I was recently asked for advice on how to be successful as a media composer. Now, while I am a working full-time composer/producer, I’m still pretty new to the game so I’m not answering from the vantage point of a grizzled veteran. However, the question did force me to congeal what I’ve learned so far into a neat ten points. I sourced my creative friends online to help me fill it out, and I’m pretty happy with this final list, which I think could be applied to any career in the creative field. What would you add?
- Do it because you love it. If you love it more than anyone else*, that will be the fuel that keeps you going.
- Accept that you have to be in it for the long haul.
- Learn the business and apply your knowledge. Write down your goals and visualize your success clearly. Plan your work and work your plan
- Learn to recognize oblique and veiled but valuable opportunities.
- Know yourself – limitations and strengths. Work on finding and nurturing your voice, in all areas (writing, relationships – develop your true expression of yourself).
- Create something unique – don’t follow the trends. Compete on that ground + your value as a true professional.
- Get out there and meet and network as much as possible. Consider that networking is about you giving before you receive. Build goodwill, and you will be amply rewarded.
- Be humble, temper your ego, and never stop learning and working to improve your craft.
- Consider the value of collaborations vs. going it alone.
- Have fun, work hard, and just keep doing it!
(* When I posted this listed, a friend asked “don’t you mean ‘anything‘?”. This idea is from a book by Sam Sheridan called “A Fighter’s Mind”. In it, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu player Marcelo Garcia is profiled. He’s one of these people that is almost like a Jedi in his mastery and domination in the sport… he just flattens divisions, and then goes on to take out almost everyone in the Opens… When pressed on the reasons for his success, he believes that it’s not because he works FAR harder than anyone (which is possible) or that he knows more (which he may) or has natural gifts or talent (he’s not the biggest or fastest player), but simply that he knows in his heart that he loves BJJ more than anyone else. I like that idea… that his love is for his work is so vast that it’s the thing driving everything else – the endless learning and training, working through the pain and obstacles towards success.)