“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
— an Influencer, probably
On the brink of young adulthood, I spent all of my free time either watching movies or shooting + editing my own very low budget movies and music videos with a cheap point and shoot and Sony Vegas 9. With that cheesy cliche in my head, I wondered if I could actually make some money doing what I loved. Almost ten years later, I’ve found that turning a creative hobby into a career was a lot more work than that silly cliche would let on… Here’s a few tips I picked up when it comes to LA video production I wish someone else had told me along the way:
1. Immerse yourself
Seems obvious, but surround yourself with likeminded people — either IRL or online. I was fortunate enough to go to an art school in LA. I learned as much as possible from industry professionals who gave some firsthand accounts of working in the industry. Added bonus, I was literally surrounded by other nerds who wanted to do the same thing. A lot of my first gigs came from helping friends on their own projects and usually, one project led to another.
However, in an era where everything can be learned through some kind of tutorial online, going to an art school isn’t extremely necessary. Everything I learned in school, I ended up googling again, tbh. However, if you have no connections at all, it’s a good starting place to collaborate with people and to get assistance with job placement.
2. Don’t be a dick
Again, pretty obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how many people forget this. You could be the best in your field, but if you’re arrogant, rude, or inconsiderate, no one is going to want to work with you. Simultaneously, you’ll find that the LA video production world is much smaller than you realize; people talk. If word gets around you’re difficult to work with, they’ll find someone else to do the job. Get really good at what you do, and just be a nice person.
3. Make as many mistakes as possible early on
In your early career, do as much as you can, and fuck up as much as you can. Unless you’re a prodigy (
and you’re not because you’re reading this), you’re bound to make a mistake here and there. Learn from it, and apply that knowledge moving forward. Statistically, the more mistakes you make early on, the less you’ll make later on.
4. Art is never done, it’s just due
In the corporate creative world, deadlines are always insane. Learn how to make good creative choices faster. Try to separate intense personal attachment to your work; it helps your workflow go much faster. Save that passion for your personal projects.
5. Keep moving forward
Again, I cannot stress this enough, but turning a hobby into a career is fucking hard. Don’t let rejection get you down. Don’t compare yourself to your peers. Focus on yourself, and making your art better. Keep learning, keep striving for more.