I was reading a book by a screenwriter.
When he first got to Hollywood he was told that he must have an agent.
So he went to see one.
He’d heard that she was very good.
He showed her his work and went through his CV.
He thought it was a bit strange.
Because he wasn’t interviewing her, she was interviewing him.
And eventually she said, “Okay, I’ll be your agent.
But you have to understand something.
I represent a lot of famous, important people.
They take up a lot of my time.
You aren’t famous or important yet.
So, if you want me to do stuff for you, you have to make it happen.
You have to get on the phone, the fax, the email, whatever, all the time.
You have to get in my face 24/7.
You have to pester me so much you make me hate you.
Because, otherwise, I’ve got a lot of other things that will take priority.
I’ll be thinking about them, and they’ll get all my attention.
So, unless you bug the hell out of me, I’m going to forget about you.
And this relationship isn’t going anywhere.”
That was a big lesson for him.
He thought that just by being a good writer, she’d do the work for him.
She said, no she wouldn’t.
If you want me to do the work you have to make me do the work.
That’s your job.
I often tell that story to people looking for a job.
You may have a good portfolio.
But you can’t sit back and wait for the job offers.
You have to do whatever it takes to get on the radar.
Often it isn’t even the portfolio that a creative director’s judging.
It’s the energy and commitment.
Often that’s what separates you out from the crowd.
Everyone’s got pretty good portfolios nowadays.
So, as they say in New York, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
Naturally, we want everyone to like us.
So does everyone else.
We don’t want to upset anyone.
So, in that situation, us and our competitors are all quite liked.
No one is disliked.
We’re all nice.
Which means there’s nothing to choose between us.
So the employer doesn’t choose between us.
He or she chooses the one that stands out.
By applying energy and desire to the situation, we may turn off a lot of people.
But, in order to get a job, we don’t need a hundred people to quite like us.
We just need one person to love us.
Even if ninety nine people don’t like us.
That way, instead of always coming second, we finish first once.
That way we get a job.
Now that’s good advice.
And that’s what I tell people.
But the trouble with giving advice is that everyone’s looking for a formula.
A simple tip.
Something that, if you do this, it always works no matter what.
And this isn’t that.
Here’s the bad news.
You still have to think.
There isn’t a simple formula that gives you all the answers.
Something that allows you to switch off and go on autopilot.
What there is out there are lots of advice.
What you have to do is listen to everything.
Keep the bits that work for you.
Leave the bits that don’t.
Nothing is original or totally new.
Everything is different combinations of what went before.
So the advice you choose to accept, and the way you put it together, will be a different combination to everyone else.
And that new combination will be you.
The important thing as that whatever you choose energises you.
It excites you.
But to do that, you have to choose it.
Then you have to own it.
You have to take responsibility for it.
So choose some advice and try it.
If it doesn’t work, try something else.
That’s what I did.
Keep trying things until I found something that worked for me.
And that’s all the advice anyone else can ever give you.
What worked for them.
No one can tell you what’s going to work for you.
You have to find that out for yourself.
As the say in New York, “If you’re looking for a prince, you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs.”