Marketing, selling and your personal brand
Marketing is telling your potential clients that you exist and are available to work with them. Selling is the final stage of marketing where you seal the deal.
Marketing works in either a push or a pull way –you can market yourself (push) to potential clients or clients can reach out to you (pull). Whichever way it happens, you will want to ensure you have a consistent and clear presence online. This is in effect your personal brand which needs to be up to date and demonstrate your skills and experience. The first thing a potential client will do is research you online.
Your personal brand, whether you use your name or a company name, should be consistent across all of your marketing and communications
This should be professional and easily identifiable as you, so it’s best to avoid nicknames. Using a free mail client, such as Gmail and iCloud, will do the job, but if you are going to go to the effort of having a website you could use an email associated with that domain.
An up to date and well laid-out CV is essential. Generally, it should be no more than 2 pages, ideally 1 page. After your contact details, follow with a short personal statement. Then detail your relevant experience with roles and responsibilities. Follow this with your education/training/qualifications and finally your hobbies and interests. Don’t underestimate the value of hobbies and interests – that’s where you show your personality and other skills that you think the reader will value.
For film and TV, your credits are your calling card so there’s usually little need for explanation as to the exact duties on each role. If you are starting out and with few credits to list it can be unclear what role you might be looking for so make sure it is clear in your personal statement.
Make sure you can be contacted easily and if you are happy for your CV to be shared more widely then include a UK-GDPR statement such as “This CV may be kept on file and distributed for employment purposes”.
There are many great resources online, including Facebook groups, that can offer sector-specific CV advice. ScreenSkills has advice on approaching employers.
Showreel, portfolio and website
If your work is in a creative department then a showreel and/or portfolio is an important part of showcasing you and your brand. Keep it fresh and up to date as you never know when a potential client will want to discuss a new project with you.
A website isn't essential for everyone but it can be a great way to showcase your portfolio of work. Take a look at how to build a portfolio for detailed information on showcasing your skills, depending on your industry and role.
You can use social media to find out what's happening in the industry, whether it be following key people on Twitter or joining the many Facebook groups that exist by department and by region. Increasingly many job roles are posted in relevant Facebook groups rather than through formal advertising so these can be a vital source of opportunities.
Your social media profile(s) should be professional. Many freelancers have a professional profile for work and a private personal one for just this reason. Increasingly your social media profile acts as your portfolio.
There are many sector-specific databases where you can register your services, often for free. Some are national, while others are geographically based so that those filming in a region can find the details of local talent for the production.
National organisations: Wales Screen, Northern Ireland Screen, Screen Scotland and Creative England
Regional examples include: Bristol Film Office, Film Birmingham, Film London and many more
It’s worth taking time to complete databases carefully and update them regularly – they will often be a potential client’s first interaction with you and may well inform whether they contact you or someone else.