Image: Georgejmclittle / Shutterstock
Image: Georgejmclittle / Shutterstock

If you would like to have complete control over your career and explore your creativity, then the entertainment sector might be just the place for you if you work as a freelancer. A notoriously precarious sector, the entertainment industry nonetheless offers many rewarding experiences.

A freelancer’s heaven

It may surprise you to discover that many of the common roles within the entertainment sector are held by freelancers. These roles can cover photography, news, music, research, TV and film production, and even radio or programme hosting. Most jobs within the television arena are actually freelance, but this can cover a variety of stations.

It can mean working on a per-project basis as self-employed, or it can mean being a temporary employee of a company. Essentially, though, an accurate definition of being a freelancer is working temporarily on a short-term project.

Of course, freelancing often involves periods of unemployment as you wait for the next job to come along, so it is vital that freelancers manage their finances well. Not everyone is good at numbers, so it can be far more effective to outsource certain tasks, including contracts and tax returns, to a dedicated company such as Crystal Umbrella, who will handle this without having to bother you, leaving you free to get on with your career and not worry about whether your tax return was submitted on time.

The best way to ensure a long career in the entertainment sector as a freelancer is to build up a reputation. Always deliver your best during the project, but most importantly, continue to work at the relationships that you developed during the project. This means using social media to keep in touch with previous employers and fellow workers, following their projects and contributing to any discussions.

While being paid to do a job is essentially the basis of your freelancing career, employers are only interested in those people who continue to give, not just take. The entertainment sector is a surprisingly small world and as such, personal contacts will prove invaluable, as former colleagues will recommend you for other projects they are working on and vice versa.

The skills required will naturally depend upon which type of roles you want to undertake, but there are some basic skills that are necessary for all roles. Good writing and communication skills should be considered essential, as is the ability to organise, prioritise and meet deadlines.

If you do want to specialise in a particular field, you may need to embark on relevant courses and seek out any opportunity to gain hands-on experience. Other roles, such as that of producer, often do not require specialisms because their skills are focussed on project management, which are the same whichever production is being worked upon.

Those looking to freelance within the entertainment sector will be joining a large network of other freelancers, so you need to work hard at delivering the goods and maintaining personal relationships to ensure the next freelance job is not too long in coming.