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The best place to find advice, analysis, and information on demo reel services Los Angeles, whether for actors, singers, dancers, journalists, or anyone else with an interest in promoting themselves.

Dance-tress Acting Up: Dreams DO come true

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You guys, I have some amazing news! Well, it's not quite about me, but a friend of mine. And yes, his good new is my good news. If he can do it, I can do it! He is one of the few people I feel 150% deserves every ounce of good fortune that comes his way. He may call it luck, but I know it's persistence and a boat load of hard work.

I am talking about my friend, Carlos Pratts. If you haven't heard of him yet, you will soon. He stars opposite Kevin Costner in the feature film, "McFarland", which opens THIS Friday. How exciting! Carlos isn't someone I see often, but he is someone I have known for a little while now and I know for a fact, that his journey has not always been smooth sailing. 

Trust me, this business is not easy and there are no answers to why Joe Schmo books and Sally Sue does not (well maybe because Sally Sue is female, but thats a whole other blog). Some people are just luckier than others and I don't call Carlos' years of pounding the pavement an "effortless" over night success.

Times haven't always been easy. Like mine, his family does not live close by. Saving up for a plane ticket to fly home while spending money on acting classes, new head shots, workshops, etc, may mean that there will be some sacrifices that will have to be made. I mean, who doesn't like sitting around at home during the holidays while the rest of the country spends time with their family. And who doesn't like eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the 99 cent only store? Actually, I really do enjoy this. Not always the best stuff, but if you're hungry and low on cash, this is survival. 

McFarland.jpg

That's why a success story like this means so much, to everyone. It was worth it and I am so excited to hear about the opportunities that may arise after the film hits theaters. Regardless if it does well or not in the box office, the fact that he has such a prominent role in the film, is a HUGE success in itself.

So, how does this pertain to me and my blog? Well for starters, we should all support one another. And, as Carlos said to me the other day when asking permission to talk about him in this blog, "we are here to inspire", but most importantly, this is just proof that dreams DO come true. If that silver platter isn't dangling on your doorstep, you just have to work really, really stinking hard. If you think you're working hard, work harder because if you're not, someone else is. It may not happen over night or even in 5 years, but it will happen. Be prepared for a marathon.

Steven McQueen

And if you were ever wondering what I consider a "silver platter", it is booking a co-starring or guest starring role on a TV show within 1.5 years of moving to your film hub of choice (unless you have extensive credits from your hometown). It is finding representation within 6 months of moving here. It is having direct connections to "important people". It is going on a leisure vacation and only self submitting to jobs every three days and still auditioning every week because "my agent just submits me to stuff" (ugh, that ones annoying).

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity"- Roman philospher Seneca

In conclusion of this awesome blog, hard work never disappears so bring the family and support Carlos in Disney's "McFarland", Feb. 20 at a theater near you! Holla

5 Unconventional Ways to Find Videography Gigs

Video Editing Services

Finding new clients is one of the hardest parts of launching a videography business. I know from experience — for the first few years I lived in LA, I had a hard time making a living as a freelancer. I tried the usual routes — a website, college alumni groups, networking events. Nothing seemed to work. I’d send out my resume to ads on craigslist and …. never …. hear …. back.

It was a competitive market, and I just didn’t have the experience, skills, or equipment to stand out from the crowd. But then I came across some unconventional ways to find clients — and since then I’ve had a steady stream of videography and editing gigs.

This is in spite of the fact that I don’t have a “reel”. I don’t have a dedicated video production page on my website. I don’t spend too much time marketing my videography skills, or post many of my videos online. In fact, I’m trying to transition out of the field altogether!

Since moving to Portland, I’ve landed a handful of gigs, none of which I came across through the “conventional” job search process.

Here are a few of my favorite tricks:

1. TaskRabbit

If you’re not leveraging the “sharing” or “gig” economy to find work, you’re missing out on a bunch of clients. While your competitors are spending their time on craigslist, you can be tapping into a whole new marketplace. It’s true that TaskRabbit gigs may not pay as well as other outlets, but you can rest easy knowing that you will get paid: the site handles payments directly, so you don’t have to worry about following up on invoices.

I found dozens of production and editing gigs on TaskRabbit when I lived in LA, some of which turned into long-term clients who still send me work here in Portland. Plus, keeping a profile on TaskRabbit means that clients can find you directly. I was offered a gig out of the blue just last week, based solely on my TaskRabbit profile and reviews from previous customers.

2. Twitter

I’m an active Twitter user, and in many cases it’s been the perfect tool for reaching out to local businesses. Some businesses will Tweet job leads to their followers before placing a traditional ad, or may give preference to applications who reach out on social media.

After finding an ad for a small business that needed a videographer, I sent in my resume, and then quickly followed up on Twitter. It dramatically sped up the interview process, and within a few of days I was meeting up with the owners at a coffeeshop. I had the chance to shoot a few demo scenes and get to know the business owners before they started meeting other applications.

Camera Lens

3. Meetup.com Groups

If you’ve made any attempt to promote your business in person, then chances are you’ve already been to several Meetup events. But which events? If you’re only going to “freelancing” or “networking” meetups, then most likely you’re going to meet people just like you — unemployed, out-of-work, and potentially competing for the same clients.

Instead, go to events that interest you for other reasons. Maybe a food or drink related meetup, or a hiking group. You’ll get to meet people who aren’t entrenched in the same line of work as you, and without the added pressure that networking events can involve. Here in Portland, I signed on to shoot some videos for a relationship-based Meetup group looking to recruit new members. If you’re feeling ambitious, start your own event for a non-work-related hobby or activity.

4. Blogging and e-mail lists

I already mentioned that I don’t actively promote my videography work on my website. But I discuss my projects in e-books and blog posts — like this one. That lets people know that video production is one of my skills, even if it’s not my primary focus. And when people who read my blog for other reasons — say, they like my posts about Burning Man — need a video made, we already have shared interests and a prior connection.

Videography

I recently went to an event where a writer/blogger was looking for an intro video to her site. I told her that I did that kind of work, and gave her my business card. “Wait a minute,” she said. “I know you!” It turned out that she’d already come across my site and was familiar with some of my posts and e-books. Instead of being a random videographer she’d just met, she already had an idea of my business style and personality. If you can build up a reputation in some other field — via a blog or an e-mail list — you’ll make it that much easier for clients to find and connect with you.

5. A handwritten letter

Don’t forget snail mail! While it’s great to reach out to businesses via the latest platforms, it can be just as effective to connect the old-fashioned way. When I heard that Airbnb had opened a new office in Portland, I Googled their address and sent them a letter, letting them know that I’d been active user of their site and would love to work with them. A few days later, I got an e-mail inviting me an employee picnic to interview some of the local crew and cut together a short video. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get to meet the CEO!

If you’re looking for work — in any field! — don’t pass up your chance to get in touch or follow up in unconventional ways . If you sit and wait, you might get overlooked. But if you stay engaged on Twitter or other social media platforms, your chances of an interview will increase. Make it clear that if they don’t hire you soon, someone else will!

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How about you? Have you ever reached out to clients in an unconventional way? Let us know if these ideas work for you! For more tips, check out Saul’s e-book The Lateral Freelancer, available for $2.99 on Amazon. Or follow him at @saulofhearts.