Things to Remember When Networking


thoughtPower

Since my post about networking, I’ve done some thinking as well as a bit of reading and I’d like to share some ideas that I think are important to keep in mind when networking or just starting out with your network. When I was starting out I didn’t have much guidance but now with the amount of talent out there, there are three important things that you need to consider before you start building.

Design and Define Your Brand – Before you can start a professional network you first need to define your personal brand. By finding your voice and identifying what you stand for, you will be able to better articulate what your goals and the potential business relationships that you want to build. If you have a business that you are starting in which you will be selling something or a service that you can provide make sure you have it laid out exactly what it is you are offering. Short and sweet and to the point always works best. People do not like complicated. Now if you are an artist such as myself, define your art and skill as your brand. Make your audience know that you are a mural painter, photographer or a videographer show your audience what you can do for them as well as the business they could be representing. Think about the three things you’re most passionate about, what tone you want to set in your content, and what you want to achieve with it.

Are you Producer – Take a moment and consider whether you are a producer or a consumer of content. I’ve read in a number of post from professionals in this field that you should strive to be a producer, someone who generates a lot of ideas and a lot of content. From what I’ve learned is that the more you produce the better you become. I constantly come up with ideas so I care around a notebook or use an app on my phone that when that idea jumps into my mind I make sure to write it down right away. A lot of times I’ll spend hours running through that idea, finding ways to make it work, working out its pro’s and con’s. Other times I right it down so I can come back to it later because I know for sure that I’ll forget it if I don’t. It will happen. Think about who succeeds more, a Producer or a Consumer? A consumer just consumes information over and over again eating up everything they see. Nothing is really gained by doing that, I mean what’s being done with the information they’re consuming? It’s producers who will succeed because they are the ones generating new conversations leading to new connections. This is where social media can help you build your identity in a short amount of time, based on the content you’re posting and what you’re saying.

Yes, Optimize– The success you’re looking for will begin and end with knowing what makes you happy. Just as you should first identify your personal brand before reaching out to new connections, keep your personal goals in mind as your business or skill set grows. It’s important to know and understand your limits; don’t prioritize a busy life over a fulfilled one, trust me about this. I have done this WAY TOO many times. I recently said at the start of this past semester that I wasn’t going to do any other extra work because I wanted to focus on my studies, and the fact that the three classes I was taking were core ‘heavy load’ classes. But I didn’t listen and my studies and my personal life suffered. Now, the network you have or the network you’re building deserves the same thoughtful attention you expect from it. You get back what you put in.

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Does your resume seem so boring?


I really used to think that way. Plain white piece of paper that describes my job history and skills crammed onto just one sheet. Every time I had to make a new version or update my current one I always wondered if an employer who would be looking at because of a position I applied for really understood that I have the skills they are looking for. Plus how can you make yours stand out when the hundred other people who applied for the same job have the same resume with crammed info on a plain white piece of paper. Well now you don’t have to worry, you can stand out among those in the crowd. A sweet new website, ResumUP.com, can help design you a resume that is for sure to be seen! If you are on the hunt for a new job I really recommend checking them out and creating a resume worth looking at. Here’s mine as an example.

ResumUP

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn ohhh my!!!!


socialNetwork

If you read a bit of my last two post I spoke briefly about how I have used social media sites to setup a social professional network. Yes a professional network. With all of us being surrounded by the growing social media world, it’s much easier to connect with people who I share the same interest with, career goals and skill set. If you don’t about this already you might be asking yourself, how can I do this? We’ll it’s a lot easier than you think, but it does take some effort on your part to build it and keep it going.

Now the network you build can be for anything. Your business, your art, interest & career based. The network that I am building. I say building because your network will never be ‘built’ because there people that you will find that you share common interest with and who they are or something they do, you’ll want that connection even more so because for every person you connect with, you gain their network. To create your network you’ll be utilizing the help of social media as well as face-to-face contact which I touch more on later. Many of us already have a Facebook account where we talk to and ‘stalk’ our closest friends, high school pals and an occasional ex. We’ll did you know that you could create a ‘Like’ page that can showcase your business and/or talent? If you didn’t that’s okay because you can create a completely separate page where everyone can see the art, crafts, business that you can provide them. This page is just like any other page that you’ve seen and liked. You don’t have to create a separate email to maintain it either. Page notifications will show up on the left hand side of the screen. You know, where all the request for games and stuff show up (below your favorites and apps). Here is an example of mine: CLICK HERE Since I have what is called a “Professional Network” I link people to this Facebook page only. I have the average FB page just like anyone else does, but I rather not share my private life with people if I can help it. I don’t care if they access my page, I have nothing to hide. I don’t post pictures of myself doing stupid shit because it can influence employers not to hire you. Believe it or not, it does happen. The reason FB is a really good networking tool is because of the amount of users that are on it at a given time and the fact that most people in this world have one. Just ask yourself how many times a day do you check your Facebook and read your timeline…??? (A lot isn’t it?)

