9 Ways for Freelancers to Survive — And Thrive — In the Age of Coronavirus
Last week, our CEO Jaron Gilinsky emailed all Storyhunter employees a set of guidelines to stay healthy amid the recent coronavirus outbreak. A lot of it was self-explanatory, but it was a good reminder that this is a time where personal hygiene isn’t just for your own health, it’s for the protection of those around you as well.
After reading that email, I realized that, since filmmaking is such a collaborative medium, it’s critical that freelancers take extra precautions to avoid contamination and prevent the spread of COVID-19. So here are some tips that we hope you find useful:
Stop Touching Your Face
Let’s face it: We love touching our own faces! You may notice the need while holding the camera for a long time. But when we do, whatever germs were on our hands before, are now on our faces. It’s often a subconscious action, but there are ways to actively avoid it. Face-touching could be a difficult habit to kick, so as a precaution, it can’t hurt to have some hand sanitizer.
Practice the Elbow Bump (or just say “Namaste”)
Believe it or not, handshakes stem from the 5th Century BC. Back then, it was a symbol of peace and a way to show you weren’t carrying a weapon in your right hand. Are they really worth getting a virus with a 3% death rate? When you’re introducing yourself to the subjects of your video, or greeting members of your crew, avoid shaking hands. Bump elbows instead. Or, as our Indian community reminds us, you can always just put your hands together, do a slight bow, and say “Namaste”. It means, “I bow to the divine in you,” in Hindu.
Wipe Down Your Gear
When out in the field, there’s a lot that you can’t control. But one matter you can take into your own hands is keeping your equipment squeaky clean! The CDC said that the COVID-19 can be spread just by touching a surface that has the virus on it. So it’s important to proactively keep yourself, your cameras, mics, laptops, and all your gear germ-free. Add disinfecting wipes to your backpack so that you and your whole crew can make sure their gear is as clean as can be.
Try To Find Work As An Editor or Writer
While our work often requires us to be out filming, if you have the skills, you may also want to try to find work that you can do out of the safety and comfort of your own home. The less time you spend in congested public areas, the better. This is a great time to start looking for editing or writing jobs on Storyhunter!
Wear Masks If You Can Get One
Due to overwhelming demand, face masks have been pretty hard to come by. But try your best to get your hands on them. Freelancing often requires entire days in the field, on the set, and in public.. Try to track down some face masks, and share them with other freelancers in your network. We’re in this together, people!
Carefully Plan Your Shooting Times
Unless absolutely necessary, avoid densely crowded places. If your project allows it, try to go out on a shoot when your shooting locations aren’t too packed. Obviously, this won’t be possible for some projects, but definitely do your best.
Stay Home if You Feel Sick
Freelancers often stop at nothing to get the job done. But this is a time where it’s best to err on the side of caution. If you’re feeling under the weather, take some time to recuperate and make sure that you haven’t caught the coronavirus. This is for your safety, and that of everyone that you work with.
Hustle Extra Hard if You Feel Healthy
In light of the viral outbreak, lots of companies are hiring outsourced labor (read: freelancers) these days. There are lots of opportunities out there for the taking! COVID-19 is yet to be contained and there’s no knowing how bad this could get. If you’re healthy and can take precautions, get out there and tell some amazing stories!
Save Your Dough!
As unfortunate as it is, freelancers don’t get paid sick leave. But at least you’re your own boss, which is something that a lot of people dream of! That said, if you can, be frugal with your disposable income. This is a good idea in general, not just during pandemics! But if you need to take some time off from freelancing for whatever reason, it’s crucial for you to be financially prepared for that.
Written by Jake Watkins, Head of Stories