Finding a foothold in the socially-narrow “not-what-you know-but-who-you-know” recruitment culture.

22Nov11

Network, network, network…that is the biggest thing that I took away from this week’s reading – this is in no way a new idea for me but the reading served to reinforce the idea.  Another key point that I focused on was the idea that you must manufacture authenticity; this is so very true…your network and talent may only carry you so far if you cannot convince that network and the people that you will meet that your perceived talent is worthwhile to invest in.  “It is, in other words, not only about being good at something – it is also about carefully cultivating that image of being good.”1

I took a look at the creator of Johnny Bravo, Van Partible, and he had this to say on these ideas, ““In order to break into the…industry, you really have to have a good portfolio. That’s the first step: It’s knowing your craft, and then, being a person other people would want to work with.”2  He went on to say that a large portion of the jobs available, you may get through the people that you know.  “You can get your foot in the door if you have a really good portfolio but staying long in the industry is by who you know, and how you get on to the projects. Reliability is key. If you have talent and you’re reliable, you’re someone people would want to hire…”.2

I may personally also confirm these ideals from my experiences as a director for stage.  The professional image/mask that you wear as you manage artists is one that has to instill confidence in your role as a leader and as someone that they wish to work with and have fun developing a production through the course of the production process.

One example of my failing to understand these ideals was when I directed a production where the actors where much older and more experienced than myself.  I allowed myself to be intimidated by these artists and although we ended up having a marvelous production, my role as the director was diminished because at times I allowed the actors to take over the production because I did not place enough confidence in myself to lead them and they perceived this weakness and took advantage of it.

My point is simple, you must also instill in others an image of confidence, of being good even when you are lacking confidence, and you are as much putting on a performance for the artists that you are working with as you as the director are trying to elicit the best performance from your actors.

I leave you with my snarky sense of humor poking fun at our art, “in the end, the performing arts are really still all about smoke and mirrors.”

Russell McGee

1M. Deuze, MediaWork, (Polity Press, Malden, MA, 2007), pp. 240.

2 N. Tomada, Johnny Bravo creator is proudly Pinoy, WWW Document, http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=750601&publicationSubCategoryId=70

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