Virtual Freelance Festival blog

This year’s Virtual Freelance Festival is focused on ‘The Future Of Work’. How do we navigate this rapidly-changing employment landscape? Find out through workshops, panel discussions and high-profile speakers addressing the growing workforce of freelancers and entrepreneurs. Be sure to follow the Walkley on twitter to keep updated on all events and awards.

DAY THREE: July 7, 2020:

Overall: Thank you very much for being a part of this year’s Launceston Virtual Freelance Festival, a huge thanks to Sue Bell for organising this event and being able to adapt it virtually. Also a thanks to all the speakers for giving us tips and tricks to be the best freelancers we can be. It has been an honour to watch you all speak. Thank you all for following this blog, I hope it has covered everything you want to know about all these talks and the festival as a whole.

3.00pm Overview…. There are some people who are not suited to be a freelancer for a variety of reasons. A lot of people like structure in a job which can be a struggle in freelancing as there is no structure but you manage and create your own structure. Creating goals is a major step as it allows you to plan and prepare what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it.

2.30pm Overview…. The way you find corporate clients is that you pitch to them. LinkedIn is very beneficial in this business to find not only work but clients and contacts, ‘feel free to have a look at ours’. ‘I have pitched hundreds and hundreds of things’ Esther says. The big thing with pitching is you have to be clear with who you are pitching to. You need to have a-lot of ideas on your plate at one time. You must grab your audience in the first sentence of your pitch, they want a story not a thesis.

2.00pm Overview… ‘It is about having a professional persona’. Human resources look after you and the employees. Finding Stories, they are everywhere and it is a matter of looking for them and being open to them. Your specialty is your starting point. Looking for ideas to grow your business come from absolutely anywhere.

1.30pm Overview…. Being a freelancer is about your personality, these traits are super important. These include self assurance, adaptability, a passion to learn, persistence, being organised and confidence. Esther says ‘i think about somebody i know who is confident and self assured and think what would they do? in order to make myself have confidence. Denise prepares with a lot of research and the skill of being able to debate which prepares you to argue your side and ensure confidence in yourself.

Supercharging Your Freelancer Life- Esther Coleman & Denise Eriksen (Workshop): 1.00pm Overview…. Both of these successful women are from Media Mentors. Helping audiences kickstart their freelance career. Skills audit is really important as you probably have more skill than you think and as a freelancer you need to know youe whole range of skills. Using a worksheet they help viewers recognise what their skills are.

1.00pm Overview…. This session is very relaxing and a great way to clear your mind and just focus on one thing for a short amount of time. This session is a great psychological way to just bring yourself back to the present time without worrying about anything else.

12.50pm Overview…. Focusing on your breath clears your mind and relaxes the body. Breathing in to a count of five and out to a count of three. Claire then moves on to visualisation, she asks viewers to close their eyes and relax their body, and picture being on a hot air balloon. ‘Picture yourself sitting in the basket waiting to take off, you feel safe and secure’. Allowing yourself to float into the clear blue sky. She finishes off her relaxation session by doing another round of eye palming.

Relaxation Claire Bell (Session): 12.40pm Overview…. Claire is taking viewers on a relaxation session. ‘Find a nice place to sit where you are comfortable’.She begins with eye palming which starts by warming up your palms and placing them on your eyes. ‘Relax into the darkness’.

12.00pm Overview…. If you log in to it will allow you to see your super over the next 20 years. Overall, 1. Understand your super, 2. Consolidate your super, 3. Review your insurance, 4. Talk about your super, 5. Speak to the experts and 6. Choose the fund that’s right for you.

11.45am Overview…. How do we get to a good retirement? ‘Just put money into super’. Eric is available for a free consultation so that you can receive assistance with any personal superannuation questions:

11.30am Overview…. Over $230 million has been funded into media super movies which enables Australian actors, directors to keep producing Australian stories on home soil. ‘Super has taken a hit but it is a long term investment’. Most freelancers will earn their money from their skills. You need to ask yourself what kind of retirement do I want to have?

The Future of Superannuation Eric Black (Keynote): 11.20am Overview…. Eric is here today to help members and non-member in sorting out their superannuation. Freelancers: your super your future. The main reason we work is to be able to put money aside for retirement.

10.30am Overview…. There are so many platforms, the trick is to find the best means that you can afford to make what you wanna make. YouTube isn’t necessarily a money maker for freelancers. How to make a social impact film: Simone and The Congress – films discussing issues of XR. ‘My prediction for the future is film will not just be hearing and listening it will be the ability to use all senses’.

10.15am Overview…. Film in general has always been a medium for getting diverse stories across and having impact both negative and positive. ‘Powerful institutions trust men more than women in the film industry’, 33 per cent of directors are female and 37 per cent of producers are female as well. Females are under-represented, in our company we aim for 50 per cent male and 50 per cent female.

