Life as a regional freelancer is no picnic, with many employers making it hard to get your face known. Maxim Jago knocks on a few doors.
Without recognition, serious broadcast credits and a wad of previous independent productions under your belt, life as a freelancer can be tough - particularly if you're based in one of the regions. The BBC have made good efforts to support the influx of new talent with work experience placements and a detailed recruitment website. But when you contact them, they say the same as everyone else - to get experience, you need to have experience.Have you ever tried to contact these large organisations cold? It's hard.BBC recruitment won't accept unsolicited CVs, so all it can suggest is that you look at the website. It's an excellent site but there are few jobs listed. At the time of writing, the only opening in Manchester, for example, is for a violinist. There are no vacancies advertised at all on the Granada website. Instead, they recommend contacting Skillset. Granada and the BBC have a shared resource in the excellent 3sixtymedia. But, when I contacted them as a new freelancer in the area, I was politely advised to sling my hook.Even smaller production companies are overloaded with applicants. In spite of all the apparent encouragement and enthusiasm, it remains difficult to get a foot in the door with either the major broadcasters or any of the established production companies. These organisations could embrace the situation and do something special with their enviable positions.Limp invitations to send in a CV don't really do the trick. A little honesty might be better.Unless the broadcasters do something to open the door to raw talent, they will forever be missing opportunities. Rather than encouraging innovative ideas, they'll be killing them off. A great deal is made of encouraging newer media professionals. But that invitation isn't yet borne out by actual work or meaningful involvement.The solution for freelancers appears to be, as it always was, networking.To put it less impersonally, "meeting people" is the best way to get known.And being known appears to be the best way to get through that brick wall.With its lack of boundaries and relative anonymity, the internet is fast becoming one of the best sources of new work for freelancers. With organisations like Shooting People, Mandy.com, Tvfreelancers.org, TriggerStreet and more, a sense of community is developing among independents, leaving the broadcasters looking on.