end up getting hired to do an entire project myself, but I'm mostly focused on shooting. While I do enjoy the work and the money is fine, I often think that I'd prefer having a steady paycheck and be learning from people who have a lot more experience in the business. While I haven't done much serious searching, I'm a little clueless as to where to find jobs at production companies (I live in Austin, if that helps). I check craigslist regularly but I've never received a response on any of those, and every now & then I'll look on Monster or another job posting site and never see anything that's even remotely close to what I'm looking for. Am I doing something wrong or are jobs at production companies just tough to find?
I live in Orlando, FL., not Austin Texas, so what the hell do I know about Austin, TX.
But if I lived in Austin TX., I would certainly be contacting Troublemaker Studios (do you know who this is) - they share space with Austin Studios. Have you contacted either of them ? Do you belong to the Austin Film Society ?
see this ?
How about Electro Fish Films ? Did you call them ?
are you on Production Hub?
did you contact everyone on this list ?
How about Stuck On On in Austin ?
Horizon Film & Video ?
FORGET CRAIGS LIST - are you an infant? They have a new invention - it's called GOOGLE. They have two new inventions that you also may have heard of - it's called email, and the telephone. You should CALL all these people - who cares if they are looking - you are looking, and you should tell them that you are available. And when they hang up on you, or just say "send me your resume", you should send it, and call again, and again, and do this to EVERYONE in Austin.
Why does anyone think that a real company is going to go to Craigslist for a qualified person ?
Thank you, but I'm not sure why all that condescension was necessary. Troublemaker is extremely difficult to work for without an in. Hell, this is their entire website: http://www.troublemakerstudios.com You can't even contact them without knowing someone. Yes, I'm on production hub but have never seen a job that I qualify for/applies to me and yes, I've tried plenty of cold calls/emails and have never had anything come of it. I guess I wasn't really expecting there to be some website full of perfect jobs that I didn't know about, but I would appreciate knowing how some of the people here found the jobs they're in or how they found jobs when they were starting out.
if you are not willing to be put down, insulted, make to feel like a piece of dirt, then perhaps you are not cut out for this business. My clients yell at me, put me down, talk down to me, and drive me crazy, and threaten me all the time - this is normal business. I charge them a lot of money, and they expect results. And if I don't give them what they want, they are not nice to me. Why do you expect professionals who are paying you to be "nice" to you. And once you DO get in, the other people who are at your level will try to slit your throat, because they want the opportunity that you have now.
ALL companies want entry level cheap labor. ALL companies want to find that smart kid, who they can exploit, so they can make lots of money, while they pay you very little, and work your ass off. So those opportunities are there - you just have to get in. When you join a society or local film organization, they will usually have SOMEONE that is tied into an established company that will hire you. You go there, and MEET these people. You go up to strangers, and introduce yourself and say "oh, what company are you with - gee, I would love to work for that company", and maybe they will give you the name of someone to call.
Because you said that you are just a few years out of school, I will assume that you are about 24 - 25 years old. You should watch the movie "The Karate Kid" and watch the scene about "wax on, wax off". You go to bars I assume - there are millions of them in Austin.
Go for a beer with your friends soon, and find the most attractive girl in the place, and go up to her, and say something like "hi, my name is Jensen, and I think you are really beautiful". The most likely response may be that she will smirk, and turn away from you, perhaps as bad as laugh at you, or worse, her friends will laugh at you. THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT. You want to toughen up to rejection. You keep asking good looking girls like this out on a date, or for a drink, and ONE OF THESE GIRLS WILL BE INTERESTED and say YES, I would love to have a drink with you. This is what it's like getting a good job. Stop being insulted by my comments, and start getting used to rejection. Don't let rejection stop you - let it make you stronger. When you call Troublemaker Studios, and the 23 year old receptionist blows you off, DON'T LET HER STOP YOU. She won't be there 2 years from now - you have to learn to get past her. She is NO ONE, and you are a PROFESSIONAL. Take her rejection, and get past her.
Did you try calling Elizabeth Avellan at Troublemaker ?
Did you go to the Troublemaker Linkedin website, and contact everyone on the Linkedin page ? I bet 50% of the employees are on that page. Did you ever apply to their internship program when you were in school ? Did you ever intern for a TV station in Austin ?
Let me assure you, that you can find out the names of every company person in every company in Austin MUCH easier than Troublemaker, because they ARE ALL ON THE INTERNET. You call them. You mail them. You email them. You stalk them. You become a pest. Most will reject you. One will hire you.
