Get better at being creative. For free.
I’ve worked as a freelancer, as a staff producer, as a corporate director, as a filmmaker, and even as a starving artist. I’ve been overpaid and I’ve been completely ripped off. Since I’ve been doing it for a while, I’ve found that there are loads of resources available to anyone wanting to enter a creative industry, improve their skills, or make extra money on the side. I’ve compiled some of the resources I use here, although this is certainly not a comprehensive list.
First and foremost, I recommend everyone join the Freelancer’s Union. No, I don’t get paid to say that. It’s a great resource for everyone, whether you’re at a prod. co. or freelancing.
If you need a professional video made for you, rather than you trying to learn all of this stuff yourself, I recommend Sprocket Media Works. Yours truly is a producer there. Besides, there’s simply no substitute for experience.
Video & Production
This is the category I’m asked most about. At least once a week I have someone ask me either “how to break into the industry” or “how to find more gigs”. Most of the time you need experience to get a job, and you need a job to get experience. Your first stop should always be your local Film Office. After that, here are some of the online resources I’ve used to learn, find gigs, promote myself, or get on crews. Please understand there are so many resources (and twice as many scams), that I couldn’t possibly list them all. General rule, though; if you have to pay for the service, it’s a scam (unless recommended by someone you know and trust). For that reason, I wouldn’t trust too much of Craigslist, although on rare occasions you’ll find a gem.
The film world is a small one, so online networking alone never works. I know you’re probably sick of hearing this, but networking in person is the only way to get anywhere. Whether you’re in NYC or BFE, every film community is made up of people who know each other. Meet them, talk to them, buy them drinks, make them your friend.
Fine print: Trevanna is NYC only. UTA Joblist is L.A. only. TV Jerry and VFO Hotline are VA only. Shooting Richard is not compensated in any way to promote these services.
Whether you’re just trying your hand at shooting some headshots and weddings or you’re a seasoned professional, you can always learn more. Here you can see links to photography resources, both education and professional networking services. You can also find a link to B&H, widely known as the go-to company for photo and video gear (at least on the East Coast…cities on the West Coast may have a similarly well-known company). You can also use iStock to buy (or sell!) stock photography for any number of projects. As I learn more about the photography world, these links will grow. I encourage you to check back periodically to find new how-tos and resources. For now, enjoy!
Like the film world, the publishing world is highly competitive, over-saturated, and at times brutally critical. It always helps to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can about the craft. Learning to write well is only one part of getting your words into print (or e-print). There is an entire world of gatekeepers and nuanced necessities, so any smart writer should gain as much knowledge as possible about their craft and the publishing world. In order to do so, start with the links here to get your bearings, learn about the process, and not get taken in by folks who feed on unsuspecting writers.
But don’t take my word for it: there are millions of ways to get a book into the public eye, especially today with the popularity of e-publishing and self-publishing. Only you can determine which path is right for you. All I can do is show you what some of your options are.
Ah, ye olde ever-changing, constantly updating editing world! Post-production requires the right level of technical knowledge mixed with talent and a certain eye for visual poetry. An editor today must be familiar with many programs, including graphics and multiple-platforms. The days of “Final Cut only” editors are long gone, but with a little bit of time and effort you can be a well-rounded post pro.
While I can’t help you develop a love for cutting, I can help you get better at it. The wonderful thing about the editing and graphics worlds is that there are innumerable places to go to find things like brushes, icons, patterns, tutorials, work-arounds, and FAQs.
If you’re stuck on a project, I always recommend asking Google for the answer as your first course of action. If that turns up nil, hopefully you can use the remaining myriad of sources at your disposal to find a workaround – or convince yourself that you don’t want to do that in the first place.
Fine print: These services (envato and Creative Market, for example) are only some of many, many resources and marketplaces available online. Find which one you like the best.
Earn extra money.
That’s right. Even the most successful of us could use a few extra bucks a month, and as the Swedish say, “many streams make a river”. These are resources that you can use when you’re feeling the pinch, or would like to take someone out for a very nice evening without breaking the bank.
Most likely you won’t get rich selling stock or filling out online surveys, but knowing that you have several streams of income is always a good cushion to get you through tough times. It’s also an opportunity to hone your skillz. Find new clients. Start a new business. Or just make some extra cake. The e-world is your oyster, so slurp that bad boy up.
Fine print: Shooting Richard isn’t endorsing any of these sites, even those that he is a member of. I can only point you in the directions that I’ve gone, but I encourage you to find your own way.