advice

How the internet changed my Life.

Posted on February 11, 2007. Filed under: advice, industry, internship, NYC, Rachel Leibrock, tips |

I woke up very early this morning feeling pretty grateful for the life that I have so I wanted to share some thoughts…

My experience with the internet has been very interwined with my progression in my career. If it wasn’t for the internet, I can’t honestly say I would be in the place that I am right now.

I am sure everyone has a similar story, but here is mine in a nutshell:

In 2001 I was nineteen, had a “great” $30k+ job with a non profit with full health benefits, and was a miserable wreck. I hated the cubicle life. I felt like I *should* be grateful for what I had, and couldn’t understand why life seemed so pointless. So, through ’01-’02, I organized art and film festivals in my hometown of Sacramento, CA – using the internet to recruit volunteers, promote events, and research. I felt that if I couldn’t create something wonderful, then at the very least I could help to bring creative people together.

Through one of my first events, I met a writer for the Sacramento Bee by discovering a blog post that she had written, looking for local girls to profile who had gone to a certain event in San Francisco. I maintained a relationship with her over the internet, and she helped to promote my events by covering them in her nightlife column. Because of her help and encouragement, not only did more people show up to events held by the unknown Daniela and her possee, but her support inspired me to think of a life outside of my hometown. Inspiration – all made possible by a connection with a real person, through the internet. Thank you, Rachel Leibrock.

In 2003 I was working for a different company, feeling a different kind of misery. At this point I knew I wanted to find a way to support my self and be creative at the same time, but felt my options were limited in Sacramento. All through the summer of ’03, I researched major cities where I felt someone like me could thrive. I ended up deciding that NYC was the place to be, even if Los Angeles was closer. For some reason I felt this undeniable force driving me to uproot my life and relocate to the east coast. That December, I travelled alone to NYC and spent ten days wandering around Manhattan, getting a feel for me future new home. By August of ’04 I had sold everything I owned at several successful yard sales (advertising online), found an apartment in Brooklyn (through craigslist), found an internship with a casting director (through craigslist), and strategized ways to get around Manhattan (through hopstop.com). In September of ’04 I moved to NYC, ready to start a new life pursuing my true goals.

… Since moving here, my life has changed in so many positive ways, and I have access to the internet to thank in part for many of my acheivements. I can’t give all credit to the internet as many of my opportunities were from the result of many old fashioned phone calls, knocking on doors, and showing up places and putting myself out there. Those things I had to stumble onto on my own, force my way into, ignore my fear and face in person.

But the internet also gave me access to the film/tv jobs area of craigslist, mandy.com, variety careers, cynthia’s cynopsis, and other industry related websites that slowly increased my understanding of how a freelancer like me (which I suddenly realized I had become) could survive and thrive in NYC. I researched local film festivals through the internet, which is how I was able to volunteer at the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival. Volunteering my time lead to meeting someone who believed in me, which lead to my first MTV gig as an Assistant Editor on “Miss Seventeen”. Many of my jobs came as a result of volunteering me time to the arts and being supported and encouraged by those who worked with me.

There was no manual I could follow when I came out here. I simply reminded myself of my goals, stuck with my plans, and trusted my instincts. I have helped others get jobs in the industry, and in the process I had the opportunity to meet amazing people in the industry like Mira Nair and Christine Vachon. While others saw their movies and read their books, I was able to talk to them and to be inspired by seeing them in the flesh – face to face.

I would never want the internet to become more important to me than what I experience when I walk out into the world, facing the day, not sure of what is to come but being excited about the possibilities. I am not interested in being holed up my room surfing the net. The internet is a huge part of my life and I will give credit where credit is due, but I don’t I would have gained the experiences I have so far if I solely relied on the internet for all of my needs. I do acknowledge that my “real” life is very much interwined with my “‘net” life and encourage anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in media/film/tv to use all the resources available online to pursue their dreams.

However, if you can’t handle face to face rejection and hard times, you’d better learn. The internet isn’t going to show up on interviews for you, pay your bills, consol you, or be a magic wand.

It can however give you a door to walk through, which it has done for me and many others like me.

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