Here is my advice on how to get ahead in any industry. It may not translate into actual dollars, but it’s worth more than that.
Change your idea of “networking”.
I would much rather play the long game, so to speak. If I can slowly get to know one good person as a real human being – even if it takes four or five years to be able to call them “friend” – I will invest in that opportunity over a party filled with celebrities and influential bosses any day.
Because what good are “connections” if they don’t even necessarily like you? There are thousands of people who do what you do, and they’re probably better at it. But to make a real friend, without any expectations – that’s unique.
To be able to have one person turn to you when they’re in trouble and know they can trust you to ask for help – that fills hearts and makes life-long impacts.
Connections for their own sake are empty, much like fame for fame’s sake. Unless you’re a sociopath, the feeling you get in your gut from using people is a sick and sour one.
But friends who help friends simply because they care – that’s a solid foundation for big things. Those are the real connections you’ll reap the benefits of in business and elsewhere for the rest of your life.
One of those relationships is worth one thousand shallow business card exchanges.
So when you’re at your industry conventions and festivals, I encourage you to skip a few official schmoozing events to pop out for a drink with the people you’ve met. That’s where you’re more likely to start something lasting.
I work in the commercial animation industry where, like the rest of TV and film, there is a major, inexcusable, and definitely not accidental gap when it comes to gender and creative leadership. Even now in 2015, when official policies state otherwise.
As someone who directs and plans to direct more and bigger, I’m personally offended – like a punch to the gut – when I go from studio to studio and see 100% men doing what I was made to do.
It’s a clear message to me that says, “You’re not allowed”.
Dear women in business,
Here is something I’ve been learning:
Now is the time.
Now it’s about time.
We need to show up at the door of the places we want to be and we need to stop asking permission to be there.
The men don’t ask permission. They assume it’s their right to be where they want to be. Let’s adopt that sense of privilege. There is no reason we shouldn’t.
I know for your whole career there has been some room you’ve been told you’re not allowed to enter.
You’re told this by having witnessed that no matter how qualified you are, only men get that job. Year after year, decade after decade.
I understand that after so long of being passed over, you eventually give up trying. The fight can become so tiring that it stops being worth it.
I’m telling you now that the winds are changing. The old boys are dying out and the “no girls allowed” clubs are no longer appropriate.
But official policies aren’t good enough anymore. They’re completely empty without action.
We need to start be bosses – we need to assume we can. And once we are bosses we need to hire each other as much as we hire men.
We can be our own worst enemies. And it’s not acceptable.
We will never make real, practical change unless we show up without apology, stop asking permission to be there, and work together as stepping stones for each other, toward real opportunities.
Most of us don’t show up for those opportunities, because we think we need to be the best before we even try. After all, if you become the first female boss in what you do, you’ll bee seen as an ambassador for all women. If you stink, we all stink, right?
Well, look around! There are all varieties of men who stink at their job and they don’t reflect on all mankind. They only reflect on themselves.
Their bar isn’t set nearly as high as the one we set for ourselves.
Half of them BS their way into the job and then fumble their way through it until they get good.
So, just go! Take one step forward with confidence. Learn. Compare merit to merit and that is all.
When anyone (men and women) tell you you’re being too bossy or too outspoken or forward, you make that your background music as you pass them by on your walk to success.
When they tell you you’re being paranoid, because this prejudice doesn’t exist, you pity them for the tiny bubble they live in and the small world view they have.
Now be good at what you do, represent yourself, and keep showing up at that door.
We are 50% of the human population and we are qualified.
photo by lightmonkey.ca
There’s a new theatrical circus called “Stand Up Eight”.
I’ve proudly written about them before, and I’m currently in the last steps of wrapping up their documentary. Since being financed by Dragon, W. Brett Wilson, I’ve had the honour of participating in the show through the making of their posters, graphics, logo, promo videos and the many incarnations of their behind-the-scenes documentary.
As an animator, it’s been an opportunity to stretch my wings and play with other mediums. I’ve discovered that I like it!
I’ve just watched the “Where Are They Now” episode of Dragon’s Den, which once again, focuses a lot on The Angels and “Stand Up Eight” circus. Not only is it exciting to be involved with these CBC stars, but now I also get to say that a whole few seconds of my documentary work has been aired on CBC! (Because in the end, we all know this is all about ME! …Isn’t it??)
You can watch the entire episode on the Dragon’s Den site:
In the merry month of July I had the privilege of running another animation workshop with the St. John’s Int. Women’s Film Festival’s FRAMED Workshops and “For The Love of Learning”. Over four days, this group of young adults practiced flip books, took turns at experiencing animating and flipping pages on light tables, watched some classic films, and then created a group film in stop-motion animation.
Our animation directors included:
Erin Power Granter (best name EVER)
Workshop assistants: Stephen Dunn, Karyn Dwyer
Out of the blue (and hopefully not into oblivion) comes my next film, “The Great Beyond”.
The film is in development and will be animated to the song of the same name, by one of my favourite musicians, the very talented and poignant Jacob Moon.
I’ve spent my most of my life staring off into space with glazed-over eyes, imagining all the things that feel<em> </em>as if they should be feeling as if I <em>should</em> be able to fly, or wondering at how the rules of time seem more foreign to me than those of eternity feeling as though my pasty, German skin just doesn’t fit quite right.
I’ve always longed for the past, present and future to compose themselves as “Just Is” (and, I suppose as “Justice”). I want that long and sluggish, straight timeline of events to coil itself up into a tight, little ball, showing me how #5 and #796 could together make sense of #40, and all work for the greater good, if I could just see it from the outside (as if my teeny brain could possibly comprehend “the big picture”).
…Jeez, I sure am getting awfully melodramatic in my old age.
To counter this recent existential meltdown, please take a break and refer to lighter posts, such as “Donkin Donuts”
or take a nice, long stare at a this cartoon.
So, how does one go about representing concepts of eternity in a four-and-a-half minute film? You’ll have to wait and see.
Note: my understanding of eternity is not that it’s a long event (a concept which is still working under the rules of time, but rather it might be all things, instantaneously. …I’m just sayin’.
In the mean time, here are some snapshots of development, to get you as pumped up about it as I am. Here’s just a little taste of what’s to come.
And now I’m off to take more photos of Hamilton’s pigeons and apply for funding.
My summer of chalking up busker festivals across the country was a great success. It was my first year of organized busking events and there were some steep learning curves to plow through, but the people and the places were a great joy. No where else can I meet such a diverse group of people in one room. Musicians, comics, contortionists, fire acts, freak show acts, magicians, visual artists, dancers, people who make bologna sandwiches with their feet, and combinations of all of the above — all in one world-wide, yet tightly knit community. It’s truly something to experience.
In a warm and dry climate I could continue drawing on the pavement, but winter hits hard in Canada. Now it’s time to focus on the other festivals. Film, to be exact. Be sure to watch for my updates on that front.