Let's face it, being a creative and a professional is a tough rope to walk. I can only speak for myself of course, but I think this is true for the majority of videographers I have met. The last ten years not only has there been an explosion of people entering the field, but the demand for video production and accessibility to technology and resources has increased as well. This is an amazing time to be a videographer, but it can also be very overwhelming.
When I first began creating videos and learning, I had this view that a videographer was a lone ranger and had to be an expert at everything. This is only a half truth. In the year I have spent within the BC Professional Videographers Association (BCPVA), I learned that the best videographers are part of a community.
It was through the BCPVA that I had overcome my initial fears and insecurities. Here are three, four, make that five reasons I am a member of the BCPVA.
1. Professional Growth and Support
"Personal improvement and professional development doesn’t come from classes, books, blogs, TED videos, or feel-good inspirational stories, quotes, parables and platitude. It comes from experience"
- Steve Tobak
When I began creating and exploring my passion for video and story in the northern interior of BC, there were very few videographers, and those who I did meet, were not interested in collaborating professionally. The only resources I had then, were online, and as amazing as it is to learn from gurus like Phillip Bloom, Andrew Kramer, and Caleb Pike, it is not the same as learning from a real professional in your area.
My first year at the BCPVA, I learned some of the most important lessons I could ever learn, and could not have learned in school either. The monthly meetings are not only an amazing time to learn and ask questions, but I was able to reach out to professionals doing things I haven't done yet, and learn from them. I tagged along on paid and unpaid projects just to learn. I am still doing this, and will continue to throughout my professional career.
It was on those projects that other professional members where able to speak to my insecurities, and point out opportunities to grow and improve. When our primary mode of learning is in a classroom, or online, we might get bogged down by things that are not important on a whole, and it takes experience and those in the field to point out what those things are for us.
2. No Project Is Too Big
"I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things"
- Supposedly Mother Teresa? It makes sense.
I got this call from a company in Toronto that needed help filming an interview in Langley. The filming and the footage had to be delivered the next week. This is really short notice, but I understand how a project can go side ways sometimes and did my best to help them.
I knew I couldn't manage the whole shoot on my own, especially with so much to do in such a short time, so I made a call to another BCPVA member. Not only were we able to work together, I took away some important lessons and was able to give my client a discount.
Yes, there is a discount between members, which makes hiring a crew for a project much more affordable for clients, but the plain fact that I can take on larger projects and have a reliable team that knows what it is like and is eager to help, is nothing short of awesome.
3. The Network, Accountability, and Visibility
I might have mentioned this above, but I really like meeting with like minded professionals who have similar goals and problems. What comes with that network is not only an opportunity to learn and take on larger projects, but through them you can connect with professionals in other fields, services that will come in handy in a pinch, and, well, more work.
Having previously studied and worked in the field of Social Work, I appreciate the importance of ethics. You can check out the BCPVA ethics.
Like ethics, it is really important for me to say to a client that I am in good standing with a professional organization. Although video is the most rewarding marketing content, it is still an investment, and it is nice, especially if you are small business or a freelancer, to provide your client with that extra assurance.
You may say that your great, and you may be very rewarding to work with in the end, but before there is an investment in money from a client, there is an investment in time to find you and get to know you.
There are other factors that set you apart as a professional, such as insurance, licensing, and GST, which are all requirements for professional recognition in the BCPVA.
For a small business, which is the category of a majority of videographers and freelancers, it is incredibly helpful to be part of a platform that helps other businesses find professional videographers.
Being a videographer and a storyteller, I need to wear many hats and have a large skill set, but that does not mean I am alone. I have a skilled team if I need it. I have mentors if I just ask. And, I can give back if I can.