Do you tweet? You should. Now don’t think that twitter is full of people tweeting all the time about what they just ate, how they ate it and now they have to pee. We’ll there are those people but for the most part it is an extremely powerful networking tool. If you don’t have one it’s pretty easy to set one up and you don’t have to stay glued to it all the time. Depending on how you want to use it, think of it as a open-source text message that millions of people can read at anytime. I say that because if you haven’t heard news reports lately you need to be careful of what you tweet. Try to stay positive. On twitter find people that you can relate to and who you can benefit from either it be business or career wise. If you are using it because you are a crafty person or have a hobby that you love the same rules apply. Now when you start engaging with your followers or you add new ones, it’s always nice to send a quick direct message thanking them for the follow and it’s here where you can add a link to your website, portfolio, music, etc. And because you took that extra few seconds to set that up it’s highly likely that they’ll click that link. Twitter is also extremely helpful if your in a bind with a project your working on or if you need some serious feedback on a question or anything else of that nature. Reason is because you’ll get faster responses from people rather than waiting for that email from a boss, customer, friend, professor. I’m actually speaking from experience here when I say this. This past semester I was stuck numerous times while working on Scripting assignments and being that it was really late when I was working on them, I knew that I wasn’t going to get a response from my Professor about what I was doing wrong and adding to the fact that week prior I emailed him asking for advice and it took over a week to get a response from him (The class size was only 12). When that happened I new I could jump right to my network in search of help. Sure enough with in 20 minutes I was back on track! Just as people can help you, you can help them and I think it’s really important to do so or at least return the favor to those who have helped you out. If you haven’t already done this, give it a try and let me know how it goes.

It was in my final year at Regent when I created my LinkedIn account. I was graduating and needed to put myself out there so employers would notice me, plus I read how LinkedIn was becoming a serious networking tool for everyone. The best way for me to describe it is that it’s a expanded version of your resume. When you create an account it will feel like you’re writing your resume up. You’ll input a heading, a summary which is just like that objective box that you used to do on your resume after high school, present and past places of employment and your education. But whats good about LinkedIn is that it allows you to expand those sections. You can add projects to both your education and employment sections. This then allows potential employers to see your past work with out having to fish for through your portfolio or demo reel. That recommendation later becomes obsolete in a sense because present and past coworkers and clients can post on your behalf about how awesome you were on this project or that one. There is a new feature that is growing on LinkedIn and it’s called ‘endorsements’. This is where you or anyone in your network can endorse you on a particular skill or skills that you have. The more endorsements you have the better because again it shows people that you really have the talent that you have described on your profile.

The best part about LinkedIn is that you can connect with people. You’re saying, “Well I can do that with Facebook, why does that matter?” True but not like this. See LinkedIn has an amazing network of people who work for the companies you’ve dreamed of working for, people who working businesses just like you do or have similar skills in which you can pick their brain about. Facebook has that ability but Facebook is not the same. It’s more personal than professional. For instance this past fall I had a calls at AAU on Editing with Avid and I had an assignment in which I needed to create an Editor’s Report. This is where you breakdown the shots and cuts in a particular scene of a show or film. I decided to write about the first episode of “The Walking Dead.” We’ll I had this really good report going but I felt that it needed something more so I did my homework and found, Hunter Via, editor of that episode. More research led me to find out that he won an award for his editing on that episode. So I ventured over to LinkedIn and did a search and found is profile but was afraid to reach out to him. This is the editor of a hit show, he wont have time to talk to me. But I sucked it up, sent him an invite to connect to my network along with a message that told him how much of a fan I was and congrats on the particular award and why I was writing him. I figured what’s the worst that can happen, he doesn’t respond, oh well. I already had a great report I just wanted to amend it by adding his input about his creative process. I’m glad I did because that same night he responded saying that he would be honored to talk to me for my report and then gave me his cell phone number with instructions to call the following morning. HOW AWESOME IS THAT! I thought about why he responded and I believe it had a lot to do with the fact that I took the extra time to write more of a personal message rather than leaving the default message that is sent when you request someone to join your network. I’ve read recently to that it’s something that a lot of people don’t think about and is why, in some cases, you don’t get a response when you send out request.

Building a network is easy in a sense because many of us already do what we need to do to build one. We sign up on a site so that we can connect to others, share stories, post things, share our lives. The only thing different is that a we have to think professional and adjust what we do. Instead of posting drunk pictures or pics of our cats, we post images of products we are selling or our art, we share what we’re working on or post about new techniques, and our connections become less random and more focused.

