One of the biggest pieces of advice I've both heard and given (apart from KEEP WRITING, even if you don't have a reason to) is network: go and rub shoulders with people, start to develop relationships.
The TV production business is no different to any other in the respect that it's people dealing with people. I have found that there isn't a shortage of composers all trying to occupy overlapping media spaces, so how do you stand out?
Be nice. There, I've said it. The secret to getting along with people. You're welcome.
Seriously though, you do have to have the skills and reliability to back it up, but being nice (not to be confused with being a pushover) gives you more chance of being thought of later on.
Now, this blog post is called 'The Networking Misconception' for a reason. I know people who seem to have the idea that by turning up to a networking situation that walking out with anything less than a job means failure. This isn't a criticism by the way. It's tough out there, and anyone trying to make a living doing something creative will agree.
When you meet someone, you have a conversation. You wouldn't introduce yourself by saying 'Hi, I'm looking for work, can you give me work please?' It's more likely you'll introduce yourself and what you do and share the spotlight with that person. Have a conversation and see how it goes. Oh, and be nice.
I know it's hard. When you're trying to break into professional work it's difficult not to put a lot of weight on meeting people who make decisions. Just remember decision-makers are people too, with lives and everything. If you treat them like an actual person and not a decision-making uberlord, you are so much more likely to get on with them in the future.
So if you find the idea of networking overwhelming or too much of a pressure, stop thinking long-term. Think of who is in the room and try to have a good experience then and there. Let that be your measure of success. Happy networking!
Posts by Gareth Davies.