This week’s story comes from you on a Saturday, one day later than the usual Friday edition. I guess I owe you an explanation.

When I first moved to Utah about 4 months ago, the only work activity on my calendar every day was outreach. I know that it takes a long time to break into a new area, fill a pipeline, and cultivate relationships that result in sales, so I planned accordingly and prepared myself for thin results early on.

My plan was to start with production companies. I looked up every one I could find in Salt Lake and set off emailing and calling them. If I could get on the roster of a few of them and help on their shoots, I could at least get my first bit of cash flow and build my first couple relationships. The production industry is unique in this way. Crews are seldom made up of a full time team of gainfully employed individuals. It is much more normal for a Director or Producer to fill their crew with a hodgepodge of “free agent” freelancers, usually on late notice. And those freelancers usually have a roster of directors or producers who provide most of their work. It’s inconsistent and unconventional, but it seems to work.

Naturally most of the ~75 companies I contacted never responded to my initial message or my follow ups. There were about 10 who I was able to meet or talk to in some form or another, but only 2 or 3 that seemed truly promising. My goal was to meet these people in person. There isn’t anything urgent or specific that I wanted to meet about, it really was just about getting time face-to-face. People are much more likely to hire someone they know and have met in person rather than someone they only know on paper or through email.

I had exchanged some emails with the owner of one company that was high on my list. They were a small team but knew their niche and a defined style, plenty of equipment and interesting work. We met for a quick office tour and team introductions. I won’t forget what the owner of the company told me before I left.

“You seem cool to work with, your stuff looks good. I want to get you on a set but I’ll forget. Just keep emailing me and eventually the timing will line up.

Ha! Famous last words…

So I did. Like clockwork, every Monday at 8 am, (outside 3 or 4 weeks during the initial shock of coronavirus), for months, I sent him an email.

“Got anything for me this week?”

And for months, he replied:

“Nope. Try again next week.”

It sounds like an ineffective and unconventional email pitch, but that initial meeting took care of the heavy lifting sales effort and set this cycle of follow ups in motion.

Finally, two days ago on Thursday evening, I received the email I had been waiting for, for months.

“Simon, I have something for you. Available tomorrow?”

Hell yes I was. So I went as a 1st assistant camera and had a hell of a time. Learned a lot, met some cool people, made some money. We were in the studio from 6am–9pm and I just couldn’t get a story out of me after I got home.

And I was reminded, for the nth time, of the oft understated value of patience and persistence. I’ve learned to view the process of achievement as a slow burn of effort, not something immediate.

So that’s why I’m a day late on this email list. At least you got a fresh story out of it! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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