planetMitch note: Guest post by Joe Forte
Are you looking to break into the freelance video industry? Do you want to build your portfolio and gain new clients, all without the restrictions of a talent agency?
Freelance video work is a highly skilled and extremely competitive market, but breaking into it will give you the freedom to build your own career and work on projects that you're truly passionate about. This article discusses some of the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective ways to develop your freelance video career.
Upwork.com (And Other Freelance Marketplaces)
Veterans of oDesk and Elance will find this platform eerily familiar — as well they should. Just this year, oDesk and Elance decided to join forces, consolidating into the single, large mega-platform. oDesk has already disappeared into the depths of Upwork, and Elance is just hanging on by a thread, with the intent of folding into Upwork.com itself quite soon (so don't get too comfortable there). Upwork.com has, by far, the largest amount of video job listings on the Internet for a classifieds site. But the downside is that it also has the largest amount of freelancers.
The Good: Upwork.com has the highest amount of activity of any freelance marketplace available. Log in now and you'll have access to hundreds if not thousands of video production and editing jobs. Each of these jobs connects you directly to a prospective employer; over time, you can build your own client base entirely through this site.
The Bad: Upwork.com draws from a large, global freelance audience. Many complaints have been levied against its rock bottom pricing scale: when you're just getting started, you may find yourself working for a few bucks an hour. Stick with it, though, and you'll soon be able to increase your hourly pay.
The Bottom Line: Like it or not, Upwork.com is the place that you need to be. Competitor sites such as Guru.com and Freelancer.com do exist, but they don't have anywhere close to the volume. Yes, the prices on Upwork.com tend to be low — but don't undervalue yourself and you should be just fine.
Indeed.com (And Other Job Listing Sites)
Don't shy away from job listing sites just because you're looking for freelance work. Most people erroneously assume that sites such as Indeed.com are only good for permanent positions, but off-site (remote), part-time, and freelance positions are all posted. Many traditional companies focus on posting their jobs on sites such as Indeed.com, and you'll usually get better pay. On the other hand, you'll also be competing with more dyed-in-the-wool professionals. You have worked on your demo reel, right? Indeed.com is great because it lets you set up e-mail notifications in your specific job category: you can just let the site do all the work for you! Some other alternatives include Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com.
The Good: Indeed.com gives video producers access to jobs that other online, freelance workers likely aren't looking for: most of them are on sites such as Upwork. This means that the work involved is usually higher quality and higher pay.
The Bad: Job listing sites do tend to post more professional-level jobs. For an experienced freelancer, not a problem — for someone just starting out, the process may be intimidating. Just remember that the longer the interview process is, the more rewarding the position usually is.
The Bottom Line: It's definitely worth it to at least set up an e-mail notification for new jobs on Indeed.com. Put together a job application packet that you can easily send in to recruiters, so that the process of applying is easier for you.
AnimatedJobs.com (And Other Free Video Job Sites)
Though it's mainly for animators, Animated Jobs still deserves a position on this list: for one, it's free. And for another, it's awesome. Animated Jobs is a niche website designed only to promote jobs that are within the animation field. Niche video production websites are a great way to really build a reputation within the industry, as it will connect you with people who take video production seriously and who often need videos produced.
The Good: AnimatedJobs.com offers a concise listing of jobs within the field of animation, ranging from character riggers to 2D line art. It's a completely free service that's extremely accessible to those who are just starting out.
The Bottom Line: AnimatedJobs.com is an excellent site for animators to check. New postings are added daily, and there aren't a lot of them, so it's easy to see if there's anything that piques your interest.
VideoBrewery.com and Wooshii.com (And Other Crowdsourcing Sites)
Crowdsourcing is an incredible gift to the freelance video producer. VideoBrewery.com creates a curated marketplace where freelancers and studios can connect with each other. On VideoBrewery.com and Wooshii.com, content requesters will create a project and then interface with creatives who they believe could bring their project to life. The entire process is incredibly professional from start to finish, and draws in those who are serious about creating a quality end product.
The Bad: You may need to jump through more hoops on VideoBrewery.com and Wooshii.com to actually secure a client — in other words, the interview process may be lengthier — but that's because the quality of the jobs is much higher.
MotiongrapherJobs (And Other Dedicated Classifieds Sites)
MotiongrapherJobs is an excellent resource because it costs money to post a job. Upwork.com lets anyone post a job — which means they may not necessarily be serious about finding someone to fill the position. There are fewer listings on MotiongrapherJobs, but they tend to be of a higher quality. Users are able to browse jobs for free, regardless of the cost to post, and internships and unpaid gigs are not allowed.
The Good: MotiongrapherJobs is where you go to find serious clients. And booking serious clients is how you get repeat clients and build your business.
The Bad: There aren't a lot of posts on MotiongrapherJobs, but on the bright side they are easier to comb through.
The Bottom Line: Add it to your list. There aren't a lot of new jobs every day, but the jobs that are posted are high quality.
Smartshoot.com (And Other Video and Photography Sites)
If you shoot live video or dabble in photography, Smartshoot.com creates an easy interface for those who are looking for freelancers for one-off jobs. This is a perfect resource for those who aren't big on the side of editing content, but definitely enjoy creating it.
The Good: This site is polished, easy to use, and has high quality work available for those who are in the right area.
The Bad: Its emphasis is on video and photography shot on location, so you're going to need to be in major metropolitan areas to get gigs.
The Bottom Line: Smartshoot.com is a great place to get video and photo jobs, usually for commercial applications such as Yelp, Zillow, and Groupon.
Tongal.com (And Other Unique Sites)
Tongal.com is a bit unique and hard to describe. It pretty much takes the whole film making process and puts it online. Does that clear it up? Didn't thing so. Click here for a better explanation of how the site works. At its heart, it's very close to a matchmaking service, connecting those who are creatives with those who need creatives.
The Good: As a unique site, it offers jobs and opportunities that simply aren't posted anywhere else.
The Bad: There are a lot of creatives out there working on a lot of projects; you'll face competition.
The Bottom Line: Tongal.com has many interesting projects available for those who are looking to stretch their creative muscles.
Craigslist.org (And General Purpose Classifieds)
Yes, Craigslist. While I don't recommend devoting a large amount of time to perusing Craigslist ads, you can get an app that will send you notifications when a job meeting your criteria is posted. Here is such an app for Android and another for iOS.
The Good: You have less competition for freelance work; though freelance jobs are posted frequently to Craigslist, most people there are looking for permanent positions.
The Bad: You're pretty much limited to searching only in specific locations, and that can make it pretty difficult to find remote or freelance work.
The Bottom Line: Throw in a Craigslist search occasionally and you may be surprised to find that there is decent work available.
If you're still reading this, then you deserve a bonus! Here are yet a few more places to go when you feel your business has some extra capacity:
The work of a freelancer is never done. Build up your inventory of sites to check for work, and you'll find that a dedicated investment of time will lead to never wanting for work again.
Article by Joe Forte, co-owner and producer at D-Mak Productions. D-Mak Productions is a professional video production company specializing in corporate, live event, training and web video production.
(cover photo credit: snap from sites mentioned in post)