Make the Right Connections

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By Amy Rising, Chair Film

I would not have had a career in the film industry if it weren’t for the connections I made in school. Simply put, I met some people. I got a chance to work on a couple of student projects, then intern on a professional project and when I showed them what I could do, they said, “Hey, you’re really good! You should be working.” The next thing I knew, I was introduced to someone producing a show and it started my professional career. From that point on it’s been the relationships I’ve developed and the people I’ve met, that have lead me to virtually every job I’ve had in the film industry.

Since the beginning, the reason I have been working was based who I met, how I presented myself, and my work ethic. I’m not saying it has been easy for me or that it will be easy for you. What I am saying is, in this industry it’s as much who you know as what you know. Honestly, I don’t know how one would get his or her foot in the door without connections and networking with peers in the industry.

Today, I repay the help and mentoring I received by being a student advocate. I often get requests from people in my network who need to fill openings and I give them a list of personal recommendations directly pulled from our students. They know our students can do the job and I’m constantly told that our grads are better prepared for the real world compared to other applicants. Production offices are flooded with resumes and they rely heavily on referrals. Who do you think they are going to hire, someone who is self-taught and whom they’ve never heard of or someone who comes highly trained and highly recommended from a trusted source?

As an example, during one summer break I was Line Producing a feature film and I brought a couple of TFC students on to the project as interns. One of our interns was in Camera and I knew he would hit it off with our Assistant Camera. And they did. The AC took our guy under his wing, and really ended up being a mentor to him beyond the project. This student went on to work on one of the Hunger Games films and other features and his career has just taken off. Would it have happened without this introduction? Maybe. But it sure helped! That’s the kind of trust we have in our students and the kind of real-world connections that you get at TFC.

But film school is so much more than just who you meet. It’s also what happens to you when you work together with these people. There are many students walking in the door here that think they can do it all on their own. But anyone who has actually worked in the film industry will tell you it’s a collaborative business. Few people can successfully produce, write, shoot, act and edit alone. At Tribeca we teach you how to practice collaboration. You practice writing. You practice cinematography. But practicing collaboration is just as important. Whether you are a natural leader or follower you have to learn how to do both well. Because there are times you will be in a leadership role and other times you won’t. That is as true in this business as in life.

Tweet: “At Tribeca Flashpoint we teach you to understand others and yourself as part of a working team” – Amy Rising/ Chair Film #tribecaFlashpoint #film

At Tribeca Flashpoint we teach you to understand others and yourself as part of a working team. We show you how your actions and the actions of others impact the group as a whole. When that guy didn’t show up as promised or when that woman didn’t return that text, you start to understand how those actions really affect the group. You have to be accountable and pull your own weight and we give you the chance to practice that. This is invaluable training on how to act (and not act) out in the professional world.

Based on this experience you start to learn where you fit. You find the kind of people with whom you work best and these relationships can have far reaching consequences. We have many teams that develop out of TFC who go on to work together professionally. I can think of several groups who have recently gone on to start successful production companies of their own. And that is only the beginning!

This training in connecting, collaborating and self-awareness are vital “soft skills” that you won’t find in our brochure but are nevertheless some of the most important skills we teach at Tribeca. When we help you open up to new possibilities in yourself (and in others) we guarantee you will grow your skills, your career opportunities and most of all, your love of film.

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