Get Off of Your Island!
Last week, I had the honor of speaking to classes at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff. The first class was a great exchange of Q&A, which led to discussions about starting and sustaining a photography or multimedia business. Most of the students had a few years of education under their belt, so they were well versed in discussing their upcoming career.
The next class, however, was an early morning, first-year group. They were barely awake. When I asked them about their career goals, one student brought up designing video games. I immediately mentioned my favorite game, Fortnite, which my son introduced me to.
I know Fortnite is a hugely popular survivor game, but when half the class stopped what they were doing and looked up at the mention of it… I knew there was something here.
Fortnite is a game I enjoy playing on PlayStation. It is a simple concept of 100 people who parachute onto an island. Each player forages for supplies and weapons, while a storm rolls in decreasing the size of the safe zone. The last one standing wins.
The game reminded me of a photography/video industry concept about “getting off your island.” Years ago, during the era of film photography, photographers would leave their studios/offices and go to the local lab to pick up their processed film. Many would stay in the lab, edit their assignments’ images, and have conversations with colleagues about life and the industry.
The Fortnite island - although entirely defensive - is also the place where you partner with others, share strategies, pick up your supplies, and eliminate your competitors! I do not, however, recommend eliminating your competitors because connecting with your community, competitors and partners will significantly benefit your business.
Staying out of the “storm” is another successful strategy. Drama, stress, and the idea that others are out to get you will only increase your levels of “compare and despair.” Realistically, the benefits of connecting and sharing work with others will far exceed the small percentage of disappointments you may encounter.
Even though I have never won in the Fortnite game, I consider myself extremely successful when it comes to my multimedia business career. I enjoy great partnerships, many of whom are now friends. I also partner with wonderful clients who strive to be creative with their visual multimedia productions.
Race forward to the digital age and that watering hole has dried up. Today it is so easy to stay in your home office, or studio, and never socialize or connect in-person with photographers, videographers and other creatives in your market.
Multimedia Business Career Advice
The message today is “Get Off Your Island” and make in-person, real connections with others. It all started with my lessons at the photographers’ watering hole: exchange information, share successes and even discuss how to get better in your creative craft.