In the film industry, freelancing doesn’t get any less brutal. You put in 17 hour days with little sleep, lug heavy equipment around all day, and then hope that a few days later somebody calls you up to do it all over again.
Thus is the world of freelance filmmaking — a frantic and emotional rollercoaster of hope and dismay.
And though there are many professions that embolden freelancers, the independence from a true employer unites them. So here are five infographics that beautifully deconstruct and examine what it means to freelance.
1. Should I Work For Free?
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What’s great about Jessica Hische’s interactive infographic “Should I Work for Free?” is that it embodies the same attitude you have when you get asked to work for free: “Do I really have to?” Then it goes on to say everything you’ve always thought when asked that question with the kind of angry frustration you’re forced to calm.
At times, it skews towards graphic designers or web developers, but the ethos of the graphic always rings true.
As a useful resource, it ranks pretty low, but as a tongue-in-cheek guide to the financially deprived it hits the bullseye.
Source: Should I Work for Free?
2. The Freelancer’s Guide to the Galaxy
Striking a more serious tone is “The Freelancer’s Guide to the Galaxy,” an infographic that takes you from the “Land of Peaks and Pits” all the way to “Retirement Neverland.” It actually functions as a guide, providing practical advice and tips where appropriate and inspiration when needed.
The tone isn’t always serious, however, as the arrival of the “Corporate Temptresses” proves.
You won’t find any revelations reading through this infographic, but it’s still fun to plot yourself among its galactic map and you might pick up a few tips along the way.
3. Freelance at a Glance
If you love pie charts and number crunching, then “Freelance at a Glance” is your kind of deal. Chock full of stats, figures, and graphical displays of them, this infographic examines the growing number of freelancers in the world and how they make a living doing it.
And that population of people working for themselves doesn’t seem likely to go down anytime soon. Per this infographic, only 8.1% of freelancers plan to return to full-time employment in the future.
Source: Social Cast
4. The Freelancer’s Tax Guide (US Residents)
There are two things always guaranteed to be a tangled, senseless mess: BNC cables wrapped by production assistants and the United States tax code.
You are probably already aware of W9 and W2 forms as well as the deductions you’re granted from the IRS as a freelancer (aka everything), but did you know you can (and should) pay your taxes quarterly?
Accounting and finances is not the most exciting subject to most of us creatives, but it is an important aspect of the freelance lifestyle.
5. Why Do People Become Freelancers?
When 93% of people answer “Yes” to “Are you happier since you started freelancing?” there’s got to be a good reason, right?
My own theory is nobody goes into freelancing unless they’re doing something they’re a) good at, b) really passionate about, or c) both. Thus, you don’t usually get passionate people who hate their job. Still, there are real stresses and disadvantages.
But happiness is just one part of the big “Why freelance?” question posed by this infographic — there are also hours, salary, environment, etc. This is a really interesting chart about the emotional and psychological benefits of freelancing.
Is Freelancing Worth the Effort?
I was on set once around 2 A.M. when the gaffer, a friend of mine, turned to me with a smile on his face and asked, “Why do we do this? … Why do we stay up so late, get so little sleep, for not so much money?”
Right before I was about to answer, the 1st Assistant Director interrupted with his booming voice: “Picture’s up!” I quickly shrugged my shoulders and placed the slate in front of the camera.
When you phrase the question like that, there’s no real logical answer. I’m sure the same could be said of many freelance professions, but filmmaking in particular demands so much in so many areas.
Most people would never dream about putting that much effort into their job. But then, most people don’t think of their job as the dream.
Freelancing is an inherent part of being employed within the film industry, whether you like it or not, and the rewards you reap are directly related to your ability to successfully navigate the waters of job independence.