I have been self-employed since the day I left college in 1994. I have weathered the ups and downs of an ever-changing economy and adapted my business model as my professional standing changed. As anyone who has spent even a brief time totally self-reliant on the work they can drag in, knows it is a very demanding life choice.
It’s demanding due to the lack of security, every month is a new month every shoot could be your last. I have learned the fine art of compartmentalizing the vertigo-inducing ups and downs of this business, not allowing the dark thoughts of perceived artistic incompetence or insecurity to creep in and wreak a perfectly good day. Yet as is often chatted about on those more sunny days, it beats the heck out of the mind-numbing knowledge of knowing what you will be doing every hour of every day. The upside to all this is, you might be sitting at home on Monday get a call on Tuesday then be off to the islands on Thursday, that’s without question awesome!
Enter the kids. I have thrived on this uncertainty my whole life even as I curse it to hell! But now with two kids looking up at me with those beautiful innocent eyes, that half-empty month of work now turns into a nail-biting exercise is self-restraint from total panic. It’s not just me anymore. I can’t skate by on the thin ice of low overhead, shooting only those choice assignments with total dedication to my single artistic vision. This new paradigmis shifting abruptly the view of the business landscape, new shapes appear as if out of nowhere. Pressure is on to shoot not for the love necessarily but for the money. I have always felt this was a dangerous step which will take you into financial success but happiness not so much. My feeling is, as a result, work becomes watered down and shoots widdled down to pure transactions. The upside to all this pressure, it drives you forward into uncomfortable places. It drives you to finally write that blog post, or figure out what the heck is social media good for anyway. It drives you to change the look of your work for the sake of your kids. I have spent the better part of my career shooting exactly what I want and doing it in the style which I want. That novel is coming to a close. In its place a more pragmatic approach to my craft, an approach which I hope will yield results not only on the financial side but in new looks and techniques.