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Working as a freelancer #nofreework

I recently followed The Freelancer Club on Twitter and shortly afterwards they wrote to me to tell me about their campaign #nofreework. As some of you may know I work as a Supporting Artist (or extra as it's also known) in TV, film and music videos. This is freelance work that I get as and when a casting director decides they want me for a particular role, even if this is just 'background'. Therefore this campaign is very appropriate to me, especially so far this year, which I'll explain more below.

Ed Sheeran - Give me love (role - forensics officer)

When I first started out I did do two roles that were unpaid to gain some experience, but this is something that I'll no longer do for four reasons. The first is that I have quite a lot of experience now, including several featured roles (where I know I will be on camera playing a particular role rather than just being part of the background), so I don't need to gain more experience. The second being that in my current financial position I can't afford to work for free. The third is that I'm doing a job that I'm apparently at least reasonably good at, so I should be paid for doing it. Finally, if freelancers work for free this then encourages people to offer further work for no pay in the future.

As you can probably imagine a lot of this sort of work is based in London and I'm based outside of London, either in Derby at my house or in Cheltenham at my boyfriends house. I'm willing to drive to London for shoots and have done this many times, but whichever house I'm staying in at the time the journey to London and back is a four hour round trip and with petrol, parking charges and tube fares this costs a reasonable amount of money. In the past the minimum pay I would accept for travelling to London was £50 as this covered travel and left me with a small amount of profit. More recently I've upped this amount, as I really could do with actually making some money as well as covering costs, but travelling to London for no pay? Not a chance! So far this year there have been several shoots I haven't even bothered to apply for in London because they are low or no pay.

Call the Midwife series 3 (role - laundry worker)

Although a lot of work is in London, increasingly there is more and more of this type of work popping up around the country. Last year I actually spent more time working out of London than in and worked on shoots in Manchester, York, Bristol, Oxford and Port Talbot in Wales. Even if a shoot is based much closer to me than London it's likely I'm still going to have to travel some distance and that is going to cost money in petrol, possibly parking charges and then there's wear and tear to my car. So if I'm working on a shoot, unless it's based within walking distance, it's going to cost me money. Some shoots are not paid but they do offer travelling expenses. Okay so you've made sure I'm not losing money by working for you, but I'm still working for free.

Casualty (role - shopper)

Deciding to work freelance is risky as you don't have the security of monthly wages and have to rely on being able to find paid work and being paid on time for any work that you've done. A lot of freelancers end up having to give up and start working for somebody else to guarantee a regular income and a big factor in this is people being expected to work for free with the only benefit apparently being exposure/experience. Although I don't rely on my blog in any way for income this is also something that affects bloggers whose blog is part of how they earn money to live. I'm sure you've seen the discussions on Twitter regarding whether just receiving the product for free is enough compensation for the time it takes to produce a post and whether bloggers should also be paid for their time on top of this. 

The Freelancer Club have decided something needs to be done and have launched their #nofreework campaign. They've set up a petition over on which is currently approaching 700 supporters, but obviously they want as many people as possible to support this to try and stop free work. If you would like to support the #nofreework campaign and sign the petition you can find it here. Please note this isn't a sponsored post, I've chosen to write about this because it's something that is relevant to me and I believe may be relevant to some of my followers.

What are your thoughts on working for free in any job?

P.S. Can you see why it's a running joke that the most famous part of me is my back!

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  1. This was very interesting to read! :) And... did you meet Ed Sheeran?!?!?!? What other celebrities have you got to work with? :) x

    The Naily Mail

    1. No Ed Sheeran only had a very small part in that video and I didn't see him. I've stood a couple of meters away from Eddie Redmayne filming The Theory of everything, filming Trollied I nearly walked into Stephen Tompkinson and filming something I can't reveal yet I brushed arms with Bradley Cooper! x

  2. As a model I have worked "for free" where I've received images rather than payment. But yes, like you this was when I was trying to get experience, and build up contacts. Now I have a firm rule about payment, especially if the shoot is for someone's commercial gain. There are a few Facebook groups that might be interested in supporting this petition by the way - I don't know if you're a member of them.

    1. I think when you're first starting out working as a model or even an SA like me I don't think time for print is too bad as you are getting images to use for your portfolio, which is like a form of payment. As long as it's all above board though and not dodgy in anyway! I'm a member of a couple of Facebook groups so I might pop this up on those x

  3. How awesome!! I loved reading about your work.

    This is also pretty close to my heart - I've been studying for four years now - and interning the whole way through. Sometimes paid, sometimes not. But now I refuse to work for less than my worth. Some people honestly just want to take the piss!

    Georgina - smashbox palette giveaway!

    1. It's not always the case but sometimes with music videos it's a case of 'the bigger the artist the less the pay' or sometimes there's even no pay. They do it because they know there's people out there who will do it for free to get to work on a video for an artist they love x

  4. This is such an interesting read, thank you for sharing. I'm sure some of my freelance working friends would love to sign the petition. I will forward this post to them. xx


    1. Thanks Julie, it would be great if you could forward it on to anybody you know who works freelance x


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, I really appreciate it x