It's A Dog-Eat-Videographer World
A few years ago I was invited to a Facebook group for videographers in Colorado. I was invited to the group by another videographer in the Northern Colorado area. Initially I was excited to join this group. Over time I was introduced to the darker side of the film industry and specifically the world of wedding videographers. What I'm about to write is not a dig at wedding videographers or the industry at all. This is an experience I had and would like to share what I learned.
Over the next few years I would attempt to reach out to and interact with the other members of this group. I would get minimal to no response at all. I even managed to connect with one of the "bigger" members of the group, a very well known wedding videographer in Colorado. On two separate occasions I asked to meet for coffee so I could kind of "pick his brain." He was initially very friendly and agreed to meet. Both times he cancelled on me and claimed he had completely forgotten about our meeting or something came up. Understandable. On another occasion a new videographer was asking for recommendations for a small, high quality camera that he could easily travel with. I recommended the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. One of the members responded to my comment with such disgust and even curse words in describing why that was a terrible choice. Calm down buddy.
Interactions like these continued, consistently. The general non-responsiveness, the showy attitudes, and general ignoring of anyone who joined the group but didn't "fit the bill" or style of the group.
Finally, I decided that maybe the lack of interaction I was getting was due to my lack of transparency concerning my personal goals as a filmmaker. I wasn't making myself vulnerable to those who may be able to help me in my pursuits. So I posted a rather long but honest post about my goals with Northward Films and that if anyone was interested in offering a helping hand I would gladly accept and even offer compensation if they sent work my way that they themselves couldn't do. Well, that post was ignored by almost the entire group and those who did comment, were, less than kind.
One person responded with the yearly earnings of a specific film company and how my goal was, to paraphrase, "unrealistic." Essentially telling me my goals were dumb.Then another person responded with "advice" about how I shouldn't make a post like that in a group of my peers. Claiming that my peers are my competitors. He further stated that a post like that would be better suited for LinkedIn.
What was my response? Basically, I told him that I respected his position but I thought he was wrong and that the best place to express my goals and ask for help is among my peers, the people in the same industry. He asserted that I was wrong that his position was "reality." I won't go into the entirety of the conversation , but I had had enough. I deleted the post (and comments) and left the group.
The reason I am writing about this is that if there is any industry you're working in; the one place you should be able to go for help, advice, or even a little extra work, should be among one's peers in that industry. Sure, other businesses are your competitors, but what happened to friendly competition? What happened to hoping your competition does well, but also that you do better? What grieves me is that when I reached out for help, even just encouragement, what I got was criticism. It is extremely important to me as a person and really as a business owner, that I see other businesses in my field as friendly competition and more importantly as friends. If we approach this world of business with a dog-eat-dog stance, we will end up successful (for a while) and alone, very alone. Especially in the film industry. Every major project is a collaboration with other very successful companies in that industry. There's a difference between success by collaboration and success by war. I choose collaboration. No one will come to a tyrant's aid when his kingdom crumbles.
I will be starting a new Facebook group for filmmakers and creatives where "competitors" actually help each other out...imagine that.