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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Choosing The Right Project

Welcome to Through the Photographers Lens,

In this week’s post I thought I would talk about choosing the right projects. As many will know there are a plethora of resources available to the up and coming artist no matter what your field(s) of talent are and once you’ve built your networking engine opportunities will come knocking at your door (nearly literally). But how do you know which projects to choose. Which projects are going to further your career most effectively and which are just a waste of time? Here are a few tips to help you figure out which projects are right for you and which to steer clear of.

Prepare your self! As I have mentioned in previous articles it is more than important to be prepared to go to any audition, go-see or interview. Resumes, pictures, press kits, performance materials and equipment are essential to the success of any project you get involved with. As a photographer it is important to also know the environment I will be working in as well. What kind natural and artificial light is already present? What elements in the environment change, when and how they change and what means will I need to have available to me to control that change. In order to control the outcome of any situation you have to know its elements and what they are capable of and why. This also applies to the entertainment field in all of its facets. The more you know the better you can prepare yourself for anything that can happen.

The best way to prepare your self for any environment is to investigate it. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!! Take the time to get to know and understand as much as you can about the environment you are introducing yourself to and all of its aspects from the greatest to the smallest. This information will help you in more ways that you can imagine until you find your self needing an answer to a particular problem that crops up once you are on location. Another really cool lesson I learned is as you are preparing yourself to go out to a gig look at everything you are taking versus everything you are not taking that you could need. If you look at a piece of equipment or material you think you might need, chances are YOU WILL! Take it with you. You’d rather have it with you and not need it than to need it and not have it. Also, your sense of preparation and professionalism will be noticed.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find out who is in charge and who they answer to as well as who answers to them. Knowing the chain of command around you helps to better guide you in asking the right questions to the right people. Some executives while on hand may not necessarily have the time to answer all of your questions but a well placed associate or even a well-informed intern can provide you with information that can give you a good competitive edge. After all that is why you are there. Subtly ask how the project is compensated. I have also addressed this issue in previous articles (see Surviving the Casting Call at While it can be a touchy conversation to have and many just jump right in with both feet, in many cases it ill raise a red flag wit your executives. NEVER ASK “Am I getting paid for this?” Whether the job is paid or not the answer will almost always be “No, Good Day!” A better way to address the question of compensation is “What are the benefits for those chosen to work on this project beyond the exposure of working with your company?” remember the interview process is a conversational one. You are not being interrogated! You have the right to ask questions as well. In some cases, exposure is more than enough compensation, especially if the executives you are working with are willing to allow you to network and pass out your business card. Just remember that anyone you hand your business card to will probably use it. Be careful! Other cool forms of compensation are guaranteed repeat work for good performance, vouchers for union work and my personal favorite, referrals.

Now that you have done your homework, and you have meditated on the validity of the project and you know what is expected of you and what you can expect, ask your self the question, “ Is this project conducive to what I am trying to do with my career?” One of the worst things you can do to your career is to take a project that will follow you for the rest of your days like bad credit!!! Remember, there may come a time when you will want to run for public office, get a corporate job, become a parent or at least show your face in public again so it is important to make sure you make teach decision wisely! Your future is at stake.

Don’t be bullied by anyone into anything by anyone for any reason. There are a lot of strong personalities out there and they can be intimidating especially to the newbie’s to the industry. Also, know that not all bullying comes in the form of “strong arm” intimidation. Often times what you are going to run into is people that will make you an offer that you will either have to take or leave and by leave I do mean gather your belongings and get out. Understand that you are not obligated to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, puts you in harms way or compromises your integrity. Not even contractually!!!

It’s your career. It’s your future. You are in control!

What are your thoughts?

Rahim Baskett


MindSoulVision Photography




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