I think I've identified 'my passion'. Now help me get out of my own momentum-killing way!
September 28, 2011 8:10 PM   Subscribe

So, after almost a year of hunting for a full-time job, I've decided to put that aside and try to have a go at digital storytelling as a freelancer. I have a few places I'm getting myself stuck, and I would love some assistance/context in finding 'my people'

In my previous incarnation, I developed audio and video content for Sony Music, including podcasts around such album's as "Thriller", "The Stranger", "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" and Jeff Buckley's "Grace". It was around this time that I found a passion for discovering the stories behind things through interviews and such with people who were involved in their creation as well as those who were influenced by them. You can have a listen (yes, this is a self-link) at my portfolio

Much of the stuff I produced (and by 'produced' i mean more conceptualizing, casting, coordinating and going back and forth with a partner who did most of the interviews and all of the editing) was very well regarded, garnering millions of downloads and several awards. This was 2006-2009.

Now, I find myself without a partner (he's busy trying to support his family) and feeling like I don't really have a tribe or professional support network. The fact that these were in the podcasts format is kind of incidental to my actual interest in "the story behind the thing", so I don't really fit in with the podcast geeks. Trans-media folks seem to be more about developing a story across multiple platforms (which is cool but not really my thing right now), and 'digital content developers'? forget it! I think I'd probably fit in more with documentary creators, but i'm not sure if theres an online or offline forum for folks like that to talk shop in a way thats not about lenses and tripods.

I guess my question is severalfold:

- It's been hard for me to 'just get started,' partially because I feel an internal expectation to do work of similar quality to the stuff I worked on while at Sony, and partially because on some level I kind of feel like I'm only 50% of a one-man-show in terms of technical skills and interviewing experience (i've since taught myself some audio editiong and basic final cut pro, but I certainly can't turn stuff around as quickly or as high-quality as my old partner could). I would appreciate any advice on 'unfreezing' when this stuff shows up.

- I don't really know where I can go to talk with 'people like me' about their process, how they get unstuck, some of their tools, and just generally to share knowledge and experience. Are there folks on the green who are interested in these kinds of things who might be interested in having coffee (if you're in the NYC area) or skyping?

- What do you do to get out of your own way in pursuit of what may or may not be your calling, especially when you're first starting out on your own, with your own name 'on the line' when creating new stuff?

Just to pre-empt, I'm in therapy, and have been talking about this.
posted by softlord to Work & Money (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
What's your professional network like? I'm the lead localizer for a small boutique studio, and while things are pretty slow in Vancouver at the moment, I am sure that the CEO would be happy to give you advice.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:46 PM on September 28, 2011

It sounds like you'd fit in really well with public radio people, even if that's not quite the sort of content you'd want to produce. You'll find lots of good resources and discussions at transom.org.
posted by embrangled at 8:48 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

Professional network is good in terms of potential clients, i think. But limited in terms of 'other people who do this kind of thing' or 'people who get why this kind of thing is important'
posted by softlord at 8:49 PM on September 28, 2011

Maybe hang with the Moth crowd?
posted by sammyo at 9:07 PM on September 28, 2011

I haven't been to a meeting, but I've heard great things about the the Tech Meetup in NYC. People present their projects; for example, at one meeting they talked about The Atavist, which is a short story/non fiction embedded with pictures, sound clips, etc.

Perhaps you could even present what you have done there and meet others to team up with or give information if they want to create something using similar tools.
posted by Wolfster at 9:15 PM on September 28, 2011

I am beginning to prepare for work as a freelance consultant in a somewhat esoteric field.

Have you tried LinkedIn to do a little networking in your field? I have been able to find a much larger group of professional in my field than I ever expected this way.

I too have had some problems getting going with my work do to doubts. Setting up a network and getting in touch with potential colleagues has been really helpful in confidence and motivation. Most people have been very helpful.
posted by Che boludo! at 8:55 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'm not sure how to answer many of your questions, but when I read about the work you did it sounded an awful lot like some of the work some clients of mine do in creating content for museum exhibitions - both hands-on kinds of things and more traditional audio tours. More and more of what they do it being built for mobile devices (listen to/interact with the exhibit on your iPhone or an iPod Touch they hand out, etc.). I know that this is something they'll attend: http://www.museums-mobile.org/ so maybe digging there might help make more connections for you.
posted by marylynn at 3:33 PM on September 29, 2011

Just to follow up on this, I've managed to get out of my own way enough to launch Deeper Context, and am beginning to pull in clients!

posted by softlord at 1:49 PM on March 15, 2012

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