Why I Decided to Quit Being a Do-It-All Filmmaker
I think something that I, like most freelancers, struggle with is accepting any job in my industry instead of really honing in on one specific niche within my craft. For instance as a video producer, I might be sending out this message that I’ll do anything that has to do with creating a video. And I worked off of this philosophy and a lot of clients have that idea too. “Oh you do video? I need a video!”
Not every filmmaker has the same expertise in every genre of video. So why are we ALL trying to do it ALL?
But not every video is the same cookie cutter thing, nor should it be. And not every filmmaker has the same expertise in every style or genre of video- nor should they. Some people are good at trendy, flashy videos, others are really good at adventure videos, or music videos, and others are good at emotional heartfelt stories (it me) :D . So why are we ALL trying to do it ALL?
Because even if you know the niche you want, freelancing is risky and has inconsistent income and it’s scary to say no to jobs.
And I have been there a lot, and am still there many times. In fact I recently have been narrowing down my focus and being intentional about what projects I pursue and which ones I say “no” to. But I’ve learned in my own past experiences what these cases end up looking like. So here’s the breakdown.
SCENARIO 1 (working for a paycheck):
I end up taking a job that isn’t my niche because I want work and some income. I have the skills to do a good job but my heart isn’t in it and I can’t find the motivation to work on it. It takes me 10x longer to finish the project. I did a good job but I’m by no means proud of it or the experience (it probably doesn’t make it on my portfolio). Client is happy with the work but it doesn’t lead to other work because there are plenty of other people with the same technical skills- I’ve become a commodity. It also takes months to get paid, and I it’s really not a big check. I feel exhausted by the whole thing and a bit of resentment too.
SCENARIO 2 (working in my niche):
I end up getting a project that fits my niche. I’m passionate about the cause and pour my heart and soul into it- I’m completely invested. I’m intentional with the project and Client every step of the way because I truly care. The film turns out amazing, I feel alive and fulfilled. The Client is thrilled and sees results. It leads to more projects with said Client, and the Client talks about me to others. Oh, and I get paid really well! (Most of the time.)
I owe it to myself and to my clients to be 100% invested in the work.
Scenario 2 is the best feeling in the world. It’s when I feel like I’m fulfilling my life’s purpose and also being valued for the work I did and the expertise I offered. And I believe that those projects can be the rule, not the minority. I believe it starts by honing my craft, making sure my brand is actually sending the right message about the type of work I do, and that will attract the Clients that align with my mission. I’m still very much in the middle of developing all this, rebranding and all. But I’ve stepped out and started to be a lot more selective about the projects that I take on. Because I owe it to myself and to my clients to be 100% invested in the work, to pour my heart and soul into it. I’ve started to put much more effort into seeking out my niche work, because after all, that’s my life’s purpose.
So what is my niche?
I’ll talk about that next time!