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Scheduling Conflicts

Michael writes in:

I freelance camera op at two digital production companies that each have plenty of work but also have plenty of freelancers at their disposal. Each week it’s hard to coordinate my schedules between the two, as they can ask me to come in a day before and, at many times, their schedules clash.

Is it annoying of me at the very end of every week when they’re preparing the schedules for the next week, to send them a friendly email with my availability to them? Obviously, I want to both stay at the forefront of their minds, but also try to work out my schedule with them a bit in advance in order to avoid conflicts. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

I love the emails that answer their own questions. It makes my job so much easier.

Yes, emailing potential employers about your availability is a great idea. If they make their schedule on a weekly basis, then a weekly email is what you need. It helps both them and you. It helps you, because you want to remind them of what a great operator you are; it helps them, because it makes their task (scheduling crew) that much easier.

“Win-win” is a thing corporate assholes say, but it also happens to be true in this case.

For my readers who work on longer-term gigs (such as film and television), you probably shouldn’t email potential employers weekly that you’re available. That really can get annoying when you’re fifteen episodes into a twenty-two episode season.

But when you’re coming to the end of a shoot, go ahead and check in with every AD and coordinator that you know. Don’t send a mass email; write a personalized email to each one.

Yes, you can include some boilerplate about how you’re available and would like to work with them again, but you should lead off with an anecdote or point of familiarity from the show you’d worked together on before. If nothing else, it’ll remind them just who the hell you are; don’t forget, they’ve worked with hundreds of PAs over the years.

If you haven’t found work in a month or so, it’s okay to contact them again. No less than that, though.

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