Imagine a full creative team as a jigsaw puzzle. Your potential client is missing one piece. That could be you. IF you can make yourself fit the puzzle rather than expecting the puzzle to accommodate you. To understand how to achieve this, you’ll need to make sense of a hiring manager’s process. We spoke to some producers who walked us through what the hiring process looks like for them.
The recruitment process almost always starts before any particular crew position opens up. “We’re not always actively hiring, but we are always looking at portfolios and resumes of potential partners,” explains Jessica Darke of Arcana Academy
“Networking is everything,” Miguel Matias of Tangible Matter confirms.
But networking isn’t as simple as meeting producers, creative directors, and other hiring managers. “We generally hire department heads and let them bring their own crew,” says Miguel, suggesting that freelancers like support crew should focus on making connections with department heads such as DPs and editors.
With or without networking with employers and department heads directly, there are ways to make yourself accessible and hirable.
“As everyone in the industry knows, time and money are always of the essence so getting the whole creative team in the room to review a portfolio isn’t going to happen,” explains Jessica. “Make your portfolio easily viewable and any indication of your rate or how you work would be incredibly helpful. (i.e. Do you work from home? Do you work by the hour, by the project, what is your typical day rate, etc.) ”
“Try to bring something extra to the table… I have a very long list of DPs I work with,” suggests Miguel, recalling a highly organized and, therefore, extremely hirable gaffer.
Though a popular tactic with many freelancers looking for work, waiting for the phone to ring is not much of a marketing strategy. Ultimately it falls to the freelancer to show their competitive advantage, make themselves accessible, and make the right connections.