Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How to Land Assignment Work***

 *** Or at least how it seems to work for me.

I just shot my first job for Mens' Journal.  I have been trying to get work with MJ for a long time, and it's always a great feeling when the phone rings and the marketing efforts have paid off.

Here is a rough idea of what went into getting that one job (which is for a single page, btw, not a feature):

3 visits to NY over 3 years to meet one-on-one with the Photo Editor.
2 stock submissions for possible usage (neither were used)
3-4 years worth of Modern Postcard mailers, 3-4 times year.
4 hand typed, one of a kind cards with custom prints, mailed to her attention.
A bunch of email promos, expensive ads in Archive, AtEdge, etc, etc, etc.

Then I sent her a short email with some jpegs from my recent trip to Spain, and she emails back to see if I'm available to shoot that week.

After years of pursuing work, I've learned that there is no silver bullet.  Marketing is one part Chinese Water Torture, one part Manners, one part Timing, and one or two parts Luck.  The first three you can control, but the fourth is tricky. 

The ultimate goal is to have your promo land on the desk of the photo editor / AD / AB / GD at the exact moment that they need someone with the skills you are presenting.  It takes a lot of work before these intersections start to happen.

The good thing is, once you have the job, you can control the quality of the product you deliver, and the service you provide.  If you do a kick ass job on the first one, the next one should come more easily.  Then you just hope they call back again and again so you can begin to pay for all the marketing it took to get you there.


Matt Haines said...

And then you hope that the job pays for all that marketing you did over the years. :)

Congrats on getting the assignment! Patience and persistence pay off.

Nick Pironio said...

When you say two stock subissions, do you mean you shot something on your own and emailed it to them? Or you shot an assignment for someone else and tried to pitch it to Mens Journal as well?

Jamie Kripke said...

No -- they just needed a some images from China, and emailed me since I had just gone there. Turns out what I had didn't work for their needs.

stuart rayner said...

did you nail the assignment ? how's the studio shaping up ?

marlowe diego said...

nice post...good simple explanation of "what it takes". :)