It was also fascinating to hear what some of my fellow graduates were up to and the kind of obstacles they've encountered. Some really good points:
- You are not above internships (especially if you're into the casting, production or postproduction aspects of film). You gotta do what you gotta do to get your foot in the door.
- Some internships are not worth it. Choose wisely.
- Patience is a virtue. most people who stick with it eventually make a name for themselves, be it in two years or twenty.
- Be aware of your shortcomings. If you can't write, there's no shame in hiring a writer.
- Network. Obvious, but easily overlooked by those who tend to prefer to let their work speak for itself (this particularly applies to screenwriters, who tend to be a tad more antisocial).
- Don't be afraid to knock on doors, cold call or approach people. It's intimidating, but vital.
- Be humble in the face of adversity. Some gigs or credits may not seem worth the trouble, but experience toughens you up for when you have to fight for the projects you really care about.
- Assholes tend to burn their own bridges. You'll have to work with them sooner or later, so weather the storm until you can move on.
- Do not squander your time in film school.
- Keep your eyes on the prize. Take a day job if you have to, but don't forget that it's just a stepping stone.
Afterwards, we discussed ways of enhancing the experience for current students. Many good solutions were suggested. I wish some of them had been even considered while I was a student.
It's amazing to realize that even though it's been a couple of years since I graduated, in many ways I'm in the same spot these future graduates are in trying to get ahead. I just have a little bit more experience to be able to look back. I love being able to provide some sort of assistance or guidance in any way I can, and I hope that what was said by my fellow panelists is helpful and/or inspiring to them.