If you ask any freelancer in the industry, every single one”; ‘it’s a struggle at times. Freelancing on the side while maintaining a full or even part time job is naturally harder, but we maintain that with the proper approach, juggling freelance filmmaking projects while teaching is not only possible, but incredibly beneficial to you and your students. We include here our top four tips to succeed as a freelance filmmaker whilst still teaching.
1 – Budget and Savings
If teaching is one thing, it’s a calling. We dedicate our lives and efforts to educating others and a passion for filmmaking shouldn’t encumber this. Sadly, filmmaking for the majority who try, is not an assured pathway to wealth.
Starting out in the film business is never easy, and it’ll often cost money to advance to where you’re aiming for next. With courses, equipment and travel expenses, you may find that you need to spend more money than you initially anticipated when you decided to try your hand at freelance filmmaking. By budgeting you’ll ensure that you have a decent amount to spend on your hobby as you try to grow that into a second career. Whether you plan to save enough to one day dedicate 100% of your time to filmmaking or not, saving in preparation will allow you to pursue your ambitions outside the classroom and become the best filmmaker you can be!
2 – Give Yourself 110%
Just because you’re balancing your time in the field with time in the classroom doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dedicate yourself 110% in both pursuits. Not only is it unfair to you, to only invest in yourself half-heartedly, but it’ll also negatively affect your students if they feel you’re not dedicating yourself to their learning. By using what you’ve learned as a teacher in filmmaking, whilst also taking your freelance experience into the classroom, you’re ensuring that you’re giving your students and your co-filmmakers a broader overall range of knowledge and potentially greater dedication to both jobs at once.
3 – Network, network, network
We’ve discussed the importance of networking for aspiring filmmakers before, but this industry necessity is even more important if you’re just breaking into the business. By seeking out local networking events during term time, and venturing out to bigger events like festivals and even film markets during school holidays, not only are you able to give your students an insider’s view on how to successfully network, but you’re making the most out of your busy schedule.
4 – Diversity
As a part-time filmmaker, you can’t be too picky about which jobs come your way. Learn to adapt to your surroundings and take every opportunity available. Your income as a teacher will allow you to go after jobs you’re passionate about even though they may not pay much, and your experience collaborating with students will give you a step-up when working with others. Although your term-time schedule may not allow you to find weekday filmmaking opportunities, there are plenty of other streams of revenue encouraging use of your filmmaking chops and getting your name out there. Find as many ways to create and own content as you can, a great approach is by filming stock footage that you can sell for extra revenue as well as promoting yourself as a filmmaker even whilst you might be otherwise preoccupied as an educator.
By using on set what you’ve learned in the classroom, as well as adapting your filmmaking experience for your classes, you’re guaranteeing you’ll become a more well-rounded filmmaker and also educator. Use yourself as a real-life example for your students on how to achieve their filmmaking aspirations as you pursue yours!