Our Tips For Solo Creators Working With Larger Teams for the First Time

Photographers or filmmakers who get their start working alone can very easily find it overwhelming when they are suddenly thrust into working with larger teams. So how can they prepare? The PetaPixel Podcast team digs into it.

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News doesn’t take a break, so this week, Chris Niccolls and Jordan Drake join me from the comfort of their hotel room on the coast of Vancouver Island. The biggest story? Canon’s RF mount is finally open to third-party developers, but there is a catch. That said, there might be a good reason for Canon to make this choice, as its sales aren’t doing great.

The trio also discusses Sigma and Nikon and Canon’s response to the situation at RED Cinema. Finally, it can be hard for solo creators to work with larger teams when they’re given the opportunity, so the three present their tips for making the most of those types of opportunities.

Working Alone Versus Working at a ‘Real’ Company

It’s become far more common for solo creators to be completely self-taught, basing their entire business and operation from what they’ve found online and what they’ve developed on their own. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach, but as they grow, those creators might find themselves in a position where they are hired as part of a larger team, and that process can immediately be overwhelming.

Additionally, it’s not uncommon for solo artists to be introverted as working alone really fits with their personality. That can make the transition to working with a team even more difficult. Odds are high that solo creators also never worked at a “real” production company, limiting their experience with what others might call “industry standard.”

Speaking from experience, being invited to work on a large corporate project suddenly turned me from being the creator into being just one small part of a much larger endeavor. I showed up to a base of operations and saw equipment I’d never worked with and was introduced to a way of working that was wholly foreign to me.

My first reaction was to get defensive. I pulled back, went to my own corner, and didn’t engage because I was afraid that my perceived lack of knowledge would make me look bad and make the client question why they hired me.

Looking back, I argue the opposite approach is far more advantageous. It’s okay to admit you don’t know something and these opportunities will make you more knowledgeable and, perhaps, will improve your own solo workflows. Even more, being open to this experience will make you more knowledgeable for future collaborations.

Just remember that the client hired you for a reason and it’s okay if you’re not as versed in the lingo, equipment, and workflows that “real” studios use. Do your thing, be confident in your work, but also stay open to learning, asking questions, and — perhaps most importantly — being wrong. That’s my biggest suggestion, and Chris and Jordan offer their tips in the podcast linked above.

We use Riverside to record The PetaPixel Podcast in our online recording studio.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and we look forward to hearing what you think. If you like what you hear, please support us by subscribing, liking, commenting, and reviewing! Every week, the trio go over comments on YouTube and here on PetaPixel, but if you’d like to send a message for them to hear, you can do so through SpeakPipe.

In This Episode:

Image credits: Featured photo licensed via Depositphotos.