Of course, everyone deserves to be paid for their work and we want nothing more than to see more paid film jobs Texas. However, there are a few times when it is actually appropriate to work for free. Here are a few:
1 - You need more film experience.
Like it or not, very few indie film projects can afford to pay for help from someone that doesn't know what their doing. Having general knowledge can be really valuable, but when it comes to making movies, there are a whole set of film and video specific skills that will make you much more useful on set. If you come with a hungry attitude, pay attention and ask questions, you can definitely improve your skills while earning additional film credits on local indie film project.
2 - You need to make connections.
You've heard it before and you'll hear it again. Because it's true. Networking is everything. It truly is all about who you know, but that's doesn't mean you can't get in. You just have to get to know people. This starts with attending local film mixers, like the Austin Film Meet and offering to help on interesting projects. The Austin film community is a tight-knit group of people and many filmmakers here are more apt to work with friends or at least, people they already know and have worked with in the past.
3 - You need to make friends who will help you with your projects.
Maybe you're a producer or director who will on day be asking others to help you make your first few films. Collect favors for later by helping others on their films. Austin's indie film scene strong sense of community thrives on a you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scatch-yours mentality.
4 - You aren't booking any paid gigs.
There's a saying in the film industry. You're only as good as your last project. To some degree, people will judge you on your body of work. That means it's not a good idea to let too much time lapse between projects. It's better to stay busy. Remember, your resume won't reflect how much you got paid, only that you were working on something. So, don't hold out waiting too long for work. Your craft may grow stale. Instead, fill the gaps by giving back to your community and helping local filmmakers just like you.
5 - You want to strengthen a connection with a particular person or company.
Every once in a while, there comes along an individual or company that you'd just die to work with. Sometimes these people can be difficult to access at local film mixers and screening events. Generally, the more in demand they are, the more likely they are to stay busy all the time. So, naturally, the best way to get an opportunity to make a good impression with these powerful individuals is simply to offer your skills and services to them. Helpful people always get noticed.
6 - You need to mentor others and give back to your community.
No matter who you are, but especially if you have extensive experience in film and video production, mentoring others proves one of the most rewarding challenges you can give yourself. Not only will teaching others boost your own ego, but you may also be humbled by
things you did not expect. Newbies have a way of stretching your brain and will force you to examine your strengths and weaknesses as a professional. It's good to have friends of many stages and diverse walks of life, and remember, you were once where they are. Give back!
If those reasons don't motivate you to help your fellow filmmakers, then I'm not sure what will. But perhaps I left something out? What benefits do you get from helping others by working on local indie film and video projects for free? Tell us in the comment section below.