• Carlos P. Beltran

Approaching Media Networks - Interview With Bart Vandever


This is a transcript from THE FREELANCE JOURNALIST 5 MINUTE TAKLSHOW podcast.

You can listen to it on iTunes.

Carlos:

Hi everyone. From Brooklyn, NY, this is Carlos P. Beltran. Welcome to the freelance journalist 5 minute talk show. Today we're talking about how to approach media network editors. People who ultimately are the ones who commission us to produce work. Today we're talking to Bart Vandever a good friend, writer, director, based in LA. He produces non fiction and fictive work. By the way, you've worked with AJ Plus, right? What other ones have you worked with?

Bart:

Def. I've worked with AJ Plus, Discovery Digital, All That's Digital, Me Too is another one.

Carlos:

How was your first approach with one of these networks? How do you manage to actually be able to produce work for them and get commissioned?

Bart:

These days is finding work through platforms. Online journalism platforms. For me, it was through story hunter, which I think you turned me on to first.

Carlos:

Right.

Bart:

Yeah. I think it's a great way to find out what's going on, and be able to pitch any ideas you have.

Carlos:

Story hunter connects you directly with editors. Network editors that then you'll be able to read what assignments they're working on. Is that correct?

Bart:

Yeah. You can read and see what they're looking for. It's a way to establish contact with the editors themselves. Be able to pitch ideas in the future. That has been really useful to me so far.

Carlos:

What would you suggest people do before contacting these networks? Should they have a subject? A story? An event in mind before say, contacting whether it's through a platform, or through LinkedIn, or through even Facebook? Some of these editors. Or should they just send them the reel and portfolio and then hope that these people will be like, yeah. Let's commission you for work?

Bart:

I think it's just a good idea to stay informed and to kind of really read a lot, and stay up to date with what's going on in the world. Yeah, whenever something really strikes you, if it stays with you a couple weeks later, then you know it's probably worth looking into, and worth maybe pitching out what you develop stronger pitch of what you would like to do with it.

Carlos:

I know that you've covered current events, like rallies for Trump. A week and a half ago I think you covered one of them. How do you ... How did that happen? How were you contacted to actually go and shoot that? Or did you shoot it and try to sell a story to AJ Plus I think you said you sold it to?

Bart:

Yeah, well that, they were, AJ Plus was looking for coverage on this food truck protest near the Trump towers in Vegas. I thought that sounded fascinating, so I was able to contact them, and just be able to pitch myself as a videographer. I live here in LA, so it's not too far for me.

Carlos:

Did you send the editor of AJ Plus in this case your portfolio? Or did they ... Had you worked with them before and the relationship was already there?

Bart:

In this case, I think I pitched a few things to them before. There was a few that were about to be green lit, but for whatever reason, it didn't work out. Timing or schedule wise. We were able to kind of open a dialogue, and then ... Luckily this was just good timing.

Carlos:

Yeah. Okay, in summary, people should when they're thinking about jumping into the freelance journalism game or production game, go ahead and join a platform for videos? Is that correct? You said that you worked through which one?

Bart:

Definitely. Storyhunter is a great one.

Carlos:

Again, there's Movidiam, Newsmodo, Blink, and all these connect then either freelancers with freelancers, or looking to collaborate, or freelancers with actual media outlets that are looking for specific people to shoot specific assignments. That's great. Bart, we have about 30 seconds, 25 seconds here. Do you have any advice for freelancers out there?

Bart:

Yeah. Listen to fellow journalist, and peers, and learn from folks like Carlos. Read up and stay involved. I think just staying active like that is the way to do it.

Carlos:

You also have an indie movie with Michael Madsen.

Bart:

Oh definitely, yeah. It's my first non fiction feature film. We've got Madsen to come in for a couple days. Yeah, it's on Amazon. It should be on iTunes pretty soon.

Carlos:

The name of Bart's movie is Talons. T-A-L-O-N-S. You can find it on Amazon Prime. For new short interviews and advice every week, subscribe to this podcast. If you're looking for hands on tutorials on story telling and freelancing, go to carlosbbeltran.com/tips. This was the freelance journalist 5 minute talk show. We'll see you next time.

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