Guys, I’m an adult.
I know because of two reasons.
1) Yesterday, I wore white pants and didn’t spill anything on them.
2) Today, I went to my first ever real networking event.
It was like a whole new world. For me, it’s pretty easy to walk right up to people and say hi. But to be put in a room to do that—on purpose?
Eh…a little awkward.
But it ended up being a lot, a lot of fun.
Actually, I had a ball.
And I learned a few things too.
I’ve mentioned it before, but this summer I’m in a LA study “abroad” program with my university. Tonight was the program’s five year reunion dinner.
I talked to quite a few people, but the first person that really struck me was a wonderful young woman not too much older than myself. She did the program a few years ago and knew she wanted to live out here; now she’s currently out in LA doing her thing, working with ABC network, and making it on her own. The jaw dropper? She graduated college in two and a half years.
Me and the other girls talking to her were completely fascinated, and floored. Of course I asked: How?
“I made it happen.”
After interning in California, she knew she wanted to finish school but she knew she wanted to get out here as fast as possible. She met and talked to who she needed to talk to, she managed to get the big signature (they originally told her it wasn’t allowed), and she somehow survived nine classes every semester for two semesters (I can barely survive five). Somewhere between her telling us about her journey and me asking how she was so fearless, she replied:
“I don’t like rules. But I don’t like cheating, either. It’s all about winding your way through and then in.”
She told us when she got to LA, she had already been calling ABC for a period of time telling them, “Look, I’m coming to California in a month. Here’s my qualifications. Can you get me an interview?” They said they couldn’t promise, but she didn’t give up. The day she got to Cali, she called them saying, “Hey, it’s me. I’m coming in now, I’m here,” and then finally landed an interview. She didn’t get the position she wanted, but she did get a position starting with the company.
With that being said, I was definitely filling up on inspiration and taking mental notes from her as she talked, and I got this:
You don’t have to break the rules. But to stand out, you have to bend them.
The next guy I talked to was awesome. When he asked me what I want to do, I gave him my usual rundown:
1. I started making YouTube videos eight years ago.
2. I fell in love with development, pre-production, production, post production, engaging an audience and being on camera, and marketing—because I had to do all of it myself.
3. Now I love every step of creating videos and series and movies, which is a bust, because where do I start? I want to do all of it.
He gave me the best advice ever.
“Then do it. All of it.”
He told me about his journey as well; how he’s currently a writer and producer who also acts and is looking to make it in that way as well.
I got super excited because—well—same.
Finally, someone who understands!
When I asked him how to go about it this, because it’s generally frowned upon, he told me something like this:
“You have to put yourself out there. When people ask, you have to be honest and say, ‘Hey, this is all of what I want to do. I want to do all of this and act too.’ Then when an opportunity arises, you’ll be there, and people will have you in mind.”
It’s true. That’s how doors are opened.
And just by listening to these wonderful people and their great advice tonight, doors were opened for me just by listening and learning.
It all starts with a little bit of belief, a little bit of knowledge, and a little bit of inspiration.