Getting Started In Craft Services Pt. 3: Specialist Or Generalist?
Those of us in the freelance craft services business generally don’t refer to ourselves as specialists or generalists. However, in practice, some providers of craft services are specialists and some are generalists.
It’s really a matter of the craft services provider’s personal preference. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two so that you may decide which one you would like to be.
The Freelance Craft Services – Specialist
A freelance craft services specialist is someone who provides craft services exclusively to either movie, television, music, video, commercial, or corporate productions.
The Freelance Craft Services – Generalist
On the other hand, the generalist does not limit their employment opportunities. The freelance craft services generalist provides craft service to all areas of production. In other words, the generalist may work on a music video one day, a commercial the next day, and then on a movie the following day.
The Pros Of Specializing
One of the advantages of being a freelance craft services provider who’s a specialist is that you can become very adept at knowing the best kinds of food and times to serve to a particular type of production crew. Believe it or not, all production crews do not behave the same.
For example, on some of the television and commercial productions that I’ve worked on the crews would take breaks at pre-set times whereas movie crews do not take communal breaks.
Another advantage of being a specialist is that you may have an easier time getting hired for craft service jobs in your specialty. That is, if your craft service credits are filled with let’s say music videos, you’re more likely to be hired on a music video shoot than someone with a more general background.
Lastly, working in one area of production may help you streamline your freelance craft services operation.
The Pros Of Generalizing
I think the biggest advantage of the freelance craft services provider who’s a generalist is that you will have more employment opportunities. You are not limited to one discipline like the specialist. You market your services to everyone from movie producers to corporate producers resulting in the opportunity to earn more money than the specialist.
As a generalist you’ll also have the opportunity to watch and learn how movies, television programs, music videos, and commercials are made. The chance to witness the making of these productions has been personally rewarding to me. I love following the production process!
The Con Of Specializing
The biggest disadvantage of being a craft service provider who’s a specialist it that you may be limiting potential employment opportunities. For example, if you specialize in providing craft services to movies and the number of movies being shot in your neck of the woods decreases so will your number of jobs.
The Con Of Generalizing
The downside of being a craft service provider who’s a generalist is the threat of burnout. With so many opportunities for employment, you may be tempted to accept more than you can physically handle.
If you accept three movie jobs in a row working 12 to 16 hours a day, followed by a television show with similar hours and then accept a music video you may quickly find yourself suffering from exhaustion.
Should this happen you may lose income because you will not be able to accept work until you have recovered.
Your passion for production and personality will determine whether you, as a freelance craft services provider, choose to specialize or generalize. Both work preferences have pros and cons. You have to figure out what’s best for you.
If specializing appeals to you, remember you may become an expert in providing craft service in your area of choice but you may be limiting you earning potential.
If you feel generalizing is for you, keep in mind that while you may get more jobs and earn more money than someone who chooses to specialize you may suffer from burnout.
What type of freelance craft services provider are you? A specialist or generalist? Let me know in the comment section below.
In part 4 of Getting Started In Craft Services I’ll discuss the equipment requirements of craft services.
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