As this is the 4th week of my aforementioned 5 week contract I asked the production manager if they were likely to be extending my contract. This happens often enough in the industry where anything from a few weeks to a few hours before you are due to finish the production manager or co-ordinator may come and ask if you are available to stay in for a bit longer. I took the initiative to ask as I’d like to stay on but need to secure more work. The PM said he was unsure due to budget but would get back to me as soon as possible. I decided to start having a little look as I didn’t want to end up with nothing to do. I received a job alert for an assembly editor on a new Obs doc that sounded exciting but it starts a week too early for me. I may well contact them just in case on the advice of a colleague. At the very least it would give them my name and CV for next time.
Today’s work was little different to before and I worked a little on my plan for getting a new job. I have a few sources and contact I go to when looking for my next job. A lot of stuff is word of mouth. I am part of a couple of whatsapp groups where fellow assistants and editors will occasionally ask if anyone is free for a job they know of and frequently enough I will get an email or call from a PM I have worked with before asking my availability. Also I will get speculative calls or emails from people who have been given my name by an editor or PM or other who I have worked with – this is where my name comes in quite handy.
When I have emailed those I have worked with before to let them know I am free I then have several other sources for jobs. I am a member of both Talent Manager and Production Base, both of which have regularly updated postings for jobs you can apply to within their pages. I am finding that Talent Manager seems to have more in the field I want to work in but that could just be a current trend rather than an overall rule. I also check out the Unit List which, being run by a production manager in their free time, is less up to date but will usually have a good batch of jobs as well as being a great source for help and advice. Something else I have recently started checking more is Facebook groups. Originally I felt that Facebook was a pretty unprofessional way to advertise and apply for work but actually it rather suits the industry. Again there are a few of groups I am subscribed to with a varying amount of jobs and available workers being posted, you have to wade through the mire to find jobs that are suited to you but nevertheless there are some good ones on there.
Another thing I tried this time around was a bit of research mixed in with some looking under rocks. The Grierson awards nominations came up on my feed this week and I took a look through it partly to see how much I had seen or known about, partly to see if anyone I know or have indeed worked with has been nominated (yes!) but also to find out which companies were making the programmes I like to see if I could apply to them directly. I would go to the company website, have a look at the staff they featured, look at the contacting them page and, in cases where they exist, go to their jobs page. Many of these companies use Talent Manager as a way of sourcing freelancers and provide a link to join their network. Others use a similar web database that is currently undergoing a change to a new website which I am keeping an eye on to update myself on. A lot of companies also have a head of talent or similar. These people are usually responsible for holding a network of freelancers across all roles from which they can provide their productions with crew. Many of them will state they use one of the above systems but I took it upon myself to find out their email address to send them my CV directly. In this way I found several PMs and Heads of Talent who all got back to me in some way or another saying thanks, we’ll keep you on record, and have you added yourself to our database.
Today I was told that my contract won’t be extended for budget reasons. A shame but it’s happened before and I was almost expecting it. I had a nice chat with the production manager who said he will pass my name around and keep me on record – there is hope that the programme will run again next year and I will be on their list to contact.
Due to looking for a new job it is time to update my CV, not a lot to add but always best to get it right up to date before passing it around. I replaced the old version available from my website but decided not to spend the night working on updating the site itself as it is less important and I could be there for hours. I need sleep more.
This morning I had a good chat with one of the lead editors about my decisions. I’d worked with him before and on this project he had used me well for shot replacements and such to the extent where I cut a few shots to fill a hole and they made it into the final cut. He reassured me that a decision I had made before starting had been a good one despite it meaning my work outlook is now less secure. I started applying for jobs in earnest, mostly emailing contacts I already have and finding more to email speculatively using the above methods.
I’ve received a few replies from people I haven’t contacted before, sadly they were all along the lines of sorry we don’t have anything but we’ll keep you on file. In better news it means that I have found the right people at their respective companies and that I now have them as contacts for the future. It’s quite an anxious time constantly checking my phone for responses that seem all too infrequent but I am enjoying how much I can do just from my phone. Technology these days eh?
Everyone finished early to have a few drinks on production. I chatted to a couple of people but found myself unable to talk freely to most of the team as I hadn’t interacted with them before now. One of the downsides to joining a project part way through and only for a short time is you don’t feel such a part of the team. An inevitable shame.