Passion projects: When to outsource and how?
So you’re working on your passion projects (film / screenplay / documentary / score) and having a ball. But between this project and your day job (even if you’re a professional auteur), your family, and your friendships, things are not going as quickly as you’d like. In fact, you have an offer from a very reputable agent / distributor / manager / film festival desperate to see the finished product – but you only have their attention for a limited time.
You have a few options: you could become a monk and do nothing but the project until it’s finished; you could take a leave of absence from your day gig; or you could get smart and start outsourcing.
Huh? What’s outsourcing?
Outsourcing is finding someone else with the skills you need to help you with a job. Filmmaking is built on the concept of outsourcing, and some might say that Hollywood was the original 1099 economy. Many filmmakers who rely on the talent of a team of freelancers at their day jobs don’t realize you can use them for your passion projects too.
Sounds great. Where can I find talent?
The first and best place to look for talent is in your existing circle. Ask around your filmmaking community – is there anyone who fits the skillset you need?
If your community doesn’t offer any immediate solutions, there’s a wealth of other ways to find talent.
- Join local filmmaker meetups and attend conferences and seminars. By expanding your network, you expand your potential talent pool.
- Get in touch with the local university or college teaching film studies. Let them know you’re a filmmaker looking to work with emerging talent and give them your contact details. We have found truly amazing student talent this way.
- Get online. We could write a book about all the great job boards and communities that exist on the world wide web and include tips for exact websites further down this guide.
What type of work can you outsource?
You can outsource pretty much anything and everything. Below are some specific examples.
Research is a perfect task with which your freelance team can help, and you can find some amazing research assistants online. Hot tip: research is a complex and multifaceted skill, so we recommend working with virtual assistants fluent in your language.
Although you can find amazing foreign (and cheap) VA’s, sometimes subtleties get lost in translation, and it’s better to pay a little more per hour to make sure this important task is easily navigated by your team so you get good results. Upwork and Freelancer are good places to find research assistants.
Writers, set up your own writers room filled with freelance talent. The Black List has to be the world’s greatest resource for screenwriters. Start building your community.
Video editing & SFX
Editing is an artform in itself, and the talent you can find online these days is crazy. Video Pixie is a specialist online job board just for video professionals which we highly recommend.
You don’t have to do all the camera work yourself when you can find amazing talent to assist you. We’ve found great cinematographers on Production Hub and Film and TV Jobs, but we’ve had success working with people from Craigslist, Upwork and People Per Hour too.
Virtual assistants can be incredibly useful when planning a production. They can help you with just about every task imaginable, from booking flights to applying for permits and scheduling conference calls. We advise only employing assistants who are fluent in your language and can pass a fluency test so as to avoid any lost-in-translation moments. Upwork, People Per Hour and Remote are great online boards.
Marketing & Promotion
After the film has wrapped and the edit is signed off, you might need some help spreading the word. You can either hire an agency to assist you, or find a freelancer who can take your project to the next level. We love Upwork and Freelancer for finding marketing freelance talent.
Crowdfunding is hard. Anyone who has run a successful campaign will tell you that it’s a full-time job to do right. Various companies and individuals out there can help you with this job. Ignite Agency is a leader in this field, helping brands raise millions of dollars. When you have your agency in place, Seed & Spark is a great platform dedicated to film.
When you have your outsourced talent in place, make sure you read our sister guide, “How to manage your freelance team.”