Hind Shoufani is a freelance filmmaker and published poet. Her first freelance job was at the Daily Star in Lebanon at the age of 18 when she walked into the office and demanded a writing gig. Her freelance career has been in part determined by her nationality (a Jordanian in Lebanon would have found it difficult to get the right paperwork for a full time job) and her dislike for office based corporate work. Whilst in New York studying for her MFA she used Craigslist to find freelance jobs ranging from voiceovers to translation to directing.
When she came to the UAE at the beginning of 2009 she used her old university contacts to land her first two assignments and soon got introduced to another producer that continued working with her for a while. She has produced and directed videos for Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Arts, Zayed Book Award, Saadiyat island and more. She also directed 8 webisodes for the award winning Hiroshi and Osama campaign by Chevrolet.
Having freelanced for so long, Hind states that freelancers often have more than one skill and shouldn’t pigeonhole themselves, its also important to make sure you have examples of work ready to show potential clients. Choosing this style of work might be off putting for many people but Hind encourages more people to try it. She finds this is the best way to support herself as an artist. She is currently in post production for her latest film, and is working on another book of poetry along with a novel.
Like most people, she says network effects are vital here when finding work. The industry is small, most people in the audiovisual world know each other, and this can often be useful to reduce the search for jobs. However, from the company side, the SME sector, companies who generate the most volume of work, don’t have visibility into freelance talent. Additionally these companies don’t have the budget to hire agencies, who themselves hire freelancers. Using a middle man can solve some problems but adds unnecessary cost to the project.. Hind thinks a platform like Nabbesh is a useful way to democratize access to freelancers so clients can meet producers and video editors directly.