Anybody who freelances can tell you it is one of the most frustrating, scary, and sometimes one of the most relentless work experiences one can ever imagine. With that said...it is also one of the most rewarding and fulfilling careers you can EVER have. As with any job balance is SO important. Especially with the fast paced, hectic schedules that employees have today. Finding that "Work - Life Balance" is more important than ever. Often times as employees or employers there is that unspoken need or feeling you have to fill a seat in an office, be online 24/7, or respond to a work text after hours within minutes of receiving. It's very true that companies that succeed will push employees and teams to give it their all, but they also respect people to have lives outside the M-F or weekends. No company is ever perfect. Like people they all have their flaws, and people regardless of the industry will look to other companies with the "grass is greener" outlook. Sometimes it is in certain areas, but in all fairness a perfect company would be boring. Chatting with multiple independent peers in the industry I hear a lot of the same conversations with people who are not happy with a reduced rate they agreed upon just to get the job, work hours are way longer than expected with no compensation. Many of the same issues that full-time employees have with their day to day, freelancers, independent companies or contractors have just in different capacities. Communication is key to everything. If you're not happy with a workload go to your point person and discuss it. Working crazy hours way above what you feel you signed on for? Again, go and talk to your hiring Manager. They may not be able to do anything, but if you constructively have a conversation with the person you need to speak with it will most certainly not only help you stand up for yourself, but help the company understand what they can do now or on a future project to help fix this kink in the system. More than likely you will get a lot more respect for being honest and bringing solutions to the table as opposed to just presenting problems.
Someone once said you can count on two things in life....change and death. While the latter is obvious and a bit morbid. Change is something that consistently happens around each one of us. Sometimes for the good....and sometimes not so much. With any career you can almost always count on it. Moving to a new floor within your company, to a promotion, or even an industry shift are all significant changes. Change can lead to wonderful, scary, sad, adrenaline pumping outcomes. A career is like a marriage...you have to keep it fresh. It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and just settle. Don't settle. EVER!! Consistently or at least every so often find something that you enjoy doing within your career or outside of it and learn something new. Sometimes that new hobby becomes a skill which can translate into an asset for your team, or for yourself down the road. Sometimes those skills can earn you extra income, be cause for a promotion, or lead you to another career path, or job altogether. So keep it fresh, learn as much as you can while you can, and never be afraid to apply your passions into what you do.
A college student who is preparing to graduate this Fall recently asked me what is the most important skill she can have entering into the world of Production. She went on to tell me that she has been on a couple of shoots and has really been working a lot with various edit suites and feels she is ready to get her career started ASAP. After another 15 minutes of telling me everything that she has been doing inside and outside of the classroom she asked me again what I thought potential employers were looking for. I smiled and just said to be truly successful in this industry one of the most important assets you can have is to listen. It holds true. You cannot create or deliver a successful project for any client no matter what you are doing without listening to the person you are working for. Top agencies and companies know this. So often we become so excited about throwing out our ideas and forget to just sit tight on that conference call, or while meeting face to face to hear what the client says. Not delivering what your client expects is a sure fire way to not gain their trust or future business.
Voice over or VO is truly one of the greatest careers one can have. I started my VO path 9 years ago, and every time I get a call for a voice over session it makes me giddy….no joke. Being able to take copy that someone has created for a brand or a message and giving that radio spot, tv commercial, digital video, or agency pitch it's extra life is truly rewarding. I've been fortunate to work with some really great clients. On the flip side I've also had the pleasure to record some of the greatest talents in animation, film, and even the VO maestro himself Don LaFontaine. Today pg productions has a VO rig to record raw files that can be delivered via FTP, or if you wish for me to go into a studio I can do that too. Often people tell me their voice could never lend to doing VO. My theory on that is everyone has a voice and that voice fits somewhere with some company, film, commercial etc….Look at Gilbert Gottfried. He has one of the most recognizable voices in the industry. Has been on hundreds of commercials and this is because his voice stands out. It's not polished, not sweet, but gruff. So remember don't let anyone ever tell you your voice could never used in VO. Just ask Gilbert.
One of the awesome things about the industry we're in is that no two projects are ever the same. One week pg may get a writing assignment for a non-profit. The next we may be asked to put together a crew for a broadcast shoot. The one thing I've learned during the years of being a Creative Director, Writer, Producer, and Voice Over Artist is that the expected twists and turns that may happen during a project give you confidence if you've dealt with similar experiences in the past. Where you truly grow though in this industry is the unexpected. A complete course re-shift on how to approach a video edit, providing a faster read on a VO record because extra copy has been added at the 11th hour and you need to squeeze this information to fit that :60 TRT. Most importantly though…always be positive. Shoots will go over, sessions may be extended past the scheduled time, and you may have a bit of difficulty delivering a line just how the client wants it. Always give 110%, and never let em see ya sweat.
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