Top Ways to Win More Work as a Freelancer

James Duncan
July 6, 2021

    Coming out of lockdown, the competition for jobs is greater than ever in the creative industries. Whether you are a self-shooting director, cinematographer, sound recordist or any other role in production, getting your work out there to the right people is absolutely crucial in making sure not only do you have consistent work, but work that you enjoy!

    Above all else, utilise the creativity you are sought for in your job hunting process. If you can think of a way to market yourself that no one else can, it will set you apart from the crowd as someone to work with. These are our steps to help you expand your network.

    Start local, think global

    The first port of call to expanding your business is to utilise options already at your disposal. Convenience is absolutely key for efficient job hunting and friends, family and professional relationships, though they may not be the direct contact for a job, will always know someone in the industry or have a creative project that needs doing.

    Start with the people you know as they will have the highest, most trustworthy recommendations of your work. Testimonials and reviews are one of the best free marketing tools at your disposal and don’t be afraid to ask them – whether it be about people they know who work similarly, or if they know of any opportunities. You’d be surprised at the amount of demand for video productions on corporate projects, so whether your friends work for charities or in finance or IT they can always be a possible outlet for your employment.

    If you are lucky enough to have friends interested in production, use them. Create an established group of people that you can come back to time and time again as it will give you both the frequency of work but also you will be recognisable to the rest of the industry as a trusted network that others can rely on to give a good quality of work.

    Invest in your brand

    Brand can often be a dirty word when it comes to freelancing, but a necessary one. It is not that you are adopting a corporate mindset but that you are finding your own specific demographic as well as separating yourself from the crowd.

    It is absolutely key that you have a central platform that identifies the work that you do and what kind of person you are to work with. The most common way of doing this is through a personally branded website. This can often come with a slight cost but there are a plethora of tools and services to make creating a website incredibly easy such as Wix.com and Squarespace. Think about all the elements you would look for when searching for people to collaborate with and incorporate them into your own:

    • Can I find it easily? Make sure you are on top of the Google searches
    • Is it memorable? A striking logo or name that attributes it to you
    • Does it show a specific kind of work? Is it of good quality?
    • Finally, is it easy to navigate? Does it work well technically? 

    As a freelancer make sure to talk to BTS photographers as they are a brilliant contact for content on your website and social media. Your website needs to be updated fairly regularly with photos of you on set working, showing potential clients the kinds of projects that you want to work on and the quality of work that you provide.

    Look for the key relationships

    As corny as it sounds, freelancing will always be about the relationships you make. Meeting people that share the love of your job as well as those with the experience and contacts is one of the primary parts of the job. 

    Don’t stop at traditional platforms like LinkedIn, look at specific groups that will be beneficial to your type of production. ShootingPeople, cinematography.com, filmmakers.com, the list of online resources to talk about the work and find people who you can work with is endless.

    Presently it may be harder to attend face-to-face events but in the end you will be working side by side with the people you network with. Networking events from major supporters of independent cinema such as the BFI and Raindance are a must and keep an eye out for film festivals big and small as they provide many of the events to attend. Never outright ask people you’ve just met for jobs, but learn as much as you can from the experiences of the people you meet and ask how you might add value to the projects they have going on.

    With KitStudio especially, you have the opportunity to form relationships with a whole variety of filmmakers. Look for the lenders who work with people whose work you like and form a community! Connect with other professionals in your area and find the people who align with your sensibilities.

    Social media

    In the digital age it is essential you have a presence on social media. There are numerous Facebook groups dedicated to all sorts of crew opportunities in the UK, posting daily on which role they require. Instagram also is a no-cost repository for all the work you have done, regardless of whether you are a photographer or cinematographer. Try to post regularly, at least a couple of times a month, updating your profile on the projects you have been working on. With your Instagram profile set to professional you are able to track the amount of accounts you have reached within a given time frame. Clients will look to your social media as an immediate example of whether they like your work or not and you may even get messages out of the blue if you 

    Social media is not just for the super-viral and accounts with millions of followers but really it is yet another tool to reach creators that you admire and like to work with. Obviously having the wide outreach helps, however focus on communicating with the accounts that you find interesting and portray the kind of work you’d like to get involved with. Not everyone is able to respond, nevertheless the ones that do can lead to exciting projects that will keep you motivated and growing as a business.

    Keep going

    Persistence is the name of the game. People may often reject you for work but it is all part of the process. Keep going, keep improving on your website and finding new people to meet and work for. 

    Make yourself known as someone who gives 100% on every job as sometimes the smallest opportunities lead to the biggest return. The more people you show how much value you add to a production, the more people who may work with you in the future.