Amy Bowers TV Talk 
 
"Why Staff Photographers
Should Care"
 
"WAKE UP, ASSHOLES!!!" a friendly voice shouted into the answering machine. It was the bureau deputy, John Paxon, offering us a freelance assignment at CBS News.  

Attitude check: One difference between staff and freelance is that freelancers are constantly hungry, constantly looking for another day of work. A freelance crew always figures the assignment is temporary--so, no matter how annoying a problem during the assignment may be, it will be gone soon. As a result, they are less prone to grumble. 

Another difference is, freelancers want to prove themselves on every job. Many donít work every day, and the days off make them eager to shoot. They often have only one assignment a day, and put total effort into their work. 

Freelancers are The Chosen because they are, in fact, chosen. Even when I feel I have the franchise on a territory, I never assume I will get all the work.  

A freelancer is always unemployed until the phone rings. 

Freelance workers know they are responsible for their equipment as well as their work.  

Bringing back the goods is a must for freelancers. If thereís a weak link, or a miscommunication somewhere in the assignment, they probably wonít shrug and say, "no one was there at the location, so I went back to the bureau."   

When a producer asks them to shoot footage that wonít work, the freelance crew thinks: "What will the producer remember about us, that we saved their piece by refusing to shoot something, or that we were pleasant and likable?" This mind-set encourages the freelance worker to charm their nemesis with excellent alternatives. 

A freelancer will offer to buy lunch, ship tape, and book the hotel if everyone else feels too busy. The daily hire will cheerfully accept all assignments, and casually say itís okay if the call is just an inquiry about availability.   

To the freelancer, the shout, "WAKE UP ASSHOLES!!!" is a delight.  

Those are some of the reasons why staffers should care about their work, and take nice pictures every day. 
 

 

Amy Bowers 
amy@marash.tv

 
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