Yes, I am a London videographer, and I would like to give some advice based on my experience to those who may be interested in working as freelancer London videographer too.
This is not going to be a conventional post, in fact as an intro, let’s say few words about the weather.
Why the weather? Well, the weather might affect our moods and dreams.
So, I think, it’s quite important.
For the people who live in Los Angeles, it totally makes sense to start a new day singing the song Another Day of Sun (from the acclaimed La La Land but I am pretty sure you already knew it).
If you wake up in London, well, you should probably change slightly the lyrics and sing “Another day of Rain”.
Hey, it’s not a complaint.
Cinematography lesson 1 : cloudy skies are better than blue skies. So at least, no more overexposed skies in your videos.
Once you are ready to face the big grey sky, remember that when the melancholy is at your door, you should hold on to your happy thoughts and don’t let them go.
It’s like flying with Peter Pan.
Find your happy thought, and you will be fine. Kind of…
I don’t want to speak too much about the weather really, and I know there is no cloudy sky that can stop someone to chase their dream, as it didn’t stop me 5 years ago.
Honestly, I would lie if I say that I don’t miss 4 or 5 consecutive days of sun but again, this is not what this post is about.
I would like to give some advices to those who plan to be a freelance London videographer.
Let’s have a look at this small but intense guide.
1 – DO NOT BECOME ONE OF THE DEAD!
When you move to London, don’t dare to think, even just for a second, the most dangerous thought in the world:
“I need to survive. I need to pay bills so it’s better to start to work in Coffee Shops, Retails, Cinemas or Restaurants and then, after sometime, I will look for videography jobs”
Maybe yes, maybe no.
Maybe yes, you might be one of the lucky people who start with a part time job at Starbucks and then have a great career somewhere else.
Maybe no, you might stay at that Starbucks for the next 10 years of your life, forgetting the real reason why you moved to London and forgetting who you are at the same time.
You might become just another zombie in the army of the Dead.
What zombies think while walking the streets of London? Well, they imagine a very different life from the one they live.
You might loose all your emotions and thoughts.
And for what?
Answer: for the money which is needed to pay the bills and God knows how expensive bills are in London.
So why not saving that money, before actually moving to London?
I am going to explain myself better but first let’s take a step back.
About the Dead, I mean, I know what I am talking about.
I know because before being a freelance London videographer I worked at a retail shop in Oxford Street, at Starbucks, at The Body Shop, then as Event assistant in a venue in Camden Town and last but not least, at the Odeon Cinemas.
When I was a member of the army of the Dead, we were spending all day just serving customers.
We forgot about our dreams except when, during the lunch break, if we had enough energy to talk, we reminded each other why we moved to London.
I collected so many memories of great artists who were wasting their time.
2 – BE A VIDEOGRAPHER IN LONDON FROM THE VERY BEGINNING!
If I could go back in time what I would have changed in my life?
I would have saved and put money aside while I was still in Italy.
I would have worked as much as I could, even as customer assistant (there in my country, not in London where it is more stressful) in order to save enough money to survive for 6-7 months in London without a fixed salary.
Once here in London, I would have looked immediately for freelance jobs.
Nowadays, to be a freelance London videographer is less complicated than in the past, when people needed the “contacts”.
Internet is a gift box full of contacts and you just have to unpack it.
Countless website and social platforms offer you the chance to find clients and to be found by them:
Facebook Groups ( I need a photo/videographer! London Filmmaking Network)
Throw yourselves directly into the freelance jobs search.
Work as much as you can as videographer, even unpaid at the beginning.
I can guarantee you that 12 hours of work as a London videographer are much more satisfying and less tiring than a shift of 10-12 hours at a retail shop or at a cinema.
I cannot say if or how much you would earn from it, it depends on the client and on the job, but I am sure it would worth it anyway.
3 – BE ONE WITH YOUR CAMERA!
When you arrive in London, take your camera with you everywhere.
Never be tired of making videos and pictures and then of sharing them on websites and social media.
Let yourself be fascinated by everything and everyone.
Londonist and Timeout are quite good to find out about events and exhibitions but they show already well-promoted ones; by searching carefully on facebook and twitter you might find the ones which need for promotion instead and you might get a job more easily than you think.
Never be scared to send a message and to try to have a chat with the organisers.
4 – BUILD WORK RELATIONSHIPS!
Once you arrive in London, for sure you get the chance to meet others who work as London videographer.
Don’t look at them just as competitors.
They might actually be your good collaborators.
There are always jobs which required more cameras and camera operators and an honest colleague might ask for your help.
Same goes for you, if there is a good job but you cannot make it by yourself, it’s always good to ask to people if they are interested in working too.
Meetups are a good way to meet in person others videographers, sound engineers, cinematographers, etc; and as I already said Facebook and Twitter can work pretty well too.
3 years ago I met my collaborators with whom I co-founded London Filmmakers posting this on Facebook in thousand of different groups (this is not a joke):
“Here I am, a very energetic person, with a lot of work experience in Film Industry as Script/ Continuity Supervisor, Screenwriter, Editor, Runner. My passion for Cinema that is unequaled and my self- motivation can’t be compared to others’.
I would like to show that all those words are not just words, that there is something special that makes me the best worker ever, probably the strong desire to become the greatest director and to turn the stories I write into movies ; I would like to show that my energy and skills are for real.
I live in London so please, if you have any paid/unpaid vacancies or training opportunities available it would be amazing to discuss about it, I can send immediately my resume and cover letter.”
I am really embarrassed by posting it here, but I want to encourage you guys to play all for everything even though you might sound ridiculous.
That’s all for now.
Good luck to all the future aspirants London videographers!