Getting yourself out there can be hard to do, especially if you are new to the industry. When I first started creating and working in my field, I kept a lot of my work to myself and only showed it when asked. I unfortunately adopted the 'only speak when you are spoken to' mentality. I was very introverted.
Networking, to me, was a monster I wasn't quite ready to face and that showed to my potential clients. I wasn't closing deals or getting placements. I knew I had skill and that my music was unique, but I didn't understand why I was just getting praise and not profit.
I had to learn the hard way, that I had a voice and I should share it every second.
Along the way, I learned a lot from other shakers and creators and now I want to give you all some tips.
1. Go to events outside of your immediate field.
Yup, the first tip is to get up and GO.
Being introverted and having social anxiety is something that has prevented me from putting myself out there for a while. So, when I decided to go to a convention with nearly thirty thousand 30,000 attendees, I thought "What have you gotten yourself into?" but in the back of mind I had to remind myself that I love the anime genre. I love the arts. This is something I love, as a fan, and also an industry that I want to work in as an artist.
It was frightening, but worth it. For a Music Composer, being in the center of anime, game and TV fans was glorious. I made tons of contacts. I even met a fresh game developer who was working on their first animation!
So, get out there, introverts. Try to surround yourself with people who are different! By doing this, you will meet hundreds of potential clients and partners. You will not only expand your network, but you will create and sustain life long friendships!
OK, I know you are not itching to go to Anime conventions or Comic conventions, but think about it for a second...
What conventions, seminars or events can you go to that will help you meet other creatives?
2.'Social' Network with a Purpose.
If it is one thing I can not cannot stand, when it comes to social media, is those 'Twit-Bots'. You know what I am taking about. Those people who 'follow back' and end up with 10k followers and are following 10-15k. Or the people who mention to you about their marketing strategy or new book every hour on the hour. That screams spammers and fakes. As someone who values friendship and partnership, it rubs me the wrong way and seem so fake.
Please, network with a purpose. Build relationships. Interact with those in your friend list.
You are a person, so act like it!
Message a few people!
Here is what I want to know about you all.
What are your top three favourite books?
3. Business Cards
When words fail -
Some folks will claim that business cards are old fashioned, but I must disagree. You never know when you will be next to somebody who needs music for their indie film or need art for their project.
Let me tell you, I was working at a hospital ages ago and my co-worker's brother needed music for his proposal video. I gave him my business card and he not only gave me the opportunity to have background music for his video, but he gave my information to his friend who was shooting a film.
Always keep your contact information handy. Have your portfolio ready for online view. Keep your references updated.
4. Speak Up
I know this seems obvious, but you will be surprised how many people forget that word of mouth is the most effective form of promotion!
For a while, I would stay quiet about my skill as a composer and my work in graphic design. I said "I'll start promoting when I'm good enough". Well, I never achieved perfection and you won't either.
YOU will never be perfect. To be perfect is to stop growing and learning.
Go out and speak your truth, even if you suck.
You can't stay silent if you want to get paid for your art. Do not be afraid to promote yourself. Have confidence in yourself, your brand, vision and future!
5. Do Not Let Fear Drive You
I received my degree at the age of 26. I was a two-time college dropout. I was smart. I graduated at the top of my class and received a full scholarship to University the first time around. Intelligence wasn't the problem. It was that I was afraid of asking for help. I was afraid to get help for my grief. By not speaking up and fighting on my own, I let so many opportunities go to waste.
For so long I procrastinated because I thought that my work had to be perfect. It must be amazing. However, once things started to take shape, I gave up. I gave up because I was afraid of actually making it. Yeah, it sounds wacky, but I was self-sabotaging. I was waiting for an opportunity and when it came I felt like I wasn't worthy.
Maybe you feel the same? I'll tell you what the amazing Sierra Boggess told me, "You are enough. You are so enough. It's unbelievable how enough you are."
You are here in this moment.
Your voice matters.
6. Take A Break
You are human and you need to take care of your body. Mental health is so important. So, while you are grinding and dishing out project after project ,please keep your health in mind. Sometimes, taking a step back and ASKING for help is what brings out the best creative wise.
Mental health is important. It plays an important role in your physical health and your mind.
You have one shell. One mind.
Take care of it.
About Neeko Freeman
Neeko is a media and stage composer and screenwriter from Baltimore, MD. She focuses on dramatic works when it comes to her writing and tends to incorporate most, if not all, genres of music.
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