Find Your Niche First
Starting at a young age, I discovered my passion for film, television, music, and the arts as a whole. From then on, I always knew that pursuing a career in the Entertainment Media field was my dream. However, I still didn’t know exactly what I was chasing after yet. I just knew I felt the best when I was creating; therefore, I needed to find a work environment that would encourage and appreciate my talents. A very vague statement that leaves room open for so many different avenues of the business. Even though I was intrigued by the entire production work, I had to choose a concentration. Do I want to be in front of the camera or behind? Photography? Videography? Do I want to write or focus on graphic design development? There are so many possibilities.
In my freshman year of college, I made a vow to myself: do everything. I wrote for a news publication, reported, anchored, wrote scripts, joined a theater troupe, directed film projects, managed social media accounts for several organizations, and created and produced an entire newscast for the university, all on top of starting a small photography business. My mission was to explore all of my options. I wanted to be sure that whatever decision I made, I would be happy with.
Finding your niche can be a challenging yet rewarding journey. With so many different concentration options, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. However, identifying your passion and strengths is a crucial first step in carving out a space for yourself in this competitive industry. Do you have a natural talent for storytelling, or do you excel in visual effects? Perhaps you have a strong background in music and sound design. Once you have identified your niche, it’s important to nurture your skills, network, and gain experience in your chosen area.
Never limit yourself. Test your boundaries and let go of any self-doubt. Exploring your creativity will eventually lead you to the place you’re supposed to be. Remember, success in the film industry takes time, patience, and hard work, but with dedication and perseverance, you can find your place in this exciting and dynamic field.
When All Else Fails, Pave Your Own Way
Out of all the things I’ve learned throughout my journey so far, this concept is what helped me the most. In any creative career field, the path is NEVER linear. Everyone’s route is different, and sometimes you’ll have to choose the road less traveled.
In undergrad, most of my friends were pre-med students, and they all knew exactly what they had to do to succeed. As long as they maintained a certain GPA, got into medical school, passed their licensing tests and board exams, and then completed their residency, they would achieve their goals of becoming a nurse or doctor. The path is very structured, and everyone pursuing these careers follows it.
Unfortunately, that structure was a luxury that was not afforded to me as someone tapping into the creative world. Everyone’s story is different. Considering that, It was difficult to find internships and leadership roles that would provide me with the experience I needed to become a competitive applicant for full-time jobs after graduation. I would spend hours and hours every day searching for the perfect resume-building opportunities but ran into one reoccurring issue:
Every job I found required several years of experience and portfolio examples that I didn’t have yet. It baffled me that these companies could expect so much from a young, freshly graduated professional. Wasn’t my four years of studying enough experience? If not, then what was the point of earning a degree if it wouldn’t even suffice for an entry-level position?
These questions were valid, but I didn’t have time to reinvent the wheel. I had to take matters into my own hands. Instead of depending on other people to give me opportunities to gain experience, I created them for myself. I wrote and shot my own stories to create my first reel, started my own newscast, and then hired a team of students to help run the ship.
Just like that, I gained the experience I needed simply by creating my own opportunities in the areas I needed.
Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith and take on solo projects. Employers love a tenacious go-getter with raw passion.