Last Friday I went to a panel hosted by Daisie, which was full of creatives. The real USP of the app, for me, is how all creatives are connected. Film can be quite an insular place at times, so it was amazing to talk to writers, illustrators, photographers, fashion designers and musicians.
Credit: Harpers Bazaar
Here are the biggest takeaways I got from the night:
Money is universal
Everyone on the panel, regardless of their particular industry, spoke about how they often struggled to balance the books. Although some of them were well into their careers, they still had tough months.
Anyone venturing into self-employment really has to prepare themselves for that. There’s a lot of money floating around, but there will always be times when it’s difficult to make any.
Relationships are like gold dust
There will be people that you meet along your career path that you’ll stay in touch with forever, and it’s usually these people that’ll do you favours when you need them. This is because they know that you’ll do them a favour in return, and you want to see each other succeed. The relationships you make at the beginning of your career will be fundamental later down the line.
Working for free and granting favours is best when you’re both at the same level in the industry, regardless of which specific industry you’re in. It’s not really fair for you to work for free for a big, well-known, successful company.
Don’t be afraid to cross-collab
Daisie is pioneering the way for this. I’ve met so many people in other creative industries that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Every meeting I’ve had has been enriching. Don’t rule out working with other people, or even just going for coffee, if they’re not in the same industry as you. We’re all creatives, and each industry is connected. As Savannah Brown said, ‘it’s a matter of lifting everyone up’.
For a great example of a cross-collab, watch Sav’s video Loving Like An Existentialist. It combines poetry, animation, music and live action seamlessly.
Social media: the whole package
You didn’t think you’d get away with reading about being a freelance creative and not read anything about social media did you? It’s all-encompassing and feels sometimes akin to a black hole, sucking in everything from your time to your self-esteem. Nevertheless, we generally can’t live without it, and everyone spoke about how it has been both good and bad for themselves and their business.
If you’ve ever heard me talk about getting films into festivals, you’ll know I go on and on about social media. It has a huge impact on what a festival committee thinks of your project. After all, if you can prove that you have an audience for the film, then a screening of it will sell tickets, and really that’s the main aim for every festival programmer. What I hadn’t realised, however, was that it has a huge impact on every creative industry, not just filmmaking. Fashion and publishing were two that I hadn’t really considered, but it affects them much in the same way.
Each person stressed that it is not at all about the number next to your name. From a business perspective, likes don’t equate to sales. 2000 people might like your photos, but it’ll be two or three genuinely interested people that buy your products. Social media is not about amassing numbers, it’s about finding people that will fall in love with your work.
Sav Brown mentioned that slow growth shouldn’t be underrated. She’s been on YouTube for seven years now, and when she self-published her first book of poems it was the people that had been following her for a long time that helped the book become so successful. After a spoken word poetry video went viral, she said that she was getting crazy numbers of subscribers, but a lot of those people were just getting in on the act because it’s what was current. In the long run, those people don’t really care about what you make.