It's almost Friday. I expect to see you at a bar in Austin, getting rejected and humilated by a hot girl. This is not dating - it's preperation for work - because her rejection will be much worse than any professional enviornment where you are told "no" by a company. You will toughen up, you will keep calling, and you will get hired.
If you want a "nice job" where people will be "nice" to you, go to work for the post office. You will fill out an application with human resources, no one will insult you, and you will get medical benefits. That' won't happen in the TV Production business.
Although I'm old enough to make remembering when I was young, difficult, I remember my early job hunting days back when radios still had dials and tape was often 2 inches and phones were still attached to walls.
I'd never call asking for a job because you allow them to throw up their barriers. The two keys to my phone calls were getting the names of the decision maker and acknowledging the receptionist as gatekeeper.
I'd call and introduce myself to the receptionist. I'd ask them who would be the person I'd speak to for a job interview. Even if I might have had names already, this source would be from the inside and it also let the receptionist know they had the keys to the gate.
I'd then ask when I could drop by with my resume. I had learned that if you asked for an interview, the person was invariably busy or the receptionist would say there's no openings, using their keys to lock you out. My question left little room for a rejection since I was just dropping a resume off and it was at the receptionist's convenience. The receptionist would always give me a time since no other power broker's decision was involved.
Showing up in person meant yet another personal connection with the receptionist. Sometimes the person doing the hiring was even available to see me. It seems that receptionists had a tendency to pick times when they thought the decision maker might be available yet, without forcing anyone into a commitment.
Keep in mind they'd probably have no interest in talking to me if I asked for an interview and no job was available. . . but since I happened to be there and they had five minutes, sure maybe i'd be invited in to say hello. All this was a lot more effective than mailing a resume to sit like a needle in a haystack on some desk before it took the trip to the circular file.
So if the decision maker actually was busy, I'd still be making headway by making an impression in person with the receptionist. At some later point in the day they'd hand off my resume to the decision maker and, I suspect, often with some personal assessment from the receptionist I just made an impression with. Such hand delivered resume from the receptionist only added to the impact.
No place was too hoity toity, this was back in the day when that was still part of the English language, I think. One such place had just finished shooting a Dustin Hoffman movie. Woody Allen was a regular client. The resume drop off turned into an unplanned meeting with the decision maker. Ironically I looked like a complete disaster with messy jeans and unkempt hair.
The decision maker took my resume and his first words were, "You look like a mess. Why'd you show up here looking like that?" I told him I had just come from a shoot that I was a PA on. I said it was more important that I show up on time then to get cleaned up. Mind you this was just to drop off the resume. There was no planned interview but the receptionist did give me a time. He asked me a bit about my interests and about the shoot I had just come from. He followed up saying I should come back tomorrow. I asked him who I was to talk to, thinking he was just being nice enough to give me a second chance at a more civilized interview. He said, "...[talk] to me, someone quit this morning so I'd like you to start tomorrow if you can."
Some time later I asked him about the back story on his decision to hire me so I was able to hear first hand, his decision making process. Apparently I made a good impression with the receptionist on the phone and arriving with the resume, my brief chit chat with her in person added to it while she brought him my resume and asked her what she thought of me. He had her send me in since, although when I called there were no opening, there certainly was when I arrived.
He told me I passed his key character assessments. I made a good impression with the receptionist, I was already working in the industry, that I was clearly willing to work hard at crappy industry jobs given the way I looked, that being punctual was important despite personal obstacles (my messy appearance).
So my advice would be, respect the receptionist as gatekeeper and understand they're the first part of your interview. Delivery in person is more important than asking if there's an opening or mailing a resume. Even if there isn't an opening, you may be the first person that comes to mind when the time comes, if you've already made a good impression. Be on time no matter what gets in your way, even if it's yourself.
Agree with everyone 100 per cent, except Craig - 200 per cent.
