A career in film means a career of networking. I’m constantly trying to link people and meet people and find opportunities in any way that I can. The prior two months of summer felt bleak, with little hope for any success with my personal work, however, in the past week alone, my networking has gone from what felt like 0 to 100.
It all started last Tuesday. I was sitting in the dentist chair getting my teeth polished when my hygienist told my dentist that I was shooting a documentary. His interest peaked. Once I was sat back in the upright position, he ignored my health altogether and immediately began talking business. If all goes well, I will be shooting promotional film for his office! I know, it’s not dramatic narrative film, but it’s getting my name out there! (And honestly, I’m getting money, so I’m not complaining.)
Luckily, my mom let me help her office do some editing on some video that they had shot at some conferences. I didn’t think too much of it to start with, but after a meeting yesterday, I was offered a job to be flown to Chicago to actually shoot the next conference! It feels infinitely more prestigious when someone pays for travel and food. While I know it’s networking through my mom, it is giving me opportunities that I wouldn’t have, otherwise.
For living in Lincoln, Nebraska, it is a real struggle to find opportunities to be creative behind a camera, or to write, or to do anything remotely close to film and screenwriting. When the opportunities come my way (as a 21 year old) I have to take them. By the time I graduate in May, I will have a resume with narrative production, documentary work, editing, acting, directing, and screenwriting written all over it.
A year ago, I was an anxiety-ridden, unsure, unconfident artist. Sure, I was creative and I was certain that I wanted film and writing to be my medium to express myself, but I was afraid to mess with a camera, and push boundaries in my stories and characters. It is hard to be confident with little experience, especially in a field such as film and video. The past year at school has ignited some sort of fire under my toes.
In this moment, I have never felt more confident. People in my hometown are calling me because they’ve seen what I am capable of, and they want to support me. I have jobs lined up for the next five months, which is so satisfying. Networking used to terrify me, but now I thrive off of it. I love knowing that I’ve made an important connection.
If you are in a field that is based off of connections, it can be hard. It can be daunting. For me, although it is so flattering to be asked by my dentist to film for him, it is only because I know him. There are jobs out there I will never have, regardless of how qualified I am, because I don’t know the right person. That can be intimidating, but that shouldn’t stop you. Get out there. Let’s build webs!