What if you woke up one day and everything about what you do for a living was different? From tangibles to tools, from processes to people; all have been renamed. The services you use for your work life now mean and do something else. All technical formats you are familiar with have changed. Your crew, titles, and tasks have new names – and definitions.
As a twenty-plus-year working professional within the production of commercial images (new definition) – and more often struggling to find the best match of project, fair wage, and career equity – the answer to What the hell has happened? can be found within the comparison of meanings.
In my opinion, the dictionary has been rewritten.
Most businesses (of any kind) experience change in their lifetimes and as the saying goes, ‘adapt or die.’ But since our industry’s paradigm has been so altered – many of the titles, processes, paperwork, and technology (dressed as latest-greatest meets previously-used hybrids) have become unrecognizable.
Theories aplenty are spewed daily about how the creative industry can be better and how we can ALL thrive – not just survive. Aside from the obvious upside down math of too many cameras for not enough clients, old-school colleagues will still retort the basics of business:
- “If your product is good, people will find you – and pay.”
- “If your process is consistently smooth, clients will return.”
- “Bring and build value.”
- “Provide a return on investment.”
I agree with these practices in an industry where the buyer knows the definition of these things. But in a business cycle of good-enough, project award decision-making reflecting nepotism, and race to the lowest price (even FREE!) – words such as skills, experience, craft (?), mindset, and client services are rarely part of conversations.
It wasn’t always like this.
I try to remain idealistic about the latter elements still hanging on and in some circles, still being required. Yet I continue to experience their decline and disinterest on new projects. Embarrassingly, I find myself pining for the basics of a worker; loyalty, dress code, safety, communication, and being on time.
Yes, this post is a subjective to marketplace. Some of you may be so busy with work, you couldn’t give a flying about any of this. If you are crazy busy, you’re not even reading this… Perhaps some of the big picture answers are located near the fact that standard operating procedures in our industry were never ever defined and effectively enforced.
Photos & words are COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay USE requires permission.