Where Is Video Production as a Secure Career Headed?

vfx-industry-life-of-pi-rhythm-hues-bankruptcy

I’ve had a degree in Cinema Editing & Post Production for almost two years and I’ve found it terribly difficult to find much work beyond freelance, which is most often rewarding only in the fiscal sense, assuming you don’t have to hound your client about being paid. Now, it’s understandable that post production jobs are nowhere near as important as say something in the medical or engineering field, but since this is the 21st century and basically almost everything is digital and reliant on the audiovisual arts, one would think that it would be a much simpler feat finding honest work.

Freelance work is fine, if you can get, and on a steady enough basis to allow you to have a stable budget. The problem is that generally when clients want to hire a freelancer, especially in a video production setting, they are trying to avoid paying the steep prices that film production companies charge for their services. If they want to pay at all. Refer to some of the difficulties here: http://www.creativeboom.com/tips/the-common-problems-with-freelancing-and-how-to-tackle-them/

The point is, you have find and maintain clients and hope that clients will always be happy to pay and not want you to make adjustments in the work you’re doing, for free (every adjustment you make costs time, which should money). This is why working full time would be the best option.

The only problem is that the market is flooded with talent and no one is going anywhere soon. Plus you almost always have to have good connections to someone in any particular company. The other problem is that a lot of smaller companies are hiring staff on a freelance basis, so they can avoid the cost of employing actual employees that require benefits, thus the would be employee becomes contractor. And because the market is saturated, it’s a buyer’s market.

I suppose one could argue that this could stem from technology being too good. For example, 20-30 years ago, the production process took much longer and required workers in the field to be more skilled than today. Today, much of the work is done by computers and each year computers make everything more user friendly and requires less man power (As we’ve seen through automation in any field). This lowers the price that the worker can charge. Unless the worker invests in machinery and developing elite skills that only certain types of personalities have the capacity or will to learn. And even these types of skills aren’t a guarantee that they’ll find work because the work that they do is so expensive that clients will look at the cheaper alternative every chance they get.

So, where is video production as a secure career headed? I don’t know, I’m not an economics major. But if the photo at the top, which has to do with the state of the Visual Effects industry in the last few years is any indication, it might be better to seek a degree that society has a need for. You can read about the state of the VFX industry here:

http://www.siggraph.org/discover/news/whats-wrong-visual-effects-industry

 

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