Aizick Grimman is a mercenary for hire, but instead of a gun, he carries a camera.

The 29-year-old freelance cameraman and photographer decided five years ago to make his love of photography and films into a career working for the best — and toughest — boss he could imagine: Himself.

Since 2004 his career has seen him hired for more than a few adventures, like travelling across Canada filming tours of haunted houses and flying to the United Arab Emirates to cover an education conference and film a documentary. He is principle camera operator on the health and lifestyle show Fit and Fabulous for Rogers TV and he also does corporate filming work, which he says tends to be the most lucrative of all.

While he considers live camerawork his main gig, like most freelancers in their respective industries, Grimman puts on many other hats as well. He regularly works as a video editor for CBC Newsworld, does freelance still photography and teaches editing and camera work at Seneca College. Operating as a jack-of-all-trades in his field means he keeps a relatively steady work schedule.

“I’m lucky because with all the hats I wear I’m never really unemployed,” he said.

Starting out, Grimman says the biggest challenges were finding the confidence to move forward and being able to manage his finances. When he began freelancing, no one told him how much he should be charging or what a reasonable workday is supposed to look like and other freelancers were usually loathe to share their best advice and industry secrets.

These days he always keeps three months’ salary tucked away and says his biggest challenge is making sure he gets his due.

“You’re always fighting to be paid because you very rarely have a contract. The deal is almost always on a handshake and a nod. I’ve turned down jobs when I didn’t trust the person’s personality,” Grimman said.

He finished a degree in Sociology and Communications from York University and worked in social services for a year before realizing his love for media was a passion worth pursuing. He did a two-year Broadcast Television program at Seneca College in Toronto and set out to work as a freelancer.

The requirements of his job have seen him invest tens of thousands of dollars into equipment like cameras, lights and computers but he considers it all a part of running a business and shouldering the costs as well as the returns, something he says is ultimately rewarding.

“Because you have to fight for everything, you definitely feel like you’ve earned it. Your success is a direct result of your effort,” Grimman said.

Through it all, Grimman has learned that nothing beats honesty and hard work.

“Really freelance is about trust. When people trust you enough, that’s when you build clients,” he said.
Freedom and challenge are a bit part of why Grimman loves what he does.

“There’s so much freedom and creative control in what I do. I never feel like I’m stagnating,” he said.