One of the hardest parts of working in the entertainment industry is the constant job uncertainty. Not always having a steady paycheck and not knowing where and when your next job might start can create significant stress and cause the faint of heart to swear off freelancing forever. However, constant change can also be a great asset. New co-workers, new challenges, and a change of scenery prevent you from getting bored, restless, and unproductive. For those of you who don’t have an agent and a phone that’s ringing off the hook with job offers, here are a few tips I’ve found to be useful in my burgeoning career as a freelancer.
1. Use every job-hunting resource available to you.
90% of the jobs you will ever get in this industry will be through word of mouth. As you start out, informally contact family friends or acquaintances who have worked in the industry. Alumni networks can also prove useful. When you contact someone (I find e-mail to be less intrusive than telephone), don’t ask if they can get you a job. Instead, ask them for advice and see if you can meet up for coffee. Follow up with them every few weeks or months so they don’t forget about you. If you make a good impression, your name might just pop into their head when someone asks if they know anyone available for hire.
There are also numerous web sites with entertainment industry job postings, a few of which I have linked to on the “Resources” page of this blog. I tend to find the jobs advertised on these sites to be either pretty demanding in terms of prior experience, lacking in fair compensation, or overcrowded with applicants. But it never hurts to apply. (more…)