Introduction

When working in the media industry there are three main types of employment. Freelancing, Self employment and employment all have there own advantages and disadvantages which can make it difficult to choose which one is the one for you in a long term perspective. In this post I am going to be discussing each kind of occupation in detail, explaining the pros can cons to each one. As well as this I will be creating a career timeline for myself, to use as a plan in the future as what my ideal career would look like, though I will still be setting realistic goals and aspirations.

Freelance

Freelancing is one the most common occupations for young and aspiring people who want to have a job in the media industry. This is because it gives the experience and appropriate mindset that is crucial if you would like to have a career in this field. By working as a freelancer you will be constantly working to improve the work that you are selling to a client. Therefore you will be increasing your value as a worker which is highly looked upon when working at a professional level.

Working as a freelancer effectively means that you will be working for different people, rather than just one select person/company. This means that you will be employed to work on a very specific job such as editing, camera work, lighting etc. In most cases you will just be employed to work on one specific job which means that it is crucial to find good quality work as it can sometimes take weeks, if not months to find a client to work with. This is why you should always be trying to improve your work as it will increase your value and the amount/quality of clients to work with. It also stresses the fact that reputation is one of the most important factors as to getting clients, therefore there is no excuse for having mistakes or unprofessional work.

Due to the fact that finding clients often requires you to have a good reputation, freelancing can be very stressful. As well as this, breaking into the freelancing ‘role’ can be one of the most difficult times as it is extremely strenuous to find clients. In turn it is then difficult to gain experience working in a professional situation which is needed for every job in the industry. As well as this, in most cases the equipment isn’t supplied, therefore you will have to spend your own money on the equipment to get the work done.

Advantages:

  • Flexible
  • Varied
  • Experience
  • Gain contacts

Disadvantages:

  • Stressful
  • Can be inconsistent
  • Breaking in
  • Equipment isn’t supplied

Self employment

As the name suggests, working in self employment means that you work for yourself with your own company. This means that clients often come to you for work, and with much bigger projects. For example a production company may be approached to create a documentary; different from a freelancer who would just be asked to work on one aspect of it. Again reputation is a huge factor as to how you gain and work with clients, though it is slightly easier as a production company would be given a much bigger credit than one individual freelancer. This means it is significantly easier to find clients to work with.

Becoming self employed isn’t necessarily that difficult if you know what to do and have a plan. With the right knowledge or contacts, setting up a website and business cards can be a relatively easy task. However it comes at a huge price. When working in self employment with your own company, costs can be huge as there are many bills such as licenses, equipment, website management, and more. This means that it is near impossible to start your own business if you do not have the funds to cater for it.

Despite being incredibly expensive, being self employed does come with some advantages. It allows you to work in the industry that you want to be in with the flexibility both in and out of work. In most cases, a client would approach you for work, therefore you would have much more input into how the final product looks.

Advantages

  • Working in the industry you want to be in
  • Easy to start (with appropriate funds)
  • More input on the project

Disadvantages

  • Very expensive
  • Huge risk
  • Breaking in can be difficult

Employment 

Being in an employment placement means that you are working for someone else or a company. It is often the big, more well known companies that look for permanent or long term employees. This is considered as a safe option in the media industry as it offers a consistent wage regardless of how much work the company has at that time. As well as this, there is often an opportunity to work on bigger, high budget projects which could give you the opportunity to gain more contacts.

Advantages

  • More security (safer option)
  • Opportunity to work on higher budget projects

Disadvantages

  • Lack of variety
  • Not exciting
  • Very constricting

Career timeline

From advice that I have been given, I know it is important to have a career plan despite the fact that it most probably won’t all happen as good jobs and opportunities can’t be predicted, especially in the media industry. Though, with this in mind I have put together a plan of what I would like to happen.

Starting from where I am now, at the age of 16 I have big aspirations for my career and what the future may hold. Currently studying a Film and TV production course at Canterbury College, I hope to one day be able to work on a high budget film or TV show. During the two years that I am at college, I plan on starting to work as a freelancer working as a camera operator and editor. Over the past year I have been working with motion graphics creating logo/text animation for websites and small businesses. I plan on using the skills and knowledge that I have learnt through this to help me with becoming a freelancer. From the work I have been doing at college as well as my own experience, I have learnt that breaking in can be tough so I plan to learn more skills to qualify myself for more jobs as well as implementing what I know now. Ideally I would like to work as a freelancer for as long as possible as I love the elements involved in it.

I don’t plan on going to university as I feel that being a full time freelancer would be more beneficial as it would give me a better perspective on the ‘real’ world and the experience to help me improve. During my time as a freelancer I would like to be able to save to either travel the world, or setup a production company. I feel that either of this options would be beneficial to me as it will either give me an even wider perspective of our world and some new contacts, or more opportunity in general. I think that any age between 25-30 would be suitable to setup a production company.

If I were to set up a production company I would like to be able to work on small documentaries or TV/online commercials as these particularly interest me. It would be great to gain a good reputation in the media and have the opportunity to work with big brands and sponsorship’s.

Bibliography:

Lamprecht, E. (no date) How to become A successful Freelancer (and quit your desk job in 30 days). Available at: http://blog.careerfoundry.com/career-change/successful-freelancer/ (Accessed: 20 November 2016).

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