Note to Bob Zellen. I just found creative cow and wanted to add my two sence to the frey about younbg Jensen, Bob is 100% honest, full of intergrity and cares enough to write it all down. Wax on! Wax off. If I may, I am 52, worked 27 years in traditional media and digital. Bob your analogies between the levels, co-workers, peers and secrataries it's creazy but when you really create, and you enjoy everyone's presence on the set there is no other profession like it. I think you can share the same kind of result but when you say I am a D.P. with gear, or I am any position below the line, it can be so cool working the angels, the travel the food, the actors, your fellow crew all in unison. The best sets I have been on have acknowledged everyone before a frame is set. That is best policy but seldom used. With the trade is everyone for themsevles, attacking their piece of it and hoping for a good finish, wrap and reputation. THAT is all you really need to worry about with any young person entering the dragon. I had everything Bob has had happen to him and I bet Bob is A-1 at what he does. Truth is, the brightest in the business are the best to work with, they may not be an a-list star, maybe they will be but you can't take away the truth on a shoot. There's a lot that takes place when lenses, audio, locations and time come out to play. I have shot hundred of hours of multiple cameras on reality shows. Loved single camera as wekk as driving a cube truck and managing the production team. For the most part, I recieved complements then being yeld at, that's true. And I did my time in LA and I started in post-production and worked my way into production and bidding for cameraman with crew on press release videos and much more. Just keep at it, make the calls, stop in to studios, have a resume and email when you can. Bob is right, but just make your interests all about the work.
If you've read any of Bob's other posts, you'll have noticed that he was being nice to you ;-)
However, by my observations Media Production is more and more a freelancers/contractors game and no one wants to pay you a full-time wage, because they simply don't know when their next job will arrive.
You can either settle in at corporate and low-end broadcast and be the master of all trades and none - i.e do camera, editing, producing etc.
Or specialize in doing one thing very well and become the top person to go to in your field - this approach requires you to make big sacrifices and potentially move to where the jobs are. Many people has failed in doing the specialist thing, simply because they didn't build themselves a network of like minded professionals who were able to pass on their details and recommendations.
So you have to either network for business, or colleagues - either way, craigslist and the other job forums is the last place you want to look for work at.
All the Best
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[Mads Nybo Jørgensen] "craigslist and the other job forums is the last place you want to look for work at."
I wouldn't rule out Craigslist entirely, but you do need to be discerning. I had an excellent freelance editing gig for two years -that I found on Craigslist. When I decided to leave that gig, they were paying me $50 an hour. I just recently finished a project that came through a referral from someone I worked with at this Craiglist gig. So, the relationships I built there are still paying off.
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Some real companies will go to Craigslist to find people. They just don't have real budgets or realistic expectations to go with the projects.
Yancey, what Bob is telling you may be hard to hear right now, but he's telling it to you straight. He was where you are now, he only made it by treating the job search like going to war. No prisoners. Return with your shield, or on it. Every day. He's still doing it the same way, and it's the way that works for him.
Roberto was cut from similar cloth, If you read his background and look at his early film efforts. What looks to you right now like an impregnable wall is just the first filter he puts up to separate out people who are not serious or worthy. Rodriguez is known to be pretty free with teaching tricks he's learned to up and comers, but on the other hand, he's a self-made movie mogul and not likely to be making things super-easy to follow him when asking for a job. You have to earn it.
You say you need contacts to get in... well, okay, that's the first job: build some. Network the heck out of yourself. Set a goal to meet someone in the biz every week, no matter how. People like to hire people they already know. So get known. This is what Bob in his delicate little way is saying. There really aren't any shortcuts, short of being the kid of someone already big in the business. And even they dont last if they can't deliver over time, they just get a few more chances to mess up than you do.
I don't know if Jensen is still reading this, but I hope he is.
I JUST got hired for a job that I am completely unqualified to do. But the big company "had to have Bob Zelin" on the job. A qualified engineer from LA is coming, and he will do the real complex work.
The moral of the story is that I am being hired because of my connections (and I did not even solicit the job). This is from years of networking, and making contacts. Having contacts, and "friends" in the business is how you get work - not because you are qualified. Once you understand that, and once you persue "contacts" and don't be so worried about "qualifications", you will become a successful freelancer or independent contractor (or employee). Remember, the bosses daughter will marry some guy that has none of the qualificiations that you have, and will become your boss - why? - because he has the right networking contacts.
I think it is much easier to send out an e-mail then make a phone call and harder to show up at the company then make a phone call. Walking in and personally introducing yourself will separate you from everyone else...that already doesn't have a connection at the place. Once you get a connection ask who they think you should visit and ask if you can use their name. Much easier to to get through to someone when you can give them a name of someone they trust. Best of luck and I hope you get a great date out of all of this as well.
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Mr. Yancey, how did you do on finding a full time job? It's now 2014 and I just ran into your post while surfing the net on cinematography trying to find out more about it. My daughter is a new cinematography graduate from SFASU in Nacogdoches and will be seeking employment in your field. If you or anyone gets this post and can help, please respond.