Net Work: Fishing for A Job

One man’s journey from awkward conversation to 50 dollars

I always wanted to be two things as a child: A filmmaker and a professional wrestler. I’m now attending Shoreline Community College for one of those goals.
The moral of the story often comes last, but in this case, it should come first.

It’s simple, easy to remember, and accurate: Need work? Always, always, always tell strangers what you do.

In 2012, my wife and I attended a party. I knew only one person in attendence, whom I hadn’t seen in years. My wife knew nobody at all.

All the same, we chatted up every friendly-looking person about any topic that arose, and through a mutual love of filmmaker Joss Whedon, I met Jake.

Jake is a Navy man, and was on leave at the time. The film conversation naturally led to discussing working in film, and we soon both discovered that the other attended film school, though he had me beat by well over a decade.

Our conversation was evidently memorable enough that the man found me on Facebook.

After reading my Facebook updates about my progress in SCC’s Digital Cinema program, Jake started asking me to read through his scripts for him and give him notes.

As a writer, I absolutely cannot stand when somebody I’ve asked for advice sugar-coats every criticism. I want results, and I don’t care about my feelings. I told Jake as much, and he felt the same. He told me to be brutal.

I was. In a big, bad way.

Jake sent me a horror/comedy script and I tore it to shreds.

Thankfully, his request for honest criticism wasn’t a lie. He truly appreciated it. He thanked me and reworked the script over his next few months at sea.

Jake appreciated my honesty so much that, just recently, he offered me a job on the shoot of his now-completed script. Sadly, the shooting dates conflict with finals, so I won’t be working on his short.

I did however, land a gig as a Director of Photography and Camera Operator on his auditions in Portland. I drove seven hours there-and-back on a Saturday for 50 dollars, some gas money, and most importantly, experience.

I worked with fantastic actors who brought their all, even though several had never seen the script before that day. I got to use and handle lenses and lights that I could never afford and work in a professional environment for money.

All this happened because I decided to tell a man I didn’t know at the party of a friend I barely see why I was attending SCC.

A little networking, honesty, and good-ol’-fashioned conversation can go a long way.

I wonder what I would have done with my Saturday had I told him I wanted to be a pro wrestler.

As a writer, I absolutely cannot stand when somebody I’ve asked for advice sugar-coats every criticism.

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