I never asked for money. It was an issue. Six years went by, I had some really cool projects to show for myself but had, quite literally, no money.
Doing free work is fine, I need to put that out there before I say anything more.
When you’re young, have a disposable income, and want to “get your foot in the door” (which I hate being indoors but whatever) you’ll need to offer your services for free. That’s just the way it goes. This is a way to prove yourself to that person or organization and also to the people that will look at your work for paying gigs.
For some reason, I didn’t take the next step until I was about 22 years old. No matter the size of the project, the scope, the budget, time it took to shoot and edit, I NEVER ASKED FOR MONEY. Was I afraid to? Somewhat, yes. Does that matter? Not all all.
What I’ve now learned-it’s all about knowing what they need, what you need, and what this project will do for both parties. Once you know that, you can properly put a dollar amount to your services.
BUT, there’s another way.
Service for Service-also known to slimy people as Bartering. I prefer service for service because my intentions are always good. I want others to succeed, but I also have learned I need to feed myself and pay rent and other stupid normal people things..
I moved to Detroit in July of this year (2015). It was a decision too easy to make, my life-long friend told me his tech company was getting a place in West Village and they needed a forth to fill a room upstairs. I was at that point in my life where I knew I could go anywhere and start my “career.” If Detroit didn’t call my name I’d most likely be writing this from the West Coast, a place my heart still lives. I had enough money in the bank to not worry about rent and expenses for a few months, which gave me an idea.
What if I went around to local businesses and offered my video services to them, but instead of asking for a ton of money in exchange, I ask them for their “service” or product.
It seemed like an amazing idea, one that has so far shown a bright future. Currently, I have four business owners interested in the idea. Naturally, because every business in Detroit is still operated by the owner, nothing has been delivered yet.
There still does seem to be a barrier there. Unanswered emails and looks of “this is a trap” are too often present. Detroit is an especially interesting place for this concept because of its rebirth but especially because of its history. People are very careful here with who they give their time and money to. Everyone wants this city to work again but no one wants to be the person f**ked on the way there, that’s just the truth.
In the mean time, I continue to do corporate and assistant work to keep the cash coming in. I look forward to the day I can have a steady stream of “service for service” work because I truly think those projects are the ones filled with passion. When you put two passionate people together, the results are typically pretty amazing.