Sunday, September 30, 2012

What do you do and why? - Laura

What do you do and why?


I met Laura when she was a waitress and a real estate agent, but have known her through many of her other careers as well.  I remember when she took her first class in film making (and was honored to be in her first 5 minute film called The Party). I could see then that this was something that sparked a great interest and am happy to see that she’s run with it. She's got smarts, drive, and an amazing laugh. Keep reading to learn more about how she got into her career.

The cast of The Party

1. What do you do?

Television Producer.

2. Why did you choose to do this? Have you always wanted to do this? Did you fall into this career or actively take steps to get here? Did you choose it or did it choose you?

I have always wanted to work in the television industry, but it always seemed like the kind of fun job that was meant for lucky people, not really a job-job for an ordinary person like myself.

About ten years ago I decided to pursue television production anyway, knowing nothing about the industry or how to get started. 

3. What did you need to do to get here? Did you go to school? If so, was your degree related to what you are doing? Did you do something like an internship or work your way up for years? Did you take advantage of things like Informational Interviewing with those in the field?

Public Access television offers very inexpensive classes to learn hands-on use of cameras and edit systems and access to equipment I couldn't afford. This is how I got my start.

I tried a couple of college programs, but they just didn't offer what I wanted or needed as far as curriculum; and the classes were time consuming and the tuition costs were crippling.

I've figured out that not having a degree has not held me back one tiny bit. It is my experience and actual work that potential employers are interested in. I started making my own videos through public access and was offered a job at Minneapolis Television Network, without even applying, based on the quality of my work. How great is that? 

Shooting for Minneapolis Television Network covering "she rock festival". 

4. What would you do if you weren't doing what you are? Would you do this out of necessity, because you happen to have the skill sets, or because it is your dream job?

Someday I would like to pursue the world of filmmaking maybe as a Director or Director of Photography, who knows? The skills I have gained in television translate seamlessly to the film world.

So far I have been able to explore the Minneapolis film scene as an Assistant Director on a comedy series, as an Extra on a few projects and a Casting Manager. I love being on a film set. I love the actors, the crew, the energy. 

On set of "through dark glass" as an extra 

5. If you could create a job description of what you are doing what would it be?

A little of everything...producing, shooting, editing, directing and running crews and hauling equipment. I teach classes, worked in the Programming Department, attend meetings, work with clients, community outreach... stay current and up-to-date on new technologies.

I like the work I do as it is never boring! Its full of variety and it has given me the opportunity to challenge myself and be successful. Most of all, I get to meet lots of super interesting and fabulous people that I would have never ordinarily known. 

On set of "customer service" as assistant director 

6. Tell me a little about previous jobs you've had and if you have a degree/schooling in something that isn't related to what you are doing now how did you make that jump?

Cook, Waitress, Cashier, Portrait Studio Photographer, Real Estate Agent, Property Management, Video Production, Data Manager, Office Temp, Barista, Taxi Driver, and many, many more jobs.

Before I made the final leap to Television Production, I was working as a Data Manager at a statistics company. I loved my boss Michael and the evaluators, who were always trusting me with interesting and challenging projects. Statistics was the first job that I ever really loved, but after three years, I needed to move on to my dream job in television. 

Shooting the "polar plunge" for the north star roller girls

7. If someone was interested in getting into your profession what words of advice would you give them?

Skip the college/degree route, but take some classes to get started, then work your butt off! You can do this without quitting your job.

Be around people who are really good at what they do...people of talent are natural teachers because they are passionate about what they do. The best teachers are found in the field, not in the classroom.

... be willing to make tons and tons of mistakes, because that's how you really learn. Own your failures, wear them like a badge of honor.

Always be learning. Always be teaching. Love your life!

Thank you Laura for sharing your story!

One of the things I love about Laura's journey is that dipped her toes into a variety of careers. I'm not sure how much she loved trying all of them, but I think the fact that she gave them a try to see if they were a good fit has something to be said about it. Too often we don't even try something new. Perhaps we're too scare to make the change or have no idea how to make the jump, but sometimes these jumps can pay off in the end. To watch some of Laura's work click here

Want to know more about this series? Click here. Want to participate? Email me: e.j.davis (at) comcast (dot) net.

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