“Seek those who find your road agreeable, your personality and mind stimulating, your philosophy acceptable, and your experiences helpful. Let those who do not, seek their own kind”
- Jean Henri Fabre
One thing we all learn eventually is how much easier it can be to move forward when we have the willing support of those around us. No one succeeds in a vacuum. In the visual effects industry networking can make all the difference. One simple comment or email to the right person can launch an avalanche of events in your favor. It’s time to move away from the feast or famine mentality. It’s time to make networking a habit.
Understand, there are people out there who genuinely want to help you succeed. They may be close friends, acquaintances, family members, coworkers or industry leaders. They might not even know who you are, but they probably know someone who does.
Let me give you an example; early in my career I mentioned to someone in a casual conversation my interest in stage lighting. That person said to me, “I have a friend that just got a job doing that.” I asked if he thought he could speak to his friend for me and find out how he got hired. Next thing I know I get a call not from his friend but the owner of the company he worked for offering me a job at the same studio lighting company. That led to a series of other related projects. These were amazing gigs!
"Yeah, but I don't want to do stage lighting!"
Understood; the point is, people want to help you. If they see you have a desire to learn and passion for visual effects they will make the effort to put you in touch with the right people. The key is to get your name out there and let people know you are interested.
How do you do that?
There is no shortage of books on the subject of networking for professionals. Here’s a list of my favorites:
- Smart Networking; Attract a Following in Person and Online by Liz Lynch
- Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How for business and Career Success by Anne Baber
- Social Networking for Career Success: Using Online Tools to Create a Personal Brand by Mirium Salpeter
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Highly Effective Networking: Meet the Right People and Get a Great Job by Orville Pierson
- Who’s Got Your Back; The Secret to Finding the 3 People Who Will Change Your Life by Keith Ferrazzi
- Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Under-Connected by Devora Zack
- I’m at a Networking Event, Now What? A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Any Networking Event by Sandy Jones-Kaminski
- Networking Awesomely: The Least You Need to Know by Colin Wright
- Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need by Harvey Mackay