Another morning, which means another day of work. But the question is how to go about it?
Believe it or not, I try to wake up to either Rick Ross’s Hustlin or the equally-themed go-getter anthem Hustle by Ace Hood every morning just to get my mind right! Work by Meek Mill featuring Rick Ross is a close third.
Not doing it for you? That’s okay. You can go on and listen to something else to get your creative AND go-getter juices flowing. But the point is while you were sleeping, the other guy was out there doing his or her thing. And you wonder why the hell they’ve gotten ahead in the game and you haven’t.
Welcome to the brand new hustle! And it’s essential for every screenwriter or creative mind out there hoping to make it to the big leagues!
Whether you are in Hollywood, Bollywood, or Nollywood (my hood for now), you must have realized that recently the creative side of filmmaking has changed a lot – more so in the past 15-20 years. Thanks mostly to the emergence of the internet and social media. Not to be outdone, the business side of the game has also undergone an evolution. Now, you need to understand and master both sides if you want to get ahead.
In Nigeria there’s a colloquial saying: “I betta pass my neighbor!”
This statement fuels much of the individual drive and creativity found within the country as people strive to be better than the person next to them, oftentimes by any means necessary! The same applies to the entertainment industry, which means it applies to creative minds as well. The rags to riches stories are over. The people that are making it don’t just have talent but also the drive to push forward. So what you need to do is to become well rounded with your creativity AND your creative hustle. Make sense?
Here are some ways you can make it happen:
WHO YOU ARE
Your name is your worth. Value means everything in the entertainment industry. Festival wins, projects, titles held on set, etc. Who you are and what you do is about making a first impression that says you’re capable, dependable, and above all professional. If you think your name opens some doors, run with that. If it doesn’t, build on it. Say what you do, and do what you say!
HOW YOU ACT
Basically, you have to learn to be a team player. Also, pick your battles and know when to fight for your project or let it slide. In an industry this fickle, trust me, you are very replaceable so try
not to burn too many bridges or cop and attitude that you’re a difficult person to work with. A lot of people talk, but only a few put words into action.
WHO YOU KNOW
Networking is key (especially social networking) so use it to your advantage. With access to millions of people online you can get your name out there quicker virally than on a street handing out business cards, or even samples of your work.
I heard from one of my old screenwriting buddies recently. Two years ago he was completely new to the whole world of filmmaking. We got to talking and now he’s now an executive producer on some big-budget Egyptian movie currently in pre-production. He’s gotten himself into this position by spending the whole of last year going to industry workshops and events, and got to know people, and connected with them. Basically, all he’s been doing is making friends. The big contact who was the most helpful he met at a bar not far from where he lives in Cairo!
So, for those of you who feel you don’t stand a chance because you don’t live in Tinseltown (whichever one you think is closest to you), it can be done, because you’ve still got other ways of networking. You just have to make an effort and get on out there!
One thing I stress in my screenwriting workshops is the power of the internet. It’s your best friend when it comes to the new creative hustle. Use it. It’s free!
I’m almost always online posting stuff about screenwriting and film-making in general. I’d also advise joining some of the online writers groups to network and get feedback on your scripts. Attend industry events. Tell them you’re a writer, director, producer, filmmaker, whatever! Even in your small home town, get to know people there. Make friends with people there. The most amazing doors can open. You never know. But also be ready to stand and deliver when called upon. I mean, what good is demand without any supply?
Emil Biobelemoye Hirai-Garuba is a freelance screenwriter whose work spans feature films, short films, documentaries, television shows and the occasional commercial. Emil is also the Creative Director of Rated E, a content production company that develops original stories for transmedia outlets, and offers training and consultation services for individuals and various high-profile media clients. Emil has a sweet tooth and rumor has it he once offered his services in exchange for ice cream. He’s yet to confirm or deny this.