GET READY TO WORK
Everyone creative has different goals but for the most part we all share one common goal. We wanna get paid for what we do. We all wanna make a living off what we do and be successful, but it's obviously easier said then done. Their are a few major steps to take in the creative realm to get to this position but the big factor(s) are time and patience. It's definitely not an overnight process and it's not gonna be a quick process but once you are able to crack the equation you will be getting constant work for your business. It's all about just following those few major steps to get there.
QUALITY OF WORK
This should be a pretty obvious one but I know a few people who wanna get into the paid realm but just aren't putting out the quality and detail clients will wanna see, and nothing is wrong with that. I shot very cheap and damn near free videos for almost a year before diving into actual PAID work. My work wasn't that good to approach and client and ask for $500+. This is where patience comes in. You aren't gonna be scorsese overnight and you are not gonna make your best work a week after picking up a camera. You gotta put in the leg work behind the scenes with learning and sculpting your style before bringing to the commercial side of the creative business. You gotta be confident that what you are making people will pay for. So understand the basics of frame rates and editing before a client calls you out on it. Quickest way to not get a call back from them or they referrals they have.
Everyone has a strong opinion about doing free work for clients, Some say it's great but others would say you might get locked in to that rate and that client will also see you at the "free video guy". In my experience I did music videos for cheap. $75-$100. I got paid for the time I put into it and it didn't break the clients bank. I have nothing against free work but it's about who you do it for. If you never shot a wedding, you probably should be doing it for free. If you never shot a music video, you should probably do it for free. But I think once you get over that bridge of having work that is solid, you should be charging a little. Even if it's $50. You paid for your gear and you are providing a service. The best thing to do is do a few cheap videos (or free) and build a video resume. Take that and build a rate, let's say $350 (pretty standard rate for beginner music videos) for a music video. Show them your video resume and use that with your pitch. 8/10 times you'll get the gig if you followed the above step about quality of work. No one is gonna hire someone who has 6 shit videos, or maybe they will and you kill that project and have 1 great one to show the next client.
TYPE OF WORK
This is a big question when someone is first starting out. What work should I do?. It's the million dollar question. I tell everyone who asks me this to shoot everything and anything they can. Short film,weddings,commercials,music videos,product videos. Find out what you like. Even if you were like me 3 years ago and said "I wanna shoot music videos and nothing else". Still follow that but explore other avenues. Maybe you'll love shooting weddings and spark a new passion, that is what's so cool. So many different avenues to explore in the creative realm. Combine multiple types of work in that video resume and you could potentially have 2-3+ streams of income.
BRANDING YOUR WORK
From 2013-2015 ish. I was "Parker Foster Visuals". It worked and it was catchy but I wasn't really taken seriously. That obviously had to do with me just starting out and learning the ropes but just working off my name wasn't the most professional thing I could do. The name was the same as saying "John's films". It's just one person. Sometimes this is great, just working off your name is really good and that's a cool branding tactic but I think it's even sometimes better to start a brand that is a separate entity. That's why I made VSZN, it's not just me anymore. The brand was just me when we started but now it's 5 of us. Having a brand allowed me to let it grow with me instead of just involving me and myself. Obviously you don't have to do any of this and I encourage you do whatever feels right but branding on any level is almost essential in standing out in the crowd of the thousands are small productions teams. Social media has made this so easy, you can literally create a separate identity and be apart of something that doesn't even have your name apart of it. The massive website started by Mike Wax and Mike Carson illroots was just 2 guys who started it but it'a a social media empire. Imagine if they just named it, "Mike and Mike's site". Instead they gave it a branding element and it's so much easier to market and share because of it. They can appear to be a huge company and 100's of employees but it's just like 5 guys total who run it, which is something really special. The same applies for any small company that starts off with just 1-2 employees but comes off as a huge platform. IE: Facebook when it first started.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
Even if you follow all of this advice exactly you won't be be a millionaire next week. All of this takes patience and time. Overnight success isn't a thing and anyone who believe in that must not think about longevity. The faster you blow up, the faster you are gonna come right back down. Think about the quality of work you are making and make sure you are increasing your value every single project. This is a tough industry and the last place you wanna be is in is job-less wishing you could've put out better work. It's a journey and I'm still in my beginning stages and I can't wait to see what lies ahead, it's a an exciting time for VSZN and an exciting for video creatives all over. Let's all win.