From the desk of Shaun
I took a walk through the country side today and something came to mind.
Ever have one of those moments where a random thought of what you did in the past will come and you’ll say to yourself “Aww man, I can’t believe I did that!”. Well, I had that moment today.
Prior to my mind set shift, I was a leech.
From 18 until around 29, I was a pest. While I was very social, I was also very annoying.
Artist LeSean Thomas (The Boondocks, Black Dynamite, Avatar) once talked about what to do once you meet other artists: meet them, thank them, support them, and leave them alone so they can get back to work. I often did the former two but rarely the latter two.
I can’t count the number of connections I lost. I can get a connection but maintaining it was a challenge. My best friend/life coach said connections is like being in a relationship: you gotta be friends and you gotta offer something in return.
After FINALLY learning that, here are some things I did wrong and how I fixed them.
Mistake #1: Constantly contacting the connections with nonsense.
I always had a great approach and was apparently trustworthy. Many have given me their number, e-mail, etc. It was abused often. They were often contacted for either a hook up or just to talk. I believed I could be EVERYONE’S friend after meeting them once.
How I got over it: After reading the book, “Gorilla Mindset“, it was concluded I was a VERY anxious person. My anxiety to get out of working a 9-5 job was a major turn off. In addition, I always felt the need to have someone to talk to. I must have had some boring friends if I turned to famous people to just have a regular conversation about something NOT related to games and anime.
TL;DR: Let these people work and contact them when you have something useful.
Mistake #2: Talking to them ONLY for what you can get out of them.
People that have been in the business enough will know right away that whomever they meet for the first time is a leech (or something negative). Being beneficial goes two ways; you and that person can be good friends overall but you both have to compliment each other (monetary or otherwise).
How I got over it: In 2014, *I* got used MANY times; the game got switched! Actually glad it happened because I had to learn. Like Kevin Hart says “You gon’ learn today”.
There was a guy in California I thought was a good mentor to me. He gave me some great advice but in the end, he had an agenda. When it came time to us to finally meet, he agreed to do so. A week before I left, he was a ghost. Like an idiot, I bought my ticket anyway and went out to San Francisco. He was still a ghost.
That was money well spent.
Day after I went back home, he sent a Facebook message saying “Hey man, i’m sorry about that. I was busy, etc”. I cut him off. Sometime in 2015, I got back on Facebook and he had the nerve to try and add me. I declined right away. Actions are louder than words. Heh, last week, I thought about what I could have said to him. It was along the lines of “REMBURSE ME FOR THE PLANE TICKETS AND HOTEL STAY!”
TL;DR, don’t stick around with people just to get things out of them. The same will happen to you.
Mistake #3: Not being useful in general.
This kind of lesson is something we all learn as kids. Growing up, my neighbors and I only hung out with people that had the newest game systems. As we got older, our needs and wants changed. These days, I don’t even associate with ANYONE from my old neighborhood/high school (save for one) because we have nothing to offer each other. I used to (attempt to) associate with voice actors in video games and Japanese animation. I would go to conventions to do interviews them. I tried so hard to get into the business but all I did was constantly pester them. As you guessed, I didn’t get a job.
On the flip side, a lady I know got a job at the studio by being useful at conventions. At most events, she worked the green room and made homemade meals for the guests. In addition, she had some excellent PR skills. She’s now the convention manager for the company.
How I got over it: In 2013, I read some scripture out of the bible. I can’t remember where exactly but it said something along the lines of giving time to the right people. I used to ALWAYS give my time to people that never gave it back to me. After reading it, I cut off contact with 90% of my Facebook friends. It took me a while to do this fully but I was on the right path.
I find keeping it 25/75 (25% about what they do and 75% everything else) can keep things healthy. So far, the result has led to more referrals and more work.
Mistake #4: Being a jerk!
Long story short, I wasn’t very considerate to a friend who went through some stuff. My friend often asked me to film her events and last year was possibly the worst year of her life. I was all about getting paid first instead of giving her space. I mean if you’re running a business, yeah you gotta be a certain way. But this person was a friend. A DAMN good friend at that and I messed it up by being mean.
How I got over it: I just had to catch myself. I can’t exactly explain it but this is one of those things where people will realize something like this on their own. Being mean is easy but being nice takes effort.
Let this be a lesson to all aspiring artists or just anyone in general.
Peace and love!