How to Battle Burnout in the Film and Video Industry
Don’t let burnout destroy your creative drive. Follow these helpful tips to stay fresh, engaged, and productive.
Starting off in film and video can be an exciting time. The prospects of picking up a camera and shooting a video is exhilarating, to say the least. There are so many fun, creative decisions to make. So many shots and edits to consider. And always plenty of problems and issues to solve along the way.
But, for those who have worked in film and video for an extended amount of time, eventually you’ll hit some roadblocks. Work will occasionally dry up, clients will have unreasonable deadlines and demands, and you’ll face problems that don’t always have a simple solution.
I’ve seen more than a few fellow filmmakers and video professionals drop out of the industry altogether. However, while you’ll never completely avoid feeling tired or dragged down from time to time, there are options and resources out there to help you battle burnout.
Let’s explore some of the best ways for film and video professionals to avoid burnout with these simple, proactive tips.
Always Be Working on a Passion Project
I don’t think I’ve met a single person working in film and video who’s simply doing it for the money. The majority of us work in the industry because we have at least some desire to make movies, short films, or other artistic, creative-minded projects. There’s no shame in working on corporate, commercial, or wedding videos, etc., but if that’s all you do, you might start to get burned out before too long.
That’s why it’s important to always be working on a passion project. You don’t have to schedule shoots every weekend for your feature film, but try to stay in touch with what got you into film and video in the first place. Always be on the lookout for interesting stories to tell. If you can set out a few hours (or even just minutes) every week to tinker with a script, concept a music video, or work on a demo project, it’ll help keep you engaged, charged, and passionate.
Vary Types of Projects
Along the same lines, if you do work in corporate, commercial, wedding, or any other type of film or video where the work does become repetitive, try to find ways to vary the types of projects you work on. Logically, focusing on one type of work can be helpful for building clientele and increasing your rates and income. But, don’t let it completely burn you out!
A good rule of thumb would ideally be a “one for them, one for myself” type of approach. Passion projects are always a good idea to mix in, but even just mixing up the types of film and video projects you work on can keep you mentally stimulated.
For example, if you’re shooting weddings every weekend, try taking on a corporate shoot every other week. If you shoot mostly corporate talking head videos, try out some weddings or commercials. Working with different clients, projects, and even trying out different cameras and workflows can help you grow, as well as stay engaged.
Get Connected with a Community
Outside of the type of projects that you work on, another helpful way to battle burnout is by simply connecting with a solid film or video community. In most cities of at least a decent size, there should be some sort of industry, which means there should be plenty of other film and video professionals in the same boat as you.
And, not only are these helpful people to meet and chat with, as they most probably work on similar projects and encounter many of the same issues as you, but they can also help you build out your own network for finding more work and other projects to collaborate on.
If you happen to live or work in an area that might not have many other industry professionals, there are also plenty of online communities you can check out. Along with some general groups on social platforms like Facebook and Linkedin, you can check out some of these online communities below:
Experiment with New Technologies
In addition to staying engaged and working on different types of projects, experimenting with new and different technologies can be quite invigorating, as well. If there’s one consistent theme in the film and video industry, it’s that there’s always going to be new cameras, drones, rigs, or gear to check out.
Have you tried out the new Canon R3 yet? What about the upcoming Panasonic GH6? There’s a new DJI Air 2S drone that looks pretty darn cool and shoots 5.4K video. Regardless of your specific video-niche or gear preferences, there are always plenty of new tech innovations and gear updates to check out and explore. Nothing can turn another boring shoot into an exciting opportunity quite like testing out a fun, new camera for the first time.
Keep up with Online Resources
Finally, along with some of the online communities mentioned above, there are a ton of online networks and resources out there that you should absolutely stay engaged with. We’re truly in a digital age now and your digital brand is of the utmost importance.
I highly recommend taking the time to explore as many online film and video resources as possible, as well as spend the time to make sure your own pages are built-out and remain active. Here are some film and video websites to check out, bookmark, and stay engaged with to keep you fresh:
- The PremiumBeat Blog
- No Film School
- Vimeo Video School
- Film Independent
- Shutterstock Video Production Blog
For more filmmaking inspiration, advice, and resources, check out these articles:
- How to Effectively Reduce Noise in DaVinci Resolve
- How Bo Burnham Shot His Netflix Special “Inside” with a Lumix S1H
- A24 vs. Marvel: The Battle for the Future of Cinema
- 14 Video Editing Tips for Cutting a Documentary
- The 3-Tier Hierarchy for Ranking Audio Recording Gear
Cover image by True Touch Lifestyle.