Available Opportunities
Expanding Growth
Getting In
Talents & Skills

Starting your career in a corporate / network environment could be like a non-domesticated animal being raised in captivity while working as a freelancer might be more like that animal trying to survive in the wild.

As many of you know, there are significant differences between life as a freelancer and a staff gig. Even though the actual job responsibilities remain the same, how you find, land the gig, and advance your career are entirely different.

Freelancers, also known as day hires or project hires, are constantly on the lookout for the next gig. Even when you’re on a gig, you are keeping your eyes and ears open for the next opportunity. Freelancing always reminded me of hunting. I’m not talking about hunters who spend the weekend in a thousand-dollar-a-night lodge in Wyoming. Hire a guide. They are outfitted with Kuiu or Sitka gear and hunt on a preserve. I’m talking about those who have to hunt to survive, to feed themselves and their family, and maybe put a little away for the leaner times ahead.

Staff gigs usually mean the hunt is over, open the frig, and there’s your food. You are guaranteed a paycheck every week. You are generally entitled to several weeks of vacation, health benefits, maybe an investment/retirement plan, and, most importantly, you know you’ll have a job moving forward. “Living in captivity.”

Both careers have pros and cons, and depending on your personality style, each offers a different lifestyle. Each has an effect on your life outside of work, which in turn has a significant effect on you and your family.



  • You are basically self-employed. You decide if you are going to accept a gig or not.
  • You get to pick the gigs that interest you.
  • Grow your career at your own pace.
  • Accept gigs that will advance your skill set and make you more marketable.
  • You can choose to find gigs that allow you to travel.
  • Set your own rate if one isn’t offered to you.


  • You are basically self-employed. (If you don’t find a gig, you don’t have money.)
  • You must learn about health insurance, retirement plans, tax filings, etc.
  • No guarantee of new work.
  • Gigs come randomly.
  • Always hunting for new connections and new opportunities.
  • Working with people you don’t have a relationship with.


  • You need to learn to be conservative with your personal spending. Even if you have a high-paying job and your bank account is rising, you must put some aside for the lean times.
  • Diversify your skills. The more you can do, the more you will work. If your passion is sports cameras, you should make sure you can operate dozens of different models and shooting styles; off your shoulder, operate robotics, follow the ball from a ped and from a steadycam, etc.



  • You always know where your next paycheck is coming from.
  • The work schedule is predictable.
  • Build team relationships.
  • Advancement opportunities are apparent.


  • Gigs can become routine and then boring.
  • Advancement is out of your control. Upper management makes that call.
  • Politics and interpersonal relationships can outweigh the coolness of the gig.
  • You can get caught in a numbers game when downsizing.
  • Termination based on salary maxing out.
  • Others take credit for your talents.
  • You may be forced to work long hours or travel extensively.


  • You need to manage up and manage down. Meaning you need to keep your superiors happy, and you need to keep your coworkers happy with you.
  • Understand that doing a good job can be less important than getting along with others.
  • Always keep an eye out for other opportunities both inside and outside your current position.
  • Make sure you are always seen as a value to your superiors.

The items I’ve laid out above are just a few fundamental considerations you need to make as you develop your career. Your needs and interests when you are twenty-five are going to be very different than when you are forty-five. You may consider yourself a free spirit and risk taker at twenty-five. Still, by forty-five, you typically have widened the scope of your responsibilities.

The one reality you need to keep your eye on is that no decision you make has to be the one you live with forever. I have lived in both worlds, freelance and staff. Early on I realized I function better under pressure and constantly being challenged. Whether it meant starting my own business or as a line item AKA “a gun for hire”, the challenge of new beginnings created an environment I flourished in. Looking back, I can tell you some of those choices made life difficult and unnecessarily complicated. But overall it was right for me.  

Make a choice and try it for a while. If it fits your needs and you enjoy going to work, then hang in there until it no longer fits or the opportunity changes. Most of the generation coming off of WWII took a job or started a business and worked it till they retired. Today, those situations are extremely rare.

Don’t panic if you can’t find or land the perfect gig as either a staffer or freelancer. The more opportunities you take, the more you will learn about yourself and what environment you function best in. The perfect gig is definitely out there. It’s like trying new and different foods. You don’t know what you like or don’t like until you try it.

Fast track your entertainment production career