01 June 2009

When Careers Collide

It's interesting the similarities in commercial print work and writing. It's seems to me that they're both professions where you either get it or you don't.

I've modeled for years, and I have to say it took some figuring out in the beginning. My agent certainly didn't hold my hand and tell me how to book more work--I had to watch the pros around me, look at their resumes and portfolios and figure it out for myself. Early on I did a lot of small stuff just to get photos and clips. Those experiences not only seeded my resume, but gave me the confidence I needed to land bigger jobs. You learn protocol. Don't offer shot suggestions unless you are asked. Don't sit in the client's clothes. Do what you're told and be happy about it. Sure, I made a few mistakes but I learned from them. And I also learned that if you want to get anywhere in the business, you had to HUSSLE.

I took classes on auditioning techniques and acting. I made sure I was being considered for every possible professional job I could find. It's a numbers game, so for every twenty submissions, you might get nine auditions and book five of those jobs. And that's an extremely successful model for Northern California. I'm lucky I figured it out-- I got it. I have shot more than anyone I know as a result. It's not because I'm so amazingly awesome, but because I have worked really really hard at it.

A lot of the same rules apply to writing. You have to know what you're doing before anyone will take you on, and that takes classes and networking. It takes patience and time. Getting my proposal together is so reminiscent of putting together my portfolio it's eerie. And while feedback is important, I think listening to the right people is more important. It's everything in fact.

I do not strive to be the eccentric "artist/writer" lady with 10,000 self-published books in her garage because she couldn't take advice or follow protocol or listen to anyone. That's just not an option.

After all, I live in San Francisco. Where would I keep them?

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