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Freelance vs Full-Time (Japan)

Updated: Feb 28

Featuring Meg Igarashi



Hello, Who are you and What do you do?

Hi, I'm Meg and I'm a person who likes to make videos for fun and I love to spread positivity! My message as a creator is to spread positivity through creativity, do what you love, be open-minded, and enjoy now! I really live by doing things I truly believe in whether it is a company, charity, or a message. Right now I am working as a freelancer in Japan with various companies, usually as a video editor, videographer, production assistant (bilingual), or a photographer.


A few projects I have worked on are:

Making the Cut (PA)

Tokyo Creative (Creative Agency for more known foreign vlogs // influencer driven)

Dance Videos (for SayaNinja & Haruka)

Koala (Australian company)

Adobe (Video Workshop)

Amazon (Charity Spokesperson)

Vice (featuring Koharu)

Yoshia Masaki (Director/Video Editor)

DJI (Partner/Ambassador)

Skillshare (teacher)

& a couple other movies (PA)



What or Who inspired you to be in this field?

In the beginning it was someone random, but who inspires me now are a lot of people from YouTube. One is Dan Mace, a South African film maker who makes YouTube videos. He used to be a director, but right now he has high quality weekly videos where he goes around the world collaborating with people who suggest ideas to him. Another one is Kasey Nistad! Elle of the Mills too - she's a good story teller and super fun. She also captures a great sense of humor, and her content is very fun to watch. I guess the last one I'll mention is Iz Harris, she makes personal films about herself. They [Harris's content] could be deep, but I like how vulnerable and honest her films are. I want to be able to share personal stories that could help people.


How was your journey as a professional creative in Japan?

I wasn't planning on being a video editor. I didn't finish high school or attend college, but I did apply for a public art school (in Japan). I didn't get accepted though so I just started working and ended up getting a video job. Within the next month I applied to a lot of random things, and applied for a paid video internship which led to a full-time opportunity. I did start editing videos since high school, but that was mainly just for fun. But, I guess it did build my portfolio in a sense that I had things to show. Based on my circumstances college wasn't really an option. College is good! So maybe some day. A lot of people I know definitely didn't study what they are doing now. If you do go to school, make sure you get the right experience.



What's it like being a creative in Japan?

It's cool! It's fun meeting the international community and creative people. IT's nice meeting English speakers! But it's not too different from other places. Meeting creators in LA was a positive experience for me. Most of my close YouTube friends are from America [USA]. Community wise, there's less English speakers in Japan. In LA, you find like-minded people and you become close with them.


What are the biggest challenges you face as a creative in Japan or in general?

If you're a freelancer, it's not to do anything. You need to constantly be working [on a job or project] or working on your own stuff. Work on your own videos, build your resume or portfolio! If you're not strict, it's easy not to finish any work. I make task lists for myself, writing things down of what I have to do. It's a good way to keep up and stay on top of it.


It's definitely easy to be lazy, to wake up late, and watch [non-work related] YouTube. It's definitely a plus to work at home, but make sure you set time for work, or make work. Try writing down your tasks or goals the night before, and don't underwrite your goals!


What's your routine?

I don't really have a routine since I like to be a freelancer more than a full-time job, so every day is different. If I'm working at home, I like to check e-mails in the morning, if they have urgent tasks I get that done first. Next I slowly start working on my own stuff, or I work on stuff for a job or project [that I was hired to do]. Then I take a break and save work for night time, I'm more of a night person.


If I have no [hired] work, I think of concepts, or film and edit my own videos. I think the main thing I love is that I add in my task list is that I can make food at home, haha!


How do you achieve a work life balance?

I aim to make time for people a couple times a week. But if I have too many deadlines, I don't get to hang out with people. On other days [when I'm not with people], I work on my own stuff and prioritize correctly. My goal is to upload one YouTube video a week.


Where can people find your work?

Mostly on YouTube and Instagram! Both are under Megigarashi, and my photography IG is igarashiMeg.



What are the best resources for someone who wants to be in a similar career?

Youtube, Google, or Skillshare! I mostly use Adobe for all creative editing, but - you don't have to use anything besides what you already have. For equipment I usually get mine through Amazon. I look for Canon gear, Rode mic[rophones], DJI osmo Action, DJI drone, but you can really use anything for software and gear. Also - speaking English is a big skill in Japan! A lot of people want to work with people who speak English to either help translate or understand what is being directed ina creative, production, or business setting.



Biggest piece of advice?

Just start! If you're interested in doing something, it's important to just do it instead of watching videos about it or buying the best gear to prepare. Just plan to learn. Learning is always good and it's good to constantly be learning. And if you don't like it, you can just move on or you can invest as you go. But start and see if you really like it. It's definitely less important about what you have [equipment wise] and more important to just start.


If you've already been work on it, what's important as a creator is to keep putting yourself out there! Keep going to events, keep posting, keep showing your work.The more you meet people, the more ways you can get jobs.


What platforms are there for jobs [in Japan]?

Mostly word of mouth. Especially as a freelancer. Also getting connected through Instagram or Facebook groups work too! A common thing is when people, brands, or companies reach out to me through someone watching my videos. Another one is LinkedIn, but that's more if you are looking for a full-time job.


What is your dream opportunity?

I want to keep freelancing, but maybe having a video production company or creative company with my friends. I really just want to make passionate projects or things we believe in. I also want to travel more, and do travel filmmaking.


Extra Links to Meg's Work

BOOM TV: "Branded East Meets West: Koharu Sugawara"

"Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn on Difference Between Amazon's 'MakingThe Cut' and Project Runway

"People Just Do Nothing"

ワイングラス倒せますか?〜力士 vs コアラマットレス編〜

Meg's Adobe Workshop: #DesignJimoto event series