RJD, Your situation is unf



Your situation is unfortunately the norm. If you look at most of the job posting sites, there is a tidal wave of offers for ‘recent college grads’. That’s code for: we want to use you up and we don’t want to pay. As one of those ‘awful contractors who charge too much money’ I recently got a reply from a potential client, “We appreciate your enthusiasm for our project, but we’ve been in business for 19 years and we are looking for individuals who are looking for fresh experience in the production industry.” Translation; “We know you are a seasoned pro and we’d have to pay you.”

Grinner’s right about having to pay dues, but you’ll pay them in your own way. I got into the biz through the military and unlike the civilian industry, I went from grip trainee to full producer in 18 months because I had an aptitude for it and pushed hard as hell. When I transitioned to C-Villian life, I thought that having a deep background in real-world production would translate easily into a solid career. It did, but not the way I thought. Nobody would hire me. HR’s would take one look at my resume’ and run for the hills like they saw Herman Munster! I talked to a friend and colleague who was a reservist and still worked in the industry. In the service he was a top of the line producer/director/DP. In hollywood it had taken him 14 years to finally get to 1st camera. He told me point-blank that ‘when people see your experience, they either can’t believe you’ve done so much in such a short time or they get scared and think you’ll take their job from them.’

I wanted to stay in ‘the family business’ so I started my own Co. It hasn’t been easy, but for me it was the proper path. I think Grinner’s path is terribly optimistic, but it worked for him. Your path will be different. Where it won’t be different from any of our paths is you’ll have to work hard, constantly train and put up with mountains of BS until you get to Grinner’s ‘promised land’ of “Six figure salaries and self-empowerment.” You may be one of those people who step on the ‘luck landmine’ and blow-up right off the bat. More than likely, it will be on long hard slog that will be lit only by your passion for the work.

Be advised: when you work for a company as an intern, they are completely in the driver’s seat. Right now, they are ‘getting the milk for free’ so be prepared for the high possibility of Bircat’s ‘chewing up and spitting out’ scenario. However, should they do the honorable thing and hire you for all your hard work more than likely they will just say, ‘we’re offering you X take it or leave it.’ No matter what the number is ask yourself; can I live on my own on this salary? Can I deal with these people on a daily basis? Can I grow with this outfit or should I have a back-up plan ready?

Most students straight out of college are so keen to get work, they don’t ask themselves those questions. When you become an employee, by contract you become a ‘bonded servant’. To paraphrase a Steven Segal line, “Most masters are ungrateful….” Can you serve a potentially ‘ungrateful master’ to the best of your ability? You better be sure.

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