Surround yourself with smart people. Observe them, engage them, but do not stalk them. An average of 22,000 new graduates hit the streets in the summer in LA and New York looking for media or entertainment positions. They feel they are educated, trained and can tackle any project given to them and believe they should be given those projects. Be careful of entitlement. The truth is the faster you realize you do not know it all and that others do things and see things differently the faster you will advance as your own unique creative genius. You may have the highest of goals for succeeding but how you get there takes collaboration, on the job training, and an huge dose of humbleness. Surrounding yourself with knowledgeable industry savvy people by building your contact list is essential. But refrain from stalking and capitalizing on the time of your mentors and those willing to lend you a hand up. They have their own projects and jobs to do. Find your own unique path and story to your success and remember when you are at the top of your profession that someone gave you a hand and reciprocate.
Failure is good. Get use to it, do it often and quickly and move on. You won’t succeed unless you risk. The less attachments, debt, and responsibilities you have the easier it will be to take chances, fail, and start again. Sometimes pressures and responsibilities can also fuel your fire to produce. In either case don’t wait until it is always safe. Someone will be there instead of you and they will succeed. Sometimes you really do just have to go for it. Get sound advice from those smart people you are surrounding yourself with and make a decision. Once you have attempted and failed then learn from it. See the flaws, dust yourself off, and move past it. When you get depressed, read about all the men and women who failed and how many times they failed before they succeeded. Then do it again a different way.
If given a chance, be prepared and make it count! Success is where talent meets focused hard work before that momentarily open door slams shut. Each day is an opportunity given to you to do something, meet someone, read something, or learn something that can help your career. Wasting time is not an option and is for losers. Call people you do not know, attend an event or conference, ask for things you need, and be an interesting person. No one wants to be around dull boring people. If I have to be in an editing suite or on a set with you for 12 hours a day, I am going to hire people that I want to be around. Are you that person? Have a life but be prepared for that open door or it may be hitting you in the ** as you leave.
Don’t lock yourself into someone else’s schedule. Are you a night worker or a day worker? How much sleep do you need to function? How much do you need to focus and be creative? We all have different rhythms. Sometimes with entry level jobs we have to work outside of these time zones to learn and grow. You can adjust for a while if it gets you somewhere and advances your career and knowledge. Whatever that flow is, make sure you deliver the goods. Don’t use time as an excuse for your poor planning, in ability to make hard choices on how you use your time, and miss a deadlines. Success and advancement comes when you meet your deadlines and over deliver what they were expecting. Don’t tell me about the labor pains I want to see the beautiful baby delivered.
Get comfortable with change, it’s the only constant in the industry. The media industry is vastly different from what it was when I was a kid and the truth is in this present technological hurricane culture we live in today it is not the same as it was last year, last month, or yesterday. Devices are continually being updated, platforms for delivery are changing, and the rules of engagement change hourly. Your biggest advantage is to be on the cutting edge of change and be creative enough to create yet more change. Find the new talent, new perspective, new…? Then bring it to life and make it work. And if you aren’t that creative, find that person who is and glue yourself to them. We all need collaboration.
Creative initiative, content, and ideas rule. Creative ideas, new approaches, and insights drive the media and entertainment industry. How do you match up? How are you defining the culture with your artistic talent? We may have a new technical device introduced to us each day, but it’s creative content that rules. Technology is the flesh but content is the blood. Where do you find yours? What are you reading, listening too, observing, or engaging in to feed your creativity? If you do not know then figure it out and then guard it like a soldier. Take a risk, be vulnerable and step out and produce, direct, write, perform, and create that which lies within you.