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How Freelancers Can Succeed: Self-Promotion

19 Nov 2009
In this instalment of How Freelancers Can Succeed, production sound mixer Ande Schu

In this instalment of How Freelancers Can Succeed, production sound mixer Ande Schurr discusses three ways to successfully promote yourself.

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No-one likes to admit they are having a quiet month, but reality is reality. I have been fortunate along with many of you with a steady stream of work but if things slow down there is only one thing I will be doing: Self-Promotion!

‘Shameless bastard!’ – some of the older sound recording folk may mumble under their breath if they read this. But, joking aside, I think the bulk of people have an understanding that in times of uncertainty, a little more forthrightness is acceptable.

I had a good discussion with one excellent and experienced sound technician who said the game of self-promotion is different when you are younger. “There is more tolerance for enthusiasm” - he said (thank god, as I have more than my fair share of it) and there is more support in just getting out there and making a name for oneself.

As a technician, and not a creative per se, there is only so much I can do publicly. Plastering my image all over the city bill-boards with the words “you need a sound man in your life - err I mean - production” would confuse people (although people would probably laugh which would cause them to spend more).

So how do we, the glorious mules of the industry who carry the vision of the creatives to the foot of the red carpet, go about promoting ourselves appropriately?

Three Ways to Successfully Promote Yourself:

1. Treat People as More Important Than You. 

If you are ringing a producer to say “hello – by the way, I’m free next week” then don’t keep them talking when they are in the middle of a shoot. Instead, ask them if they have a moment to talk, and if not, immediately excuse yourself and ring them back the next day.

2. Keep the Feeling Alive That You Are In the Right Industry.

Don’t doubt yourself. You have survived other professions and you will survive this one as long as you are good at what you do. When you talk to producers and HOD’s for work, rest in the knowledge that if they don’t want you then NO PROBLEM - the next guys will. The train moves on and another one always takes its place.

3. Email, Ring AND Visit 

People remember different things. Some producers never get back to me if I email them. And if I ring them they are usually very busy and I feel rude holding them up on the phone. The only other way is to visit them – a brief visit.

That’s all from me. Keep busy promoting yourself.