Practice makes perfect, right? The more we practice a skill, the more accomplished we become. This is certainly true of video production, which contains within it such a vast array of skills and challenges that every project seems to teach something new.
However, for photographers who are just beginning to work with video, it can be hard to get that practice. Before you approach your existing clients and offer them your services in the motion-picture domain, it’s helpful to have a few projects under your belt already. Unfortunately, most people will hire you to do something you haven’t already done, and it can be difficult to find friends willing to put in the time to be actors and crew for a first-time short filmmaker.
However, I have the answer: volunteer to do a promo video for a non-profit organization. Yes, that’s right: no profit for them, and no profit for you except the benefits of experience and practice. If you don’t have a favorite cause in your area, YouTube has a fantastic program that pairs charities with aspiring filmmakers. Here’s the link:
The beauty of this type of work is that it gives you a lot of creative autonomy, with a lot of client support. If you want to do a 30-second public service announcement or a 3-minute mini-documentary, you’ll probably be able to do just that, with as much help as you need. And, since you’ll be working with no budget, you’ll have to think on your feet, which is great experience. If you’re past the test-footage-of-your-dog stage of video, but not quite up to the pro level yet, this kind of practice is incredibly valuable.
Best of all, you’re helping other people while you help yourself. And that’s something we should all practice more!