In Detail with Freelance Art Producer Chelsea Levy

Being a freelancer in the ad industry is not always easy.  Jobs can be scarce and moving from place to place isn’t always ideal.  However, there are so many benefits and reasons why people choose to be a freelancer.  Chelsea Levy is a freelance art producer and agreed to answer some questions for us about the life of a freelance art producer.   Chelsea has a background in managing fine art photography, and used that knowledge to foster the creative development of a variety of advertising campaigns. For more info on Chelsea including contact info and experience check out her profile over on FreelanceArtProducer.com.

What do you see as the highlighted benefits of the Freelance Art Producer life?
The opportunity to garner experience is number one on my list. There are opportunities to work with an array of agencies. The breadth of types of brand experience as a freelancer is the gift that keeps on giving. With experience comes desirability and value.  Of course, flexibility is a plus to the role. Everyone comes to the freelance life with a different agenda. Some freelancers “permalance.” while others have a series of stints of work.

What advice can you give photographers regarding the Freelance Art Producer?
The Freelance Art Producer is one of the doorways to gleaning new clients. Suppose for example, a photographer has worked on several shoots for a particular account. The freelancer, photographer, and previous agency experienced everything positively, then the photographer is essentially vetted for through that portal of those folks. Because of that vetted relationship nod, the photographer can continue on to the next agency and brand as a recommend, for a shoot or merely to introduce for future opportunities. I advise all photographers to ask the freelancer how to best stay in touch. Since freelancers move a lot the work email is likely going to change. Perhaps LinkedIn or a personal email is the  best way to stay in touch over time. Find out and stay in touch.

How often are Advertising Agencies hiring Freelance Art Producers?
The hiring of the freelance art producer is omnipresent and ranges in timings through the year. Many agencies hire freelancers during busy seasons for a helping hand. Other departments may bring aid on when Full Time Producers are on vacation, maternity leave, sick leave or in transition to hire full time. Sometimes multiple productions are taking place and a freelancer is needed to either take on a shoot or help manage the home front while the full time producer is on location attending a production. Freelance Producers can help make the full time producers and agency crew lives better when needed. Smaller boutique agencies may not have a production team and only hire producers when its time to produce. Many smaller agencies need part time long term aid in a department that doesn’t exist yet until company grows. In some dynamics freelancers have been hired full time. Most freelancers have chosen the freelancer life and I see this dynamic less often. 

Any recommendation for the freelance producer or anyone interested in becoming freelance?
I conceptualize being a freelancer as running my own small business. Running a small business comes with risk and the need for extreme self motivation. The immediate future can often be unknown which for many can be unwanted additional stress in ones life. The role can be very gratifying, however it is not for everyone. It is essential to thrive to self market your availability. Introduce and stay in touch with potential clients and opportunities. In spite of doing all you possibly can, there is much out of your control. You may have a busy 6 months and a slow sporadic 3-4 months. Or you may be booked for a year straight and then get quiet. Can you simplify, save and roll with the punches for your personal choice? Does the consistency of a full time job seem more predictable and desired? There are opportunities for everyone per your needs and choices. Ultimately everyone’s ideal looks different, this is what makes the world go round. 

What are you working on currently?
Recently I  have taken on a high-end Children’s Clothing Brand Photography production. The company is a small growing line of folks and this is a passion project for them as a second job. I am thrilled to help make the dream become a reality. 

For more on Chelsea check out her other feature here on Notes from a Reps Journal.

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