While one would usually equate the word “community” with the idea of home, a common neighborhood, sharing – I am learning that understanding the intricacies of community very much applies to the business world (and for the purposes of my discussion, the film/entertainment industry). Not only is it “who you know” in this world, it’s even more so “who you form relationships with”. Being able to drop a name of reference in an interview is one thing, but it’s entirely another to have built a relationship/friendship in which both parties can potentially help each other in their business ventures in the future. Being well-liked in the community of this industry is essential – because it’s usually what people have heard about you (whether or not they’ve even met you!) that forms impressions in Los Angeles. That being said, the people who are the most well-liked are those who are true to themselves and speak their minds, while understanding how important and how powerful a thing it is to simply be pleasant to others.
There is endless pressure on the people in this industry to “network” – which is just a creation of a verb that really describes forming your own community within this crazy business. I have found that in film music especially, there are really only a handful of major players who handle most of the big-name films.
In such a tightly-knit community, it is exceedingly important to keep up relations with each other in order to avoid alienating yourself and missing out on important insider info into the ever-shifting world of filmmaking. Of course this creates some interesting dynamics, because the major players of this community are usually competing with each other for jobs. But there is sort of an unspoken agreement I’ve seen between music supervisors out here, and that’s “May the Best Man/Woman for the Job Win” – or in the case of some projects: “May He/She Who Is Crazy Enough To Take This Job Win”. Incidentally, I’ve also found that music supervision seems to be quite balanced between males and females, there isn’t one gender of music supervisors that outweighs the other (whereas most directors are male). But that’s a discussion for another day!
In my very small sphere of this world, as I start my new job as a Music Coordinator/Assistant (basically a junior Music Supervisor) I am learning that networking with and getting to know my fellow assistants is mandatory to my success in climbing the ladder – because they are climbing the same ladder with me. Some day we will be in charge, and when we are I want to be sure and be known as a kind and hardworking person who brings joy and a pleasant atmosphere to all those around me. The way to start building that reputation is now – with all of the future big-shots who are still currently in my shoes.
I am beginning to see more and more that you also must be careful about who you choose to let into your inner circle. Like a spider web, a network in the film industry has different levels of closeness to the center. It’s important to know where certain contacts belong on that web – just in case someone is not as trustworthy as they might at first seem to be. This is difficult for me because I can be too trusting sometimes, but if you’re paying attention it’s pretty easy to see through the superficial veil and read a person accordingly.
Most importantly, I am trying to remember to have fun while making these connections – it’s too easy to look at something as strictly business when in reality I could be making lifelong friends if I keep my outlook open to it. This new job is opening up a world of possibilities, and I feel so lucky and excited to see where they take me. Until I figure it out – I will be reporting and working through these things with my Sundown Community, another family I have grown to love. Until next time!