This is the time of year when we take stock of where we are, where we’d like to be and the gap that might be in between.
In our last blog, we noted that doing what you are doing will keep you in place. Expanding on that concept, doing what you are doing will also keep you from stepping up to the next level and beyond.
When I decided to start directing commercials in New York, I shared my strategy with a producer at a well-known ad agency. I was going to be the first woman to direct at a production company. I decided to focus on what I felt would be a good point of entry: i.e. commercials for shelf goods.
There was a plethora of those spots being produced every year and as a script supervisior at the production company that shot over half of them, I knew the genre, the producers and the creative teams. He agreed and then offered some advice that still resonates today:
“Just remember, you can’t get into Compton (Advertising) with a Compton reel. We always want to feel we are going to best ourselves with our next campaign.”
That advice informed the spots I wrote and directed for my sample reel. They broke the traditional “slice of life” model for shelf goods.
Ironically, my first directing job turned out to be a very traditional slice of life campaign!
My reel said I’d bring something fresh and new to the same old, same old and I guess I did because I got to direct more spots for them after that.
So, the big little secret in moving forward is not just being good at your current level of work, but also being good at the level on which you want to be..and good in a way that inspires people to risk choosing you. Yes, it’s a risk. Their jobs are on the line so help them help you. Give them something to cheer about because that first person now becomes your champion and has to convince others you will cover them all with glory.
In terms of representation – reads, demos and marketing that stop people in their tracks are no longer enough.
You also need marquee credits.
These are gigs that impress and serve as talking points for those who will be singing your praises.
The days of being automatically signed are disappearing. A honeymoon or test-drive is now quite common. Don’t take it personally. It’s a step in the right direction.
On a purely personal note, when I see postings, it’s mostly because they’ve been forwarded to me.
Enough railing about the business. It is what it is.
Concentrate on what you can actually do something about.
Too many reads just don’t hit the mark. Make sure what you are turning in will indeed stop people in their tracks.
Wishing all a Happy, Prosperous and Peace filled 2012!