When Both Partners Work in the Freelance World

1

My husband and I both work in production and have both been freelance for many years. This works for us…most of the time. There are definitely times where it can get stressful, there are times where I wish one of us had a “normal” steady job that was not based on how many viewers watched an episode. There are also times where both of us being freelance can be great and I couldn’t think of any other lifestyle for me or my partner.

We met many years ago when we were both Production Assistants. Both of us also had to work many odd jobs just to pay rent and all our other bills. It was a struggle for both of us, and then we decided to move in together… that was just as big a struggle. We still continued to work just as hard and just as much freelance as before only this time there was someone else counting on you paying your half of the rent and bills.

After spending time in the freelance world, you get used to the fact that you could be jobless tomorrow and it could be weeks before your next day of work. You get used to having to save as much as you can for the dry times, but you really really hope for lots of work.

Over the years, we have sometimes both found ourselves out of work at the same time. Those times can be tough financially and can cause stress. Learning how you deal with this, learning what works for you is key to having a partner who also works in this freelance, long hours, stressful days, environment we all love and work in. We save. We don’t just stay home and not spend any money, but we are careful, we put money in savings whenever we can and we do it regularly so it becomes habit. Even if we cannot put a lot in savings this paycheck, we still try to put a little bit in.

When we are both off work it does leave us with free time, we are practical and of course do the job hunt, we also work on our projects and try to work with others as well, but we also spend time together. The jobs we work are full of long hours and a lot of times really tough physically and emotionally. My husband is a crewmember on a one hour drama series and he regularly works 14 hour shifts and sometimes has a crazy commute depending on the day’s location. It is very important for our relationship and our sanity, that when we can, we spend quality time together.

In order to find time for ourselves as a couple we make the time. Sometimes that means skipping out on an event, or missing hanging out with a group at a bar or something, but we do it. We need “us” time. We don’t always go out and spend a lot of money, most the time it is us, making dinner, walking the dog or even catching up on our favorite Netflix series or that indie film we didn’t get a chance to see in theaters. Making the time for the relationship is really important, we can go several days with only seeing each other for a few moments a day, usually when one of us is half asleep and the other is either rushing off to work or struggling to stay awake long enough to brush their teeth before they crash.

Since we both work in this world, we do find ourselves venting to one another a lot. We do not work in the same department, but we understand each other’s worlds. We have times where we cannot talk about work. We have to stop ourselves or it will consume our conversation. This might be something you should consider if you find this to be a problem. We talk about anything else… the news, a cute mini pig video we saw on Youtube, traveling… just nothing work related. I think venting to your partner about work is common in any industry, I just know from experience that it can be a vicious cycle in this production world. If you find yourself spending so much of your free time talking about work, maybe give yourself a small amount of time to vent and then no more work talk for the rest of the night.

What I love about my partner and I both working in Production is that we are both working towards a career that we love. We both understand the emotional drain it can take, but we also understand the passion you need to survive it as well. This is a tough industry and for me to have a partner who understands me emotionally but also understands what my average day is like is vital to me and my career. We do not lead a traditional life, and we probably never will. I am good with that.

We both chose this lifestyle and it can be crazy, but we make it work. You can make a relationship work with both partners working freelance. You might even be surprised at how well it works as the years go by.

 

Ashleigh Nichols

About Ashleigh Nichols

Ashleigh Nichols resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Eddie, and their Chihuahua mix, Nova. Together they work on their own projects as a wife-husband directing/producing/writing team. Through Owlet Pictures, they created the web series Coffee Shop Squatters, and the award winning short film Summer of the Zombies. Ashleigh is also working on a dramatic feature and creating a new web series, set to shoot later this year. While not working on her own projects, Ashleigh is currently an in house Production Manager at Ampersand Media. Before going in house she Production Managed several shows/Pilots for Comedy Central, HBO Go and Vh1, some of these include: The Jeselnik Offensive, The Burn, The Ben Show, Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! and Parental Discretion S2. Ashleigh is also honored to have Co-Produced the indie film The Historian, currently touring on the festival circuit.

  • ∆mber Rose Plaster

    Totally relate.