“So what can I expect over the next month or so?” The New Assembly Line Photographer says as we work a shot in late November.
“You might work the first week of December.” I say and shrug. “Then you won’t go back to work until sometime in January, maybe sometime in February.”
“I can’t go two months with pay!” He says. “I’ll have to go back to cutting hair.”
I’ve send out a few emails and ran a few ads on Facebook, but I haven’t got any Shoot of my own yet. Like Shelton on Big Bang Theory I have no problem talking a mile a minute, except when it’s in front of other people. This is a bit odd, since being an Assembly Line Portrait Photographer cured me of most of my stage fright years ago. You can’t take portraits in front of a crowd of fifty people without growing a slightly thicker skin.
All of The Companies I have worked for over the years find this to be their thin part of the year. No one wants to do a Shoot around Christmas or New Years. Many parts of the country are cold and have nasty weather, not so good when about half of our usual Subjects are old folks who won’t leave the house unless the conditions are optimal. I was surprised last year, or was it the year before? to find myself working the full month of January. This was followed by sitting at home for the full month of February.
At first the free time is fun. I can catch up on TV shows I missed, read a few more books, Stumble a few more websites and add a few new Pins. But then I start to feel that I ought to be doing something. The house is mess and could use a good cleaning. I haven’t captured any good images in a while. I haven’t tried to get any clients of my own in a while. I sit and watch hours of photography workshops and think, yeah, I could do that-and then don’t do that. Then I tend to fall into my small depressions where I sit around and play Fate or Angry Birds for hours on end, thus assuring that nothing productive will happen.
I can get by on a fairly small amount of money, I’ve figured out that I could do one Shoot a month and make more than I make working for the Company. And yet. I can’t seem to get that one Shoot a month. My oldest brother started several businesses before he found a partner that was able to do most of the heavy lifting and get things going. The partner is long gone, but the business still remains. He is also a very small time player, but makes a good deal more than he would make working for someone else. In one my brother’s businesses he hire me to do Cold Calls for him. This was pretty dreadful work. You sat with a phone book, called everyone in the business section, and got hung up on close to 100% of the time. This may be why I am a bit reluctant to do cold calling myself.
Over the years I have developed a strong dislike for PreSellers/Marketing Reps as they seem to spend a lot of their time lying to people. The result being that when I arrive at a Shoot they expect something that I haven’t been told about and they end up unhappy. They also tend to have that stereotypical oily used car salesman look and feel. I’m not a big hand shaker myself, but most of these guys are. I can’t help but be remind of Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati. Of course, they aren’t all like that, some are worse.
When I first thought about doing my own Shoots I went out and talked to a few people, but I guess I talked to the wrong people. they had no interesting in working with me. I guess I made the classic mistake of thinking about myself and not about them. It would have been good for me to work with them, but they saw no benefit in working with me. I’ve read too many books on marketing and sales and put too little of it to work.
And so I find myself one more year older and not that much richer. No Shoots are in sight, either from The Company or from my own meager efforts. I may or may not have more Unemployment coming. Maybe I should just take my money and buy a storage unit.