In this series which appears in In Focus Magazine from The Guild of Television Camera Professionals, Jo Hodges and Liz Bell, camera operators and co-founders of Fusion Film and TV answer questions from readers and fellow camera operators on industry issues and give advice where needed.
In addition to camera operating/supervising and running their production company, Jo and Liz are both qualified transformative life coaches who work specifically with those in the media. You can read more about them and their work here.
STUCK IN A FUNK
Q: I had a difficult 2021 as I’m sure many people did. I lost someone close to me and was ill myself so am lacking any physical or mental motivation and I feel my work life is flatlining because of it. I really need some suggestions to get out of my current funk as it’s hard when you are self-employed because you feel you can’t have any bad days and need to constantly be upbeat and selling yourself?
I know I have said this before but please be kind to yourself. From what you have said that’s a lot for anyone to be dealing with without needing to feel you have to be on top of your business plan, too!
It’s ok to just get by for a bit to give yourself time to work through your recent traumatic events. Don’t play them down or feel like you should be just moving on and past it all. My suggestion would be to use this point in time to, at a healthy pace, work out what you really want to do. Often when we lose someone close to us or have a major life event like a severe illness it can reframe what’s really important to us making it hard to then carry on as we were before. You have had two major events happen so it will almost definitely have had a major shift in your world. Acknowledge that and decide how things are going to be and who you would like to be, after the shift. Don’t force motivation when you need time to heal or use it to cover your pain. True motivation comes from really wanting the thing you are motivated towards so figure out what that is now, post-trauma, and you will find things will start to feel easier and enjoyable again. Good luck and remember there is no wrong path so listen to your gut because strangely enough, we are often at our most authentic after we have reached rock bottom. – Jo
HOW DO TO STAY RELEVANT?
Q: I’ve been a freelancer now for many years and I love my job but I feel like so much has changed. I would like to know how to remain relevant in my field of work when so many new concepts and ideas are sprouting up around me. Sometimes it’s quite overwhelming trying to figure out what to learn and what will help my skills stay relevant.
Great question! I’m sure you have seen all the great workshops on the Guild’s website and that would be a good starting point but I’d also recommend thinking about which areas you actually want to enhance. It’s true that with technology it’s easier to multiskill now meaning you can work in more than one field if you want to. But I do also think there’s room for the purists too so don’t feel like you have to branch out if you enjoy your field as it is. You don’t say what it is that you do but I’m presuming it’s technical given you are a member. I’m sure you have access to online courses etc. and some of the broadcast shows are a really interesting way to broaden your horizons to both ideas and routes to learning. Make sure you take advantage of these shows as there’s so much to access for free. Just make sure it’s actually what you want and not what you feel you should be doing, and enjoy it! – Liz
WHEN DOES NETWORKING TIP OVER INTO PESTERING?
Q: I’m a newbie to the Guild and loving it but I really want to improve my networking skills as I feel I’m being a pain when asking people about work and sometimes I’m not sure how to approach potential work opportunities. Any advice would be helpful.
This is something I hear all the time from younger members of the Guild but I also remember how this felt myself. I was lucky to have some amazingly kind and generous people to help me and I believe you will too; you just have to give them a chance. By that I mean if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
So, the first point would be to create a plan of action; look to who you know already and who may help and try them first. Even if they can’t help you now, they will invariably know someone who can or consider you at a later date. In general, it’s a friendly industry and most people remember how difficult it can be to get work so will give you something – even if it’s just a piece of free advice. Take everything you get offered and be grateful. It won’t always be easy but if you persevere it will be worth it. And here’s my personal advice to you:
- Learn everything you can squeeze into your head – Knowledge is king!
- Never think you are above anything, every job plays its part – even making the tea and clearing up. Someone is always watching and noticing how you get on with things.
- Believe! Don’t be put off by someone’s negativity – if you want to have a go at something, do it. Find out for yourself if something is right for you not by someone else’s opinions, they might be wrong!
Welcome to the family, good luck out there.
If you too would like your questions answered by Jo and Liz then email firstname.lastname@example.org