“For years, I’ve told other people’s stories for a living. Now, I’m living to tell my own” But, then there was this one last job! Has it changed my mind about quitting corporate film freelance projects?
A Little Backstory
I quit my life as a corporate filmmaker about 2 years ago. Over 5 years, I built up my filmmaking business but then reached a critical turning point. The stress, the time away from family, the types of freelance projects, these were all reasons that made me reconfigure my entire life.
I realised that I didn’t want to create other peoples visions anymore.
I was working on a project that was dragging on and on. The client didn’t really want any input from me. They just wanted someone with a camera. I became so apprehensive about the job that, one day, I had a serious panic attack about it.
It made me realise, this job is:
affecting my health and
not something that I am enjoying.
This came at around Christmas time 2017. I took the decision to tell the client, “It’s off!” and then tried to settle into my family holiday.
But I couldn’t relax!
I knew I would have to come back and do this all over again. This is when I realised that I needed to pack it all up and start something new. Something that I was in control of. That is when I started this blog and began to find a way to be creative on my own terms.
Here is one of the vlogs from my professional days – we had to take a drive down to London to do a live recording of some presentations.
It’s been about 18-months now and I haven’t looked back. I really enjoy this and I’ve been loving finding out how to blog and vlog and create content on a regular basis.
My whole aim is to build my blog and forge a lifestyle for myself that I can sustain whilst creating content on my own terms. If you’d like to know How To Write A Blog, check out my Lead Writing Article Here.
So, why am I doing this client job?
Crossing The Threshold
This client is someone I have worked with on freelance projects in the past. We were both at the same company a few years ago, working in the marketing department. He’s also a good friend, Edd. He has since moved to another company and is now in charge of their marketing.
He phoned me up and asked me if I could help him out, as the company that he was using didn’t really get what he was trying to do.
It was a mission of mercy.
We discussed me coming back to help him out on this one occasion. I couldn’t really say no.
The Road Of Trials
My job was to gather footage and photography of a workshop event. There would be talks, demos and workshop events running throughout the day in various rooms of the Midland Hotel, Bradford. They needed one final edit, a series of photos and a library of video footage that they could use at a later date. Fairly simple as freelance projects go.
I was still apprehensive about this. All the old feelings about client work came back. Read here about my feelings for where this is all going.
I like to over-prepare for things. I like to have every last detail nailed down before I get into something. This didn’t happen for this project. I didn’t have a written specification, I didn’t have a contract, I didn’t have an agreed fee. These are three big no-nos in freelancing and it made me nervous.
Then I arrived and it immediately went off the rails
It was dropped on me, a couple of days before the event, that they would like some piece-to-camera interviews with a few people. Ordinarily, back when I did this full time, this wouldn’t have been a problem.
But, since then I’ve sold off a lot of my videography gear. So this would be tricky, but still doable.
There came a little bit of a fight for creative control too. Whilst I was been shown around all the rooms and being given an insight into the activities of the day, my tour guide began telling me where I should stand, the things that I should film, etc.
Luckily, I remember this type of thing from freelance projects past (my “professional years”) and knew how to handle it. You have to push back. There is no other option. If you don’t you will end up producing a film that is terrible.
If they knew how to film, they would be doing it themselves … and they’re not.
I very politely said, “That’s great, I’ll keep it in mind. But, I just need to be able to move around freely and get in closer from time-to-time. It just makes it all look more interesting. Will that be a problem?”
The response was a good retreat, “No! That’s fine. You’ve got to do what you need to do”
The day went on and I gathered b-roll footage, some stills and a collection of interviews. Although, I found it difficult to get people to volunteer for interviews. They seemed more interested in having their lunch.
Freelance Projects | The Return?
I made it back and offloaded, backed up and organised all the content I had gathered. Then I got time to think about it all. Was my decision to quit this line of work a good one?
I love being creative. Just check out my YouTube channel to see how. So, having to document something in an interesting way that has a story and gives a mood and a feeling is what I’m all about as a content creator. But, I hate dealing with all the roadblocks that come with client work. Permissions, getting volunteers, fending off uncreative input, being limited by time and place. I also had to miss my daughter’s ballet lesson for this.
Part of my decision to quit was that I valued my family life above my professional life. So, swapping back is not something that I want to do again.
I’m going to complete this project, but it has really reaffirmed my decision. I will have to tell my friend, Edd, that this was the last hoorah. Thanks for the offer and opportunity, but I’m out for good.
Where to From Here?
I’m going to continue with this blog and creating content for myself. Approaching brands for sponsorship and living the content creator lifestyle.
As I say in my YouTube videos, “For years, I’ve told other people’s stories for a living. Now, I’m living to tell my own”.
Thanks for reading this far, I know this was a bit self-indulgent, but I thought it might be of interest to someone. Knowing what goes on behind the scenes and my thoughts about a real shoot.
Thanks again, have a great day, watch less, create more,