A few weeks ago I was on Postchat, a weekly twitter-based discussion involving post-production artists around the globe, chatting about a preselected topic. The guest for that week was Ryan Case, a director and editor for the hit show Modern Family. Someone asked her for the best advice she received while working her way up. And then this popped up...
When I read that, it was a mixture of enlightenment and the feeling of someone ripping my heart out and throwing it in a trash can. On one hand, I was looking into the future, thinking about all the times I would, or at least should, talk to people, ask questions, listen, and actually have a conversation. On the other hand, I was looking at all the times I avoided eye contact from someone I knew, the times I didn't make a peep in fear of saying something stupid, the missed opportunities, the emails I never sent, the phone calls I never made, the tweets I never tweeted...you get the picture.
While I believe being shy does nothing for you in the film/tv/video industry, I think it rings true in every field out there. In whatever line of work you are in, if you want to get anywhere, you have to put yourself out there. It could be scary for many people, myself included at times, but that's how the world works. To get anywhere, it's not only the people you know, it's the people who know you. You have to not only network, but actually build relationships.
Speaking of networking and relationship-building, as video editor Kylee Wall so eloquently put it, don't be a d*** about it. Across the board, the advice given by many professionals worth anything good out there is simply this: BE A NICE PERSON.
Aside from some skill, being a genuinely nice person goes a long, long way. Heck, even Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a beast of a man made up of about 265 pounds of muscle has this to say:
So there you go. The secret to making a bajillion dollars* is don't be shy and be kind.
The shy part may be tough for some, but once you realize that people are not out to get you, and sometimes may actually WANT to help you out, it will literally be a life changing moment. And being kind, well, you either have it or you don't. If you don't, I highly suggest you work on that before putting your resumé together.
"I really wish I was more shy and I regret being really nice to everyone I've met," said no one ever. Ever.
Have any stories where being shy hindered an opportunity, or vice versa? Would love to see it in the comments below!
*I make no guarantee on the amount of money you will make. But if you do happen to make a bajillion dollars after reading this, we need to talk.