Episode 1.5 “You know what, this Job isn’t for me!”
Everyone takes up the camera for different reasons. Some do it for the money, for the love, some for catharsis or because being a cameraperson is the best looking job ever. For the few years I’ve been behind the camera, or just in meetings designing shoots, I’ve established a few questions, a checklist if you will, that keep me in the clear morally, ethically and on the path to my career goals. Every job that I get offered to do, or every one that I bid to do, has to pass through this set of questions and the answer to at least 3 of the 5 has to be yes.
Disclaimer: Everyone has their process, and their code, I am not trying to shame anyone for having their own standards.
1. Is this going to challenge us as a team to grow?
Let’s face it some jobs are run of the mill while others really force us to dig deep, do research, invest and really attempt to break the ceiling. I love challenges and my judge of success is simply how close I got to having the shoot finals look like what was pre-visualised in my head. The closer the reality is to the dream, the more successful I rate the shoot to be.
2. Is it profitable?
I think this is self explanatory. Thing is though, a lot of folks feel uncomfortable when it comes to talking about money but the reality is that it is important. Staff and bills need to be paid, equipment is not gonna buy or maintain itself. I learned early on that it is very easy to dig a hole for yourself while trying to give a competitive price. [We’ll touch deeper on this in the future]
3. Can I get creative stuff for the portfolio? Or Is this a good network opportunity?
A lot of people lead with this when they are trying to get you on board with a project (that they don’t intend to pay for) “Do it for exposure”. Exposure is important, people can’t buy what they don’t know about. That being said sometimes doing a shoot or a video for someone can really get you seen by the right clients. If the job is gonna give me a new stream to tap into, it’s worth a shot. Also sometimes I have found that while a job may not be paying well, it can allow you the freedom to produce great work, work that you can use to promote your business and get similar jobs in the future.
4. Am I really interested in doing this?
This is usually a difficult one. For me I’ve done some jobs in the past that weren’t worth it. The money was good, the idea sounded challenging but the stress was awful, the end product was not where it should be because the client was just difficult to work with. Sometimes I really am interested in a project, the idea sounds cool and I can see the vision in my head clear as day. But if I foresee a bad experience for the client, the team and myself, yeah It’s a strike against doing it.
5. Is this for some greater good?
Is the shoot for charity? Is it going to help a community? Can this make a difference in someone's life and restore faith in humanity versus just a few pockets? Art is supposed to be beneficial to the human spirit. In your community sometimes the best way to make your mark is with a helping hand using your talents for the benefit of others.
I’ve found that having a guide or a system to keep one ethically above the board has always been helpful to me. Hope this inspired you guys to set up your own system.
And remember: there is nothing wrong with walking away, sometimes, that's the best decision you could ever make.