Martha McAlpine’s Freelance Ecosystem in London

What are you working on, and what do you love about it?

I’ve recently come out of working on a big personal documentary project this year for DJ and electronic music publication; Resident Advisor and so I am biding my time a bit before jumping into any new project or projects!

I’ve been working on some exciting jobs over the summer, including a documentary with Greenpeace UK about the impact of plastics in UK rivers.

I am working as a ‘behind the scenes’ cinematographer with director Jonjo Lowe on a music video for classical pianist ‘Riopy’ and honing my camera skills as an assistant to film-maker Dan Fontanelli on videos about art and artists for the art world!

Finally, I have also produced some videos for my client GCUC the UK and their annual ‘global coworking unconference’ which took place in September with cameraman ‘Will Binks’ of Black Case Media.

Where do you interact with other freelancers in your industry or topic area?

My base is at SET Lewisham, which is an arts charity that occupies empty buildings, specifically high street retailers which have closed down.

We are in an old Mothercare, and it is enormous and cavernous, full of artists and creative freelancers.

A few others and I have set up an office specifically for filmmakers; we had to build the walls and buy a fridge and all the other essentials needed to run a mini coworking space!

We are still developing it and improving it gradually. I always wanted to be in a space with other video people, and it’s great to share ideas, help each other out and occasionally vent our issues with the industry!

What benefits have you and your business got from being in contact with other freelancers?

The more you speak to other freelancers, share ideas and brainstorm, the better.

The problems arise when you are not interacting and socialising with other freelancers.

From ideas about how much to charge your clients, creating good working practices to collaboration and networking, it is essential!

If you have a problem with running your business, the only way to overcome it is to share the problem with your peers. It can be a relief to get things off your chest!

What is the one thing that is missing where you live that would support your freelance career?

It would be amazing to have some access to mentorship schemes and business advice for people like me who work in film and video.

There are not any formalised contracts in the industry, so work is on a more ad-hoc basis with a variety of different clients from the entertainment industry to the private and public sectors.

It is sometimes a terrifying thing to go out on your own without too much guidance and what I do doesn’t always ‘fit in’ to any mould or industry roles.

Bernie Mitchell
Bernie Mitchell
#EFWeek Team

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