January is often a lean time for film freelancers. The powers that be have not recovered from Christmas sufficiently to commission any new work, the budget for the financial year is almost spent, and the weather and short hours of daylight make shooting difficult and unpleasant.
So when you’ve had enough of eating the Christmas leftovers, and watching TV box-sets, how can you gainfully fill your time? Here are some suggestions.
- Do your taxes. Really, you can’t put them off any longer.
- Update your showreel. Chase up producers for clips and get editing, so you can show your latest and greatest to the world and line up some sweet work for 2015. Don’t forget to add your latest credits to your CV as well, and update your website.
- Go through the job sites – Shooting People, Mandy, Talent Circle etc. – and write some applications. Even if there’s nothing quite up your street, why not stretch yourself and apply for something a little different? If nothing else, it’s good practice.
- Attend events, workshops and talks to broaden your knowledge and network. Did you know, for example, that there’s a free cinematography masterclass on in Birmingham on the 31st?
- Learn more about your craft by reading books on the subject. (I recently posted a list of my favourite “making of” movie books.)
- Go to galleries and see relevant work – a cinematographer might want to look at the use of light in classic paintings; a costume designer might want to check out an exhibition of period fashions, and so on.
- Go to the cinema! There are several great films out at the moment, including The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything and Birdman.
- Perform essential maintenance on your equipment. Fix those niggly things that you’ve put up with for the last few months while you’ve been busy, top up your consumables, and order those cheap accessories from Hong Kong now while you can afford to wait weeks for them to arrive.
- Do a personal project: make a micro-short, write a script, take some photos. It’ll help keep your skills sharp and could help you get work.
- Do something entirely unrelated to filmmaking. Such things exist. Apparently.