I have written out this paragraph four times. That's the difference between my usual creative fluidity and my present state of ambivalence in the form of a motherflippin' creative roadblock. I've been fighting with anxiety and my mental health recently and a lot of it due to the changing shape of the field i work in. I'm sorry, clients, but this is my formal retirement from free shots and no fee shoots.
PROBLEM // ROADBLOCK
I don't mean taking too many photos. I mean taking on too many shoots. I've been shooting a lot in 2017 but the projects haven't always kept me inspired. Unfortunately, only a handful of the projects (and fallen through projects) have really felt like stepping up to the next level.. something that has felt like it was something to pull off rather than a sure thing.
I MISS taking risks, stepping up and put my neck out there. OPINION CAVEAT I - Shooting safe with your creative is the slow death of your creative. I'm addressing this right now as much as i can as i have hit my ambivalence stage. I've shot too much and the same thing too much.
I LOVE YOU FELLOW FILM SHOOTERS **BUT** OPINION CAVEAT II - Shooting on film is not THE creative process. It's what's in front of the lens and how you choose in the moment to or plan to express it. For the pros - C'mon guys.. although sometimes we can, we shouldn't get through a meeting by saying.. "we'll shoot it on film" ..dust our hands off..drop the mic and bail. That isn't the mood board done and the creative signed off. Film is a just a medium with which you lay creative and obviously not the only medium available.
BUDGETS ARE A ROADBLOCK PROBLEM
When i get complacent like right now, (and after i've written a blog about it), i often fall on the same issue. I'm not taking enough of a fee photoshoot by shoot to get wholly invested in each and, as a result, i'm overshooting (to gather lots of the little fees to make a bigger pot) on jobs i'm not wholly invested in. Lots of little fee jobs just destroys you and runs you down. Take one bigger job and pick and choose the good ideas baby shoots as and when. SO here comes the time to say no. The most powerful letters out there.
Here is the standard problem for upcoming and established music/portrait photographers-
OPINION CAVEAT III - You can't give the Ritz to someone paying for a Travelodge as, after a while, a) they expect the Ritz for no money and b) when they actually have the right budget, they want to feel a real 'step up' and mentally for them that's normally a step up from you. Nope no.. off you fuck. I've seen it happen to many times to friends and have experienced it enough myself.
So no, under-evaluated budget shoots, you won't get endless pre-production for your £250-500. No freebies or ritz treatments anymore until the budgets are correct. Let this be a lesson to the newbies. Don't fuck your future selves over.
Now, my refreshed plan is the same as my music videos. IDEAS FIRST. Whilst in pitch and pre-production process, i'm vowing to ignore the budget as an aspect all together and work on the ideas first until it hits point of production when we cost up. I LOVE A MEETING. That means we're ideating and coming up with something elevated, pre-meditated and i get to use my brain.
If we can't make it happen this time budget wise, we hopefully can one day as their project grows and it'll be amazing for it. I'm not burning out over the walk around shoots any more. OPINION CAVEAT IV Budgets install realism and realism encourages safety and lack of dreaming. SO when you next plan a shoot, ignore the fucking budget as it will eventually fully fuck your creativity. Do what you want, they got you on board as they want you for you and your style. OK I FEEL BETTER ALREADY.
The best thing in the world is when a band and a management are so excited by an idea and route that the budget is a secondary aspect. So here's to sticking to my guns and you sticking to yours in 2017 from here on in. I really hope this has helped some of you hitting similar road blocks.