Lately, I have been talking to some industry friends of mine about their career philosophies and techniques for getting work. And while everyone has a different take on how they approach their careers, one fact to getting work seems to remain true among most all of them: Being busy seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The individuals who go from one job to the next and have their year of work ahead planned out seem to further benefit from the very fact that they are busy. I was speaking with a good friend of mine who is a well respected Hollywood producer and he was discussing hiring crew for a film. The director of a film he is working on said he wanted to hire a specific production designer and that they had to make this person an offer early because they are busy. They wanted to “lock them in” early so they would not lose them to another project six months from now when they would actually need their services. In turn, my producer friend said he wanted to bring in and introduce a sound designer that the director had not worked with before and he was able to use the “busy” argument for her as well, even though she would not be needed until post-production even further down the line.
You see, this sound designer is busy. She seems to go from film to film. Some of her films you have never heard of. Some go to Sundance every year. Some of her work even stretches into the video game world. Regardless of the type of project, the very fact that she is always working puts her in a position to get an early offer for more work.
The executive producer said, “Well…she is always busy, so she must be good. Let’s get her.”
I have always felt that there is a fine line between being busy and building a credit list that is respectable and ever-increasing in size and scope. I have carefully chosen the projects I have worked on and have gone after specifically because I want each project to not only be one people respect, but to also be bigger in budget and scope than the last one. But there is a fine line: One can’t let the fear of remaining stagnant in their careers keep them from getting work, either. There has to be some middle ground.
I do not subscribe to the philosophy that you never turn down work. Sometimes the film or project may not be a good fit for you creatively and if your career is going to be hurt by your involvement, perhaps it is not a project worth taking on. Also, you may have certain financial obligations that prohibit you from taking some jobs that may—how should I say this?—require you to become an investor in the film. We have all been there.
Then again, if you are not busy and the phone isn’t ringing as much as you would like (especially in this economy), perhaps being busy, regardless of the type of project, would be a good thing. It creates momentum. Being busy creates demand for your work. As humans, we subconsciously see what everyone else is getting and we want that, too. Ultimately, you do want to create demand for yourself and your music, and perhaps the simple act of being a busy composer, regardless of what you are busy with… will do that for you.
What are your thoughts on being busy? Tell me in the COMMENTS below.