$5,000,000 Worth of Free Advice

Since launching in 2007, video crowdsourcing company Poptent recently paid out their 5,000,000th dollar in awards.  I was one of the first freelancers to start working with them when they started, and I also happened to be the recipient of that five millionth dollar when Olivieri Pasta purchased an animation I did this spring.

Even though I’ve lost more than I’ve won over the last five years, I’ve learned something new with every Assignment I’ve entered.  And whether you’re a “real” working freelance videographer/producer, or even if you’re an amateur who likes messing around with a camera, there are many advantages to getting involved with the Poptent community. Why?  Well…

1)  They pay you. That is, the brands they work with pay you if you submit a piece that they like and want to use.  And they pay handsomely. Typically $7,500 for each video they select, but that figure may vary.

2)  The Poptent staff – everyone — is incredibly responsive, approachable, and active in their online community.  You need help? Ask in their discussion forums and “Townhall” space, and someone answers promptly and amicably. Whether it’s a technical question, a question about the creative brief you’re working on, or feedback on a submission, they’re all supportive and easy to work with.

3)  Participation is good, even if you never win.  With each submission you enter to a Poptent assignment, you have the chance to sharpen your skills as a videographer, build a demo reel, and see what other Creatives are doing in the space.  The more you participate, the more people you’ll meet, and the more you’ll be visible.

4)  You’ll exercise your creative muscle.  There can be periods of “down time” for freelancers, when the paid work is scarce, or maybe you’re between projects. It’s times like this that Poptent assignments can help you keep your creativity honed. I’ve always said that creativity is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. So it’s nice to be able to have a place where you can noodle with some ideas when you may not have other irons in the fire.

5)  It could lead to more paid work.  Your work, when posted on Poptent and other places online, is left behind like footprints for people to see and follow. If you’re showing (and sharing) that work in the right places, and if that work is compelling and interesting, people who want to work with you will seek you out.

6)  You get to be yourself.  Brands come to Poptent because they’re looking for a unique voice for their marketing – an approach they may not have thought of. As a freelancer working on spec, you can let that unique voice of yours be heard. Of course, there’s a Creative Brief for each assignment, with guidelines that the Brands will want you to follow. But when you’re not beholden to an ad agency or client who’s paying you (yet), your creative freedom is a little less restricted.

7)  It will make you a better creative.  There are some REALLY talented people who are members of Poptent’s community.  I’m continually blown away by the level of work that people turn in. And it always makes me want to step up my game on the next go-round.

Good luck!

At Slater’s Garage Ads & Audio, we help small businesses put a unique voice to their marketing through a combination of audio, video and social media. To find out how we can help you bring your marketing to life, contact us today.

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