JDIFF: BAI Screentest: Freelancing
The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF) and the BAI are at Filmbase all this week with 5 panels. Each day a new panel and a new topic. The debates cover Freelancing, Cinematography, Broadcasting, Funding, Scripting and Filmmaking. The first panel took place on Monday (17/02/2014). The panel, Gaby Smyth, David Collins, Terry Prone and Liam Ryan, discussed different aspects of the world of freelancing from setting up as a trader and how to put a value on your services.
The panel discussed four main topics, approaching a prospective client, setting up as a freelancer, knowing your value and interning to gain experience.
Liam Ryan found that most of participants at networking events mingle with the same three people and that little movement was done by the participants to start up conversations with others. Terry Prone advices that networking is not about quickly handing out business cards, but actually talking to the people and getting to know those in the industry. She described how her husband and business partner (Tom Savage) approaches people, she said that it wasn't a case of forcing himself on someone but just simple getting to know the person and being interested in the person that you are talking too.
Gaby Smith said that when setting up a business be aware of the difference between a sole trader and a limited company and the difference between registering for VAT and Income Tax. Limited companies provide some personal protection should a business fail. He said that in effect when someone registers for VAT they are becoming tax collectors on behalf of the government.
Liam Ryan ask about how to value your work and how to approach the question of payment. Gaby Smith said that he would be worried if money is not discussed at the first meeting, they all agreed that you shouldn't be afraid to talk money. Liam advised that sometimes it can be a case of a "freebie" but even those types of jobs should have some expenses attached to them. Terry Prone advised that you should work out how much you want on a daily a basis, saying that most people have about 200 days to sell each year.
David Collins advised that interning should really only last 3 months, he feels that after this the intern should have a good grasp on the work being carried out, and also the company should be able to assess if the intern was capable at the job.
In terms of CVs the panel all agree that they should be short and that experience is more important than education. David Collins said he looks at interesting CV where the person has shown that they have been able to produce an event or a film, but he also said that failure is experience.
Terry Prone said that references should be available on request and that when you approach the referee tell them what to highlight when speaking to the prospective employer.
They all agree that you should research the company or person you are meeting with to avoid embarrassing yourself or offending anyone.