A couple weeks ago, I talked about reaching out and taking opportunities as they come. At this stage of my life, where and when I am, stuff sort of rains on me. I have to turn things down constantly. I'm not bragging--especially since almost all of it is unpaid. But I constantly hear from younger students who are looking for more opportunities, paid or not, to cut their teeth on the business and processes of filmmaking. Many of these students even go so far as to email people like me personally.
Here's my response to one such recent email:
...whenever you find an opportunity to work on something, drop everything and go do it. It's helpful to bug people in a systematic way, too. For instance, it's certain I won't remember that you, specifically, are looking for set experience the next time I'm looking for people to help out on a project. So keep track of who you've asked, and then ask them if there's anything you can help out on every month or so. Once you get on set, you'll meet a whole bunch of people, and if you're proactive, you can usually easily find more opportunities from there.I'll stand by that advice. I think it's good. But there's a better way.
It's knowing what kinds of resources to keep your eye on. I think this is a decent blog, but of course it's just one venue. For BYU students, I would strongly suggest finding a way to follow film.byu.edu, so that you know immediately when it updates.
Let me put it another way: It would be ABSURD not to.
Do you have a system of keeping up with online resources? I'm talking about RSS feeds, here. If you don't know what those are, I'm probably the wrong person to explain them, but the short of it is that setting up a feed reader (I use Google Reader, for instance) is a must.
Here's how it works--you remember to check up on one thing every day, and that one thing (your feed reader) updates you on all the other things you most certainly won't be able to remember to follow consistently on your own.
There is no excuse, in this era of almost total digital connectivity, to be out of the loop when it comes to local opportunities to get involved in filmmaking. All it takes is learning and using the tools.
So, as a re-cap, here's what you should do:
- Go set up a Google Reader account (or another feed reader of your choice)
- Learn how to use it (Google is wonderful with tutorials)
- Subscribe to the film.byu.edu blog (if you're a BYU student)
- Subscribe to 2190
- Subscribe to the xkcd webcomic, because it's awesome
- Subscribe to whatever else your eager heart desires (every blog has an RSS feed, and so does almost every website)
- Faithfully check your Google Reader (or other feed reader of your choice) daily
This is something about which I feel pretty passionate. Some of my best film-related experiences have resulted directly from following film.byu.edu closely; I am a huge advocate of feed readers in general, and Google Reader in particular. This may come off sounding overly bold, but trust that I am entirely sincere when I tell you that, in my estimation, feed readers are nearly as important as email accounts. Please take a moment to consider that, and then take a few more moments to go set one up if you haven't already.
Do you use a feed reader? If so, which one? What are your most valuable/awesome subscriptions? Please, share in the comments below.