Full Time Work in a Freelance Industry

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.

I thought "A face that could stop a clock" was just a saying...

Sorry.

I do have an excuse, though.  The show I’ve been on lo these many months has “stopped production.”  A nice euphemism for “cancelled.”  We’re done.

Needless to say, I’ve been spending a lot of time looking for a new job.  Considering the luck I’ve been having, maybe people should stop asking my advice.

One option I’ve been considering is working full-time for a small production services company.  There are literally hundreds of such companies in Los Angeles.

See, while it seems obvious to say, it’s actually quite astounding to realize that every minute of every day on every channel of broadcast, cable, and satellite TV must be programmed with some form of filmed entertainment.  Sure there’s reruns, but consider infomercials, music videos, commercials, and every flavor of reality show the depraved mind of an MTV executive can cook up.

Someone has to produce that shit.

Cable and satellite networks frequently hire outside companies to do the actual production.  These companies tend to be small (fewer than twenty people), and they don’t pay well.  They’re never unionized.

On the plus side, it’s usually full time work, rather than freelance, like a real show.  Since the pay is so low, they take what they can get in terms of crew.  This means people like me can work above their usual level (camera operator, rather than assistant, for example).

Plus, since they often own their own equipment, you can borrow gear to work on your own outside projects.

But let’s be honest.  This is all lipstick on a pig.  I’ve worked for these places before.  They’re cheap, unprofessional, and always on the verge of going out of business.  When you look at the people in their 30s and 40s who work at these places, it’s impossible to think they’re here by choice.  They failed in the big leagues, and now they’re pitching for the farm team.

And I’m applying to play left field.

5 Comments

  1. ….It’s a bit presumptuous to say that those 30 and 40 year olds have failed the big leagues. In our current economic slough of despair, many talented people who HAVE been successful, even wildly so, are being forced to take jobs that aren’t up to par, simply to make ends meet.

  2. haha i agree with you when looking at the 30 and 40 year olds. talking to a producer who ‘free lances’ and its hard to see how his job can be fulfilling when its seems like hes always looking and on the hunt, but i gotta admit networking and connection helps with job posting. 🙂

  3. Here’s to you finding another place in the dreamy side of the dream factory again soon! Damn those cancellations…

    And just wanted to say, very well spoken abt the local mini production companies. Having worked for em in the past myself it’s interesting to get a glimpse of how different the system within the company and in the general media industry looks like… If that makes any sense…

    Keep up the great posts!

    xoxo

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