S.Yarhi Lucian Matis 2 On Freelancing and the demise of Fashion Television

April
18
2012
On Freelancing and the demise of Fashion Television

As most everyone has heard, Fashion Television and InFashion were cancelled last week. Jeanne Beker tweeted it. A twenty-seven yearlong career merited less than 140 characters. I was shocked.

So there’s a bit more to my story than just being surprised at a TV conglomerate going out of business. The week before, I had scheduled two shoots with one of FT’s producers who I have worked with over the past few years. The cameras were booked to follow me on two shoots. I’d cleared it with the subjects I was going to be shooting and everyone was excited to finish a segment that had been in the works for a year.

Obviously, I was then really shocked to hear they got canned. Such is life right? Or is that just my luck? I just couldn’t believe it.

I have worked as a freelance writer, photographer and blogger in fashion for the past three and a half years. During that time, I have endured the following:

Work Travel
Panic attacks
Moments of cloud nine elation
Cold sweats
Paychecks for playing at what I love
Green envious jealousy and “bad thoughts”
Meet some incredibly interesting and inspiring people
Meet some incredibly lousy useless individuals
Lived off of swag
Cried, like, a lot
Drank my fair share of free Champagne
Worried about money
Worried about money
Worried about money

Luckily, I am someone who thrives off of hunger “for the job.” Because when you get paid to do what you love to do, you forget about the struggle, for a little over 45 seconds you are truly happy.

Working with FT made me that elated. I won’t pretend that I was getting paid though. I was getting exposure. Which in today’s economy pays the rent, apparently. The press was good, the recognition was great, and I do believe the work (however little) I did with FT helped launch me into the industry.

I was lucky to have gotten a break with them just a few months into my new career endeavor really. I found that they fostered talent and the producers were always working, finding new people, topics, places that they wanted to explore and share. I thought, “This is exactly where I want to be!” But, they had no money.

Nobody has any money. Or, as most will tell you, “We have no budget.” Money barely exists today. I luckily have landed a couple plum gigs for myself in the past year and thankfully was able to move back out of my parents home (another story for another day). Really, I’m not bragging. But, I have been pitched to work for gift certificates from major retailers, exposure has come up more than a million times and the illusory concept of commission was thrown into the mix too. Oh, and just plain free, as in “Will you work for free?”

I always respond, “Yes, because I work out of the goodness of my heart to make your job, that pays you bi-weekly, that much easier.”

The value of work, creative work especially, has diminished, been trodden over and then doled out to the interns. I wish I had known FT when it was just Chum, before CTV and Bell, when they actually produced content that broke molds and innovated the television industry. Because to do something great you need, time, money and support. I wish that not all projects had to be cranked out at break neck speed to fill a content quota. Now, I’m just belly aching though—moaning and complaining—I’m hoping to end this piece on a high note.

I’ve been mulling over this cancellation for one week now. Trying to not let this get the better of me. Because as much as it really sucks, I’ll get Pollyanna on you right now, “they wanted to work with me.” Which helps fill my emotional bank.

And, I’ve got to prep for a photo shoot today that is happening from my home for which I am paid for, in real money. Not bad, right?

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