Creators, Freelance or Studio?

Deciding whether to freelance or to work full time for a studio is a highly personalized decision for any professional video maker. Some video makers have already chosen their specific career because of the unique freedom it can provide. However, many quickly understand that there are big benefits to working for a more organized corporate team. This predicament is increasingly more common with the rise of the mass online video market that opens an array of possibilities. What makes matters more complicated is that small film studios are beginning to expand rapidly, making it difficult for individuals to keep up. The truth is that professionals on both sides of the isle tend to have a “The grass could be greener on the other side” mentality. This article is all about fleshing out some of the pros and cons for each method and should help you decide.

Freelance Work as Portfolio Maintenance – One great thing about video making is that unlike the path to becoming an attorney or surgeon, the process makes room for side projects during or before you decide to take a full-time position at a studio. Many young students begin to take on freelance projects as they study. This is a phenomenon that is largely unheard of in other industries. There is no such thing as a lawyer performing a practice trial on behalf of a real client!

Freelancers Do Not Have a Boss – Perhaps the most alluring pro of working as a freelancer is that you can truly work alone. No boss means that no one is there to interfere with your creative initiative. However, you are still your own boss. This means you will have to still show up each day, but on your own terms. For many this consists of sleeping in and taking long lunch breaks.

Having Bosses Can Help – Although you may perform better as a freelance filmmaker, you will still be taking on greater responsibility. This is where some cons can come into play. Being your own boss means that you will have slightly less income stability than if you had a salary. Don’t forget that you still need to plan financially on a short and long-term basis, a skill that many aspiring individual video makers underestimate in importance.

Choose Your Own Work – Along the lines of life without a boss, a freelancer has more freedom in their work itself. This means choosing specific jobs to take on with different levels of effort. Being able to choose projects that are most suitable to your specific talents is a powerful thing because you will produce higher quality material. In the online era, high quality material can be the difference between a couple thousand views and a couple million.

Studios As a Stepping Stone – Just as freelance video work can prepare you for a studio job, studio work can set you up for a successful freelance career. Many of the most famous YouTube video makers started out at a local studio, or on a team. A couple years at a studio will make it easier to impress your viewers, and stay organized in the changing and growing field of video making.

Tammy Munson