There's no such thing as twiddling thumbs in this industry.
Posted on Monday, July 1, 2019
Downtime-simultaneously the most elusive yet most aggravating part of any job. We always crave downtime, whether we’re busting our butts on set day after day and just need time to catch up, or whether we’re working a full-time gig with deadlines on deadlines. At the same time, when we come to a stand still, we get bored and feel like there’s nothing left at times. There may come a rare time in this industry when you have downtime, and ultimately, how you choose to spend this downtime can make or break you.
I came across this thread on Reddit where a full-time editor expressed concerns over downtime. He said he was working for a start-up media agency in NYC that was recently acquired, and since the acquisition, work had been slow. The premise of the subthread was asking for tips on how to deal with downtime, and whether he should ditch the gig and seek something more promising. Thankfully, the production community on Reddit came to the rescue with some valuable insights.
1) Don't run at the first sign of slowing.
While it may be tempting to panic when work gets slow, this may not always be a negative sign. If anything, this time can still be used productively.
2) Have a side set of skills you’d like to learn.
Whether it’s learning programs you’re not familiar with, such as After Effects, Cinema 4D, or any number of programs, never have the outlook that everything is already done and there is no room for growth. There is always room for growth, especially in this industry, and what better way to make yourself even more of an asset than honing skills outside of those expected of you? You will become a force to be reckoned with.
3) Talk to people from other departments.
One of the Redditors shared that he got with the Graphic Designer when work slowed and picked up some skills in motion graphics. It may not have been in his job description, but nowadays, a job description is just what it sounds like. Just a description. The more valuable tools you learn and the broader the scope of your knowledge, the more tasks you’ll be able to juggle and the more involved you’ll be.
4) Prioritize your passion projects.
Many freelancers share that they use this downtime to really buckle down on their freelance work. After all, freelancing and working full-time is a balancing act. There is often give and take between the two areas, and if your full-time job is allowing some flexibility and some more free time, why not use this time productively?
5) Be a leader. Don’t outright say you have nothing to do.
The last thing you want to do is admit you “need something to do.” This spells disaster and shows a lack of initiative. There is always room for improvement on projects, or the ability to learn new tasks, take on new responsibilities or even help someone else out with their projects. No one in this industry is going to hold your hand, so it is ultimately up to you to make the most of your downtime.
The cliche that “time is what you make of it” could not be more true for the film and TV production industry. Life is a series of deadlines and organizing your time. How do you choose to use your downtime? At the end of the day, what matters is that you do allow downtime, and what you choose to do is entirely up to you.
If you’ve got some downtime and are seeking other opportunities in the New York film and production industry, we’ve got you covered.
Recent Blog Posts
Fighting Post-Production Burnout
Posted on 7/10/2020
COVID-19 Resources for the Film and Production Industry
Posted on 5/19/2020
Weighing the LA and NY Film Industries
Posted on 3/4/2020
Navigating Union vs. Non-Union Projects
Posted on 1/20/2020
2019 Camera Comparison Chart
Posted on 11/26/2019