Don't Panic. Quick Tips and Skill Sessions for Freelancers

Media Mentor Esther Coleman-Hawkins offers commonsense advice and a free online program with ACMI for screen workers.
Don't Panic. Quick Tips and Skill Sessions for Freelancers Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash.

Esther Coleman-Hawkins

Tuesday 24 March, 2020

In the words of the inimitable Douglas Adams, 'Don't Panic'.

First up – sorry to be a Debbie Downer but be realistic about money. Work out how much you need to live. Do you have that in your bank account? It could be several months before things are back to how they were. Is it time to think about alternative income streams? Can you use your skills in other areas? Do you need to, gulp, get a job? Any job. It might be smarter to do this sooner rather than later. Get help if you need it to polish up your CV so it looks appealing to a corporate employer.

OK for money? Fantastic!

Use this time wisely. Coronavirus could turn out to be a fantastic gift in really shitty wrapping paper.

  • Your creative project. This is THE perfect time to write that documentary treatment, screenplay, novel or film. Many other creatives are in the same unemployed boat so depending on Government advice, and sensible precautions, this could be the time to make super low budget or free content.
  • Podcasts can be recorded remotely so even if you’re self-isolating you could still make something – and increase your skillset at the same time.
  • Learn Something. From software tutorials to free workshops, paid in-depth courses or YouTube videos there are 100s of skills you can learn online.
  • Mental Health #1. Do not scroll through news sites detailing coronavirus deaths for hours at a time. If you find yourself on the Guardian, again. Stop. Have a self-intervention and go clean out your knicker drawer.
  • Mental Health #2. As a long time work-from-home-gal I know it’s essential to have routine. Get up at a sensible time, set periods of your day for work and periods of your day for fun, get human contact any way you can safely – social media, video chat, phone calls, talking to your neighbours over the balcony and finally… get dressed. Everyday. 

Finally, starting this week, you can check out the the new  #runningfreeskills micro-skill sessions that are up and running in a brilliant partnership between Media Mentors Australia and ACMI. Details below.

Read more: Upskilling in Isolation: making use of the time

'Running Free' Free Online Skills Workshop 

Twice a week – from 10 am, Friday, 27 March - we will be dropping a new session live on the ACMI Youtube Channel.

There’s no need to formally sign up – just turn up.

While the sessions are live streaming, you’ll be able to ask questions of our presenters on the socials through #runningfreeskills and have them answered.

Then the sessions will stay on the Youtube Channel in case you want to watch them (again!) later.

We’ve been swamped by enthusiasm – from people who want to watch and from incredibly generous people who want to contribute skills for our sessions.

We’re making 10 initially and we’ll see how we go after that – but what a 10 we’ve got!

Running Free Online Skills Workshop

Friday 27 March
Keep Calm & Look For New Markets
with Author & Journalist Jenny Valentish

Wednesday 1 April
Screenwriting:Where Do You Start?
with Drama Writer David Hannam

Friday 3 April
What Makes A Good Factual Story?
with Executive Producer Alex West

Wednesday 8 April
What You Need to Know to be a Videographer
with Lara Van Raay, Small World Documentaries

Wednesday 15 April
Budgeting 101
with Producer Charlotte Wheaton, Good ThingProductions

Friday 17 April
From Short to Long
with Feature Director John Sheedy,H for Happiness

Wednesday 22 April
Lighting for Beginners
with Cinematographer Joanne Donahoe-Beckwith

Friday 24 April
Getting The Most From Interviews
with Dominique Pratt, Presenter & Director

Wednesday 29 April
The Joy of Archive
with Producer Kate Pappas

Friday 1 May
TBC

Everybody is donating their services for free and we see it as a great opportunity to learn new stuff and be entertained during tough times. Full details here.

Media Mentors Australia is a Melbourne-based coaching, career development and training company co-created and run by Denise Eriksen and Esther Coleman Hawkins.

About the author

Co-founder of Media Mentors, Esther Coleman-Hawkins, is an experienced TV producer, conference organiser and career mentor. She’s made factual series for public service broadcasters around the world. She has also had the dubious honour of developing or producing 13 series about obesity… She’s developed numerous ideas for Australian production companies including 'Secrets of Our Streets' for SBS and 'Luke Warm Sex' for ABC1; she has an electric google search history. With Media Mentors she is building on her passion for helping people to develop their careers in the creative field.