Heather Elder Supports Freelancers

Photographer Rep Heather Elder talks about the recently launched http://freelanceartproducer.com, a much needed and welcome resource. Reposted from FoundFolios with permission.

A few months ago, an art producer friend called to ask if I knew of any freelancers looking for work. I did, so I shared their names with him. A few days later, someone else called and asked the same question, but for a different city. The following week, another person. In the span of a week, I was asked three times if I knew of any freelance art producers.

By the third call, I realized there was a real need for a central website for freelance art producers to showcase their work and share their contact information with other producers looking to hire them.

So, I created one. It is called FreelanceArtProducer.com.

Why did you start FreelanceArtProducer.com?

When we first started our blog, Notes from a Rep’s Journal the idea was simple; to start meaningful conversations with people in our community about important issues in our industry.

We wanted to create a space that our entire community could discuss what was on their mind but as well as share with each other all the things that make our jobs special. So many of us do not have a team of people to answer our questions so we need to rely on each other. The blog was designed to provide a place for all of us to share resources and information and start conversations on a bigger platform. Drafting off of this, along with Brite Productions, we co-founded The Community Table. These are round table events hosted around the country with industry leaders talking about the most relevant and current issues. The conversations are then posted on our blogs in their entirety, with the idea that there is nothing more powerful in our industry than education.

We care very deeply about community and for the past five years, our blog and the Community Table have allowed us to foster that in a unique and relevant way. So, FreelanceArtProducer was an obvious next step for us. What better way to connect a group of people in our industry than to help them make meaningful connections among themselves?

Why aren’t you charging for this site?

The site is not much more work than our current blog and to charge for it did not seem in keeping with the sense of community we want to foster. If someday it gets popular enough and the upkeep is such that we need to hire someone else to handle it, then we might consider charging but for now it is free to join and free to use.

What do you get out of it?

First and foremost, we are filling a need in our industry and we like that. It fits with who we are and have become over the past five years. It is about community and the very idea that we are more powerful together than we are alone.

Second, while we build this site, we will get to connect with the freelance community in a way that we have not been able to before the site. Because freelance art producers move around so much, they are hard to keep in touch with consistently. If we were more connected with them, we could include them on our blog, invite them to events such as Community Table and other gatherings, and hear what they have to say about issues. In our opinion, they are an underrepresented group in our community.

Why would I want to be on a site with other freelance producers?

Great question. We understand that the freelance community can be very private. You have your contacts and the regular people who call you. If you promote yourself on a site with other people won’t they be tempted to try someone new? We can see the point, but ask you to think about the power that could come with being part of a community of freelance art producers. Imagine the new opportunities that might come your way if a person who didn’t hear about you via word of mouth, found you on this site? And, imagine how great it would feel to cheer lead for your community some?

And, think about the future. You are a dynamic group of creative and resourceful art producers. We know what you pull off every day. We can only imagine what wrangling you all together will lead to eventually. We suspect even bigger, better and more important things that we haven’t even discovered yet.

How will you promote the site?

We are committed to promoting this site. To do so, we will create a blog post for each member that celebrates something special about them. It may be an interview for the Insider Art Producer series, or it could be something specifically geared toward that art producer. A contributing author to our blog, has already agreed to help create interesting content with the participants.

We believe that so much of what makes being a success in our business is the power of word of mouth. So, we are asking that everyone consider being generous with their social media channels to help promote the site and the blog posts about the art producers. We know it seems odd to think about promoting an art producer other than yourself, but we believe in the power of community and supporting each other and know that it works. This is of course not a requirement, just a hope of ours.

As well, we have partnered with our friends at FoundFolios and they have offered to share the profiles of a few of the freelancers in their bimonthly newsletter, which is sent out to 80k creatives internationally.

How do I sign up?

That’s easy. We can get your profile done right away while you work on gathering any other items you may want to include. Check out this link: Want to be on the site? If you made it this far, thank you! And, if you like the idea, please spread the word by sharing it on social media.

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