Seneca Media Unscripted: Figuring Out Freelancing in the Gig Economy ft. Eric Gani
The term “Gig Economy” has only recently started gaining popularity in the socioeconomic fabric of today. We hear about more and more individuals describing themselves as part of the gig economy. While it comprises of several age groups, the most prominent members of this expanding culture are millennials. So, what is the “Gig Economy”? How does it impact our lifestyle and future? As students in the School of Media, you are likely to find yourselves identifying with this concept, therefore, so these might be important questions to consider.
The Gig Economy can be officially defined as “an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.” In simpler terms, it refers to the prevalence of freelancing as a legitimate source of income in the current economy. In a traditional sense, a stable job would be one with full-time status, benefits and steady wage. This dynamic however, has recently shifted with globalization and rise of technology.
We know, it has become convenient to blame technology for many a change in our world. This time though, it is justified.
Commonly referred to as the digitization of the workplace, the integration of technology within the job market has made it increasingly easier to work remotely. This has essentially decoupled job and location. Now, there is a growing demand for freelance services that can be delivered, marketed and accessed over the internet. Individuals can work remotely and set their own expectations such as wage and hours based on their needs and skill set. The freelance market has since grown quite competitive, with more people offering specialized skills. On the employer side, there is now a larger pool of skilled individuals that companies can pick and choose from for a specific job. There is therefore, no longer a need for full-time positions, when they can simply contract someone for a ‘gig’, hence, the term.
The picture we have painted so far, might seem quite bleak at first and a lot of people might agree. It may be because this is all quite new in our world today. Our parents are not that familiar with this system, therefore, we don’t quite have a precedence to learn from. There will most likely be a learning curve, and we are surely to make mistakes along the way. But, whether we like it or not, we cannot deny that the ‘gig economy’ might be the future. In fact, with over 1.4 trillion dollars of our annual GDP coming from freelancers, it seems quite inevitable.
So, we here at Seneca Media wanted to understand the workings of the ‘gig economy’, and what better way to do it, than with an inside perspective. To discuss how to manage being a professional freelancer, we invited RTVT alumnus, and current freelancer in the filmmaking industry, Eric Gani, to chat with us and share his experiences. With the filmmaking industry having embraced the freelancing lifestyle much earlier than most other media fields, we thought it would be an excellent way to understand how it works and how stable the system is. As per Eric, there is a certain adventure to be had in freelancing. He discusses tips and tricks that are key to succeeding in the industry. He shares his own journey, and the things he enjoyed as well as the processes he struggled with. Overall, after talking with Eric, we found ourselves rather excited about the prospect of the gig-economy, simply because if you go about it the right way, it is easy to thrive and make a mark for yourself.
If you want to hear about what Eric has to say about his experience freelancing, please listen to our podcast.
You can find Eric Gani on Instagram!