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Going Full-Time vs. Working Freelance: Which Is Best for You?

Tanner Shinnick

Full-time film production opportunities are more common today than ever before. So does that mean you should stop considering freelance work?

Just a few short years ago, finding a full-time, in-house production job wasn’t nearly as feasible as it is today. With a surge in video content creation, you can now find more full-time production opportunities than ever before. Choosing whether to go in-house and full-time or to navigate the unpredictability of the freelance world can be difficult. So, fully evaluating the different advantages and disadvantages of each is important. As someone who has personally worked a full-time, in-house position and freelanced, each opportunity offers a unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Full-Time

Being a filmmaker with a full-time position can have some great perks. For example, the consistent paycheck is enticing. Eliminating the unpredictability of not always knowing when your next payday is coming can provide a sense of relief and security. While in-house and full-time, you have the comfort of always knowing where your next job is coming from, too.

You enjoy the luxury of health insurance, 401K packages, vacation time, and any of the other benefits your employer may provide.

When it comes to equipment, you don’t have to personally worry about investing your own money into the best and newest equipment available. Your employer will assume all the financial responsibility of maintaining the best equipment for the job.

Disadvantages of Full-Time

Going Full-Time vs. Working Freelance: Which Is Best for You? — Full-time Disadvantages

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One of the more difficult things that I always found about the in-house, full-time life was that you’re not in control of your schedule or the clients you maintain. When you’re freelancing, you’re in control of which clients you decide to take on. When full-time, you don’t have this ability. The company you’re a part of directs the type of projects and clientele you take on. That’s why it’s immensely important that you find a company who has clients that directly align with the type of work that you want to do. If not, you’ll most likely find less joy in your work. 

Looking for more info on working full-time at a video production company? Check out some of these resources for finding the right spot for you.

Advantages of Freelance

When freelancing, you have complete control of your schedule and the clients that you maintain. If you find yourself without the type of clients or work that you’d like, it’s entirely up to you to change. You’re accountable to yourself. And that accountability can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on what you make of it.

Depending on your position, as a freelancer, you may have a much higher chance of working on bigger productions, as they most often pull from pools of freelancers. However, there are many full-time positions for large brands creating phenomenal and consistent work. 

Disadvantages of Freelance

Going Full-Time vs. Working Freelance: Which Is Best for You? — Disadvantages of Freelance

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Taxes. Insurance. Maintaining clients. Owning gear. Scheduling. When you’re freelancing, there’s a whole slew of different things to manage to keep your business afloat. Often, you’re also investing in your own equipment and fronting the capital to do so. You manage your own books, write far more emails, and maintain strange and very inconsistent hours. Some filmmakers thrive with this degree of unpredictability and lack of structure, but others can really struggle with it.

Deciding whether to go freelance or take an in-house position can be difficult. There’s no simple way to make this decision; however, by adequately weighing all of your options, you can make a decision that will provide you with adequate career opportunities and help you grow as a filmmaker — and, most importantly, make work that you’re proud of.

Still thinking of pursuing a freelance video career? Here are some more articles and resources to check out to help you along your way.

Cover image via guruXOX.

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