The Future Of Film- Nick Tantaro (Panel Discussion): 10.00am Overview…. Nick is a founding member of the Italian Theatre of Swinburne; a graduate of Swinburne Film & TV School (Special effects/animation) and AFTRS (Producing); and holds a BA in Media Studies (Screenwriting). Nick has designed and managed over 40 events. Streaming services do not have to have Australian content, ‘this is a period of change and everything around us is changing’. Nick says the Australian film industry has been badly hit by COVID-19.

9.30am Overview…. There is a business side for freelancers. ‘If you can attach a Walkley to your name it means you have made an impact and made a difference’. We have had to cancel some of our events and hoping our awards night goes ahead, we are having our first live event in September in Sydney being a trivia night.

9.15am Overview…. Entries for the 2020 Walkley Foundation are now open! There has been a range of different stories over all the past winners, you just need to be able to tell the story no matter what it is. This year the winner won with her story on the war in Afghanistan. Freelancers are eligible for all Walkley awards, so if you haven’t entered before, ‘back yourself and have a go’.

Louisa Graham- The Walkley Foundation (In Conversation): 9.10am Overview…. Louisa Graham is the chief executive of the Walkley Foundation. ‘Journalism has been crucial at the moment by informing the community and public through this difficult time, the Walkley Foundation recognises this and offers paid internships to freelancers and journalists. (

DAY TWO: July 6, 2020

The Google News Initiative – John Bergin (Technology): 2.45pm Overview…. John Bergin discusses how the google algorithm has advanced to a point where voice recognition is ‘almost without fault’. He goes on to discuss his own learnings from being a journalist: ‘As a journalist, it is not good enough just to Google search, you need to do advanced searches in order to gather further information’.

2.40pm Overview… ‘Spark is a great way to get your content out there.’ Tim outlines how beneficial it is getting your work out into the community and how Spark is the way to go. ‘Premier Pro does everything that Premier Rush does’.

Simple and powerful video production with Premiere Rush – Dr Tim Kitchen (Creative Software): 2.35pm Overview…. Tim Kitchen is the Adobe Senior Education Specialist ans his workshop on Adobe Premier Rush demonstrates the varied uses of this tool in the industry. ‘It is being used for social media for education, the simplest outlet is there’. He also discusses the limitations: ‘The easier it is the more limitation’s but Premier Rush is very versatile and easy,’ he says.

2.30pm Overview…. Berger: Never ever rip off someone else’s work. The more you do it, the more you write and allow yourself the opportunity to find something funny the easier it will be to find your voice. Do not imitate another comedian you like.

2.00pm Overview…. Berger: If you want to take a risk and be political then you must be careful and state the facts. Prejudice is a good area to demonstrate how ridiculous it is. ‘Comedy is not about fairytales’. Some comedians take on a persona, you laugh with them as well as at them.

1.45pm Overview…. Berger: The punchline should be a surprise as that’s the part audiences find funny. Tell the story as if you were telling it to your friend. Valuable tip: 1. You don’t have to be reverent, 2. You have to be noble in your intention, 3. You don’t have to explain what you think as long as it is funny, 4. Don’t apologise, 5. Do a draft. Don’t edit yourself.

1.30pm Overview…. Inspiration is everywhere as well as the belief that you can do it. Discipline is something you have to learn how to do if it is your career. There are no actual rules because you make your own rules and you will learn what works between you and your audience, as ‘that is the most important relationship’.

1.15pm Overview…. Berger: The most important rule in comedy is that you are your authentic self. All comics have different personalities, they all have their own voice. Don’t try to be funny or like another comic, say it authentically and in your own way. To help you start, write down everything that makes you laugh, who makes you laugh and why.

The Joke’s on You – Rachel Berger (Writing): 1.00pm Overview…. Rachel Berger is one of Australia’s favourite comedians. She is also an author and keynote speaker. Rachel takes a different angle on her workshop as she goes around and asks everyone what they want to learn out of the workshop and what they need to be a better writer, in order to ensure everyone benefits from her experience.

12.40pm Overview…. Harman: What’s our Plan? We’ve built it, and it’s getting better everyday, the next step is to get people using it. The best way to make this happen is for prominent people to use the technology. ‘That’s where you come in’. If you’re interested in this company and you are looking for more information go to

12.30pm Overview…. Harman: My personal goal is to make access to tools easier, educating people on it is not so hard. The problem with Tik-Tok is this is an app that can remotely download and install any software it wants and run it on your phone without your permission. No social media needs this function. I strongly recommend if you have this app to delete it as it is an extremely dangerous app. Simon even suggests doing a full factory reset of your phone.

Tik Tok. Source: (Google Images)

12.20pm Overview…. Harman: Onion routing is an application which passes information around to different connections. This breaks up the trust within the chain and means we can now confuse those in between the messaging. When installing and using apps on your phone, once you install safety apps to protect yourself you no longer have to stress about what is being leaked. provides privacy protection and is recommended by Simon to download.