I have the POWER


As He-Man would say “I have the Power!” I recently said this out loud last Saturday when I heard from the local studio, Digital Thunderdome, that I am now a new member of the Digital Thunderdome team!! I mentioned in my last post that I reached out to director Scott Hansen to see if he needed a local VFX artist for any of his music videos that he’ll be doing. After meeting with Scott and his producer Mary, the took me on as an intern where I would work on at least two videos or more and if Scott liked my work. We’ll I actually worked on two videos that were effects were needed. I’m not sure if I can talk about the artist names just yet, because the videos haven’t been released yet. So things are really starting to look very positive. I did pretty good in this past semester at AAU, I’m working on my demo reel and I’ve started speaking about Social Networking to students at both AAU and Regent University, I’ll write more about that topic in another post.

Right now I’m keeping things going with training and reading about new techniques. I haven’t worked on anything with the studio recently but like I said I’m devoting my time to create my reel. I’ll share both videos and my reel once there done. Until then,

– Nathan

April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?


Opportunities. That’s right this May has brought me just a few opportunities but being small doesn’t mean that they wont bring bigger ones. I know it’s been quite some time since I have posted anything but with working full time and studying full time at the Academy has made me a bit busy. So what has May brought me, well over the the 15 weeks of my Spring semester I made a lot of new contacts for my professional network. I connected with many of my classmates because their talent was awesome plus being on the same track as many of them I know I’ll have future classes or could even collaborate with them on a future projects. While in school, I connected with Music Video Director Scott Hansen. Scott recently moved back to the area and opened a new studio. I reached out to Scott about my interest in working with him creating VFX’s for his videos. I’m currently waiting for my first assignment.

Since school as ended opportunities have come forth. I’ve recently started working with my church as their Social Media Specialist and as their online Webcast Director. Carpenter’s House Ministries is the name of the church and until recently had very little online presence. Since I’ve taken over in some areas, their Facebook as tripled in likes and the users it reaches. However, the weekly Webcast is still hurting on the viewer side. I’m finding it difficult finding the right groups and areas to announce our cast. So far we have very little viewers each week. But I haven’t given up, I am going to work hard to grow our viewers.

I’m still waiting to hear on a few things and people that I have reached out to. Once I hear word about some other opportunities I will let you all know.

Thanks,
– Nathan

Local Food Ministry


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So at the church I attend, which is run by most of my family members on my aunt’s side, they have a Food Ministry. By partnering with the local food bank and Operation Blessing, we are able to offer a once monthly distribution giving people with our local community an opportunity to save, serve and connect. Savings is simple, everyone wants to save money and everyone has to eat. Serving and connecting with your community can be difficult at times. We truly believe that food ministry is an awesome and effective way for you to serve and connect with your community. Our heart is ministry, feeding people is the bonus.

What I recently did as my final project for my Editing Concepts class at AAU was film the volunteers of our food ministry has they setup for this past Christmas’ food distribution. I wanted to show the people how much work goes into preparing for a distribution along with what it means to the Church. If you would like to take a look at my documentary you can find it here:

It’s a New Year


schools i'm attending

schools I’m attending

That’s right, and we are only 9 days into that new year and already things are looking good. After almost a year (I think) I finally got back on here. Time and time again I told myself, “You really should blog more” and time and time again I never listened to myself. Well a lot has happened in the past year. I started college at The Academy of Art University in which I am studying for my MFA in Animation & Visual Effects. After my first semester I switched tracks from 3D Modeling to VFX.
And since I’ve made that switch things are starting to make sense. I’m heading into my third semester in February. This past fall semester I finally made the choice for my career path. I want to be a Compositor. I really think it’s the best fit for me and for my passion. It will still allow me to work with 3D models but I get the added benefit of working with live footage. To this date I am really happy with the decision I made.

So what’s in store for me now… We’ll lets see. In the next week or two I will be starting the January semester at FXPHD. I have always wanted to take classes there and my research into it the past couple of weeks have really been beneficial. I am slightly worried that the work load will be a lot since my Spring semester at AAU starts Feb. 4th but I think that will the right planning and determination that I’ll be able to handle it. I think that because I am really trying to make something of myself for me and my family. In the mean time I am working on my training for Compositing, 3D modeling and After Effects with the help of Digital Tutors and a few other very helpful sources. I am also attempting to finish a few of the many unfinished pieces of art that I’m working on. One includes the WIP of the Jungle that I was working on last year for Regent University’s animated feature, The Best Gift, which is currently in post production I believe.

In the coming days I will be posting finished pieces of work from my last three semesters. Some of the pieces are good and a few could use a bit more tweaking.

– Nathan

schools i'm attending

schools I’m attending