12.10pm Overview…. Harman: How useful is VPN? VPN is a good step in the right direction but allowing this can risk trust and you must be careful when allowing them to monitor your content. What is Signal? It is the leading company when referring to encryption and is known as chatter when you send messages to people.

Me, Myself, and my source (Keynote): 12.00pm Overview….Secure messaging is important as everything we are saying is now all online. Simon Harman suggests journalism has more sensitive conversations than other companies. Whatsapp, Snapchat and Linkedin are the top three messaging apps, which all have something in common – the middle man. This means all of your messages go through someone else before being sent off.

What happens when you have a conversation. Source: Simon Harman

11.30am Overview…. Some clients react well to paying for invoices online as it provides another option to be paid in a simple manner. Oliver Garside outlines how much software has changed. It is important to ensure you find the right accountant and make sure you ask the questions to make sure they know about your business. A lot of accountants offer a free first consult so make sure you shop around and find the one suited for you. It doesn’t have to be painful, it can be managed pretty easily.

The 3 top tips. Source: Oliver Garside’s shared link.

Accounting Demystified (In conversation): 11.15am Overview…. The impact and stress that the accounting side brings can be terrible. ‘Having to manage JobKeeper at the moment: clients are confused, overwhelmed and are trying to navigate all of this’. Holly Shoebridge’s number one tip is to ensure you have a separate bank and personal account as this will save you a lot of time.

11.00am Overview…. Hendy: Overall you need to prioritise what you are doing and getting paid for, as this is your career. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket and spread the risk around to allow yourself more work but at the same time don’t take on too much work for yourself. There is lots of work out there. When you pitch try to keep it brief and quick.

10.45am Overview… ‘My first job was writing about linguistics from an American point of view, I then got a job writing for the Oxford Dictionary in the UK’, ‘Then that went bust’. Once I started to write human interest stories it gave me such a broad market’. Gary Nunn opens up about his career as a gay journalist.

10.30am Overview…. Gary takes us through his life moving to Australia as a freelancer and how lucky he is to take on a communication role: ‘once you start taking a more realistic role, nothing is worth giving up the work life balance’. Nina says find what works for you when freelancing. Editors want something they haven’t read before, it has to be high-quality writing and different from the rest. ‘I look at if the pitch demonstrates the writer has done some background research as well as the writer’s reputation’, states Danielle.

10.00am Overview…. The key to success in this field! Even if it is not something that you want to do, you can make it appeal to your interests. Fran outlines the importance of flexibility, and you need to write outside your comfort zone in order to be successful and not to narrow yourself down to one thing. ‘I think it is a wonderful career’.

The Future Of Freelancing (Panel Discussion): 9.45am Overview…. Joining the panel discussion this morning is Nina Hendy, Gary Nunn, Dr Penny O’Donnell, Fran Molloy and Danielle Cronin. Penny says in the Australian context there is restricted competition being a freelancer in this market. ‘I’m asking questions like when does a career start in freelancing?’ There is no answer about when you start as a freelancer does it begin when you leave the newsroom? Or when you start at a big media company?

The Future Of Work (Dr Marcus Bowles) : 9.15 am Overview…. Dr Marcus Bowles kicks off the morning session of the Virtual Freelance Festival with his talk on The Future Of Work. Dr Bowles is a director and chairman of The Institute for Working Futures. He discusses how human capabilities are essential in terms of new hires: ‘Companies want to be able to work with people who think differently’. The most important thing is to understand your own profile and what your strengths are. He mentions the significance of managing your own portfolio and to get it validated and confirmed in order to compete with other freelancers in the market. ‘A lot of companies are restructuring due to coronavirus and have taken a look at what their business will look like after this change’, creating more competition for freelancers’. Marcus suggests journalists try and appeal to what they are good at as well as getting across all platforms and spreading your networking across any opportunities you can.

DAY ONE: July 5, 2020

Sustainability (Kirsty Mate): 4.00pm Overview……. Kirsty Mate is a sustainable design educator, consultant and artist who’s passion has always been on the connection between design, the human element, social inclusion and the natural environment. Kirsty has been working with single use plastic bags and looking at recycling options. Plastic is ‘a wicked problem to actually contain’. Kirsty shows many artists such as Sophie Carnell, Linda Erceg and Stuart Haygarth who reuse fishing wire, plastic bottles and plastic found on the beach and turn them into stunning pieces of art. Kirsty is currently working on making mobile phone holders and shopping bags all out of plastic ‘I began experimenting with all different plastics and stitching’. Kirsty teaches us how to knit using plastic and demonstrates how easy it really is to reuse plastic. As well as other demonstrations to show that single use plastic bags can be used for many occasions.

Kirsty’s creation using single plastic bags. Source: Photo, Supplied.