Business can be a one dimensional experience just trying to earn a living so you can enjoy life outside of it, or it can be part of the joy of life.
In his latest How Freelancers Can Succeed column, Ande Schurr says collegial friendships can make all the difference.
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In my mind, there is only one consideration when it comes to building lasting friendships.
Can I trust this person.
It might take several years before the answer becomes a resounding ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but it is well worth the wait.
In ones personal life, a ‘yes’ to such a person makes the difference between a life worth living and one merely existing.
In business, this trust may open the door to a personal friendship or, at the least, a deep appreciation and goodwill beyond the confines of normal collegial interaction.
We can either close ourselves off to their influence through the torrent of life’s distractions or we can allow ourselves enough space to be influenced by those who have already won their way into this special place in our lives and feelings.
I’m all for the influence of such people in my life. I want to hear their views. I value them, treasure them, insist upon them.
I think, by nature, the film and TV industry that I am part of, offers both the opportunity to really connect but also to indefinitely disengage. With so many jobs lasting no longer than a day or a few weeks, or even the big jobs that span several months, if you are not living outside your home city the same opportunity isn’t there to connect because you have your comfort net too close.
On my current job which is a kids puppet show called The Moe Show, by Pop-up Workshop, it’s a very conducive situation socially, because we are often traveling around NZ and so we get the opportunity to do things together outside the filming hours.
If you take the time to enjoy the day before and after the shoot with breakfasts together and eating out with the others, then you get to learn a lot about each other and it actually becomes possible to begin to understand the other person. Otherwise our knowledge of each other is one-dimensional, they are just ‘the sound guy’ or ‘the camera guy’ and we lock-in assumptions that they are a certain kind of person. I owe my attitude change to Auckland DoP Matt Meikle for encouraging me to put quality of life as a priority.
Another important consideration to opening up as a person is how different we are based on how we were raised and formed.
When you can appreciate how another person was raised then you open the door to the possibility of friendship. Otherwise you are only looking at people like yourself - ie surfers prefer the company of surfers. So it’s not like people deliberately want to put boundaries up, it’s just so much easier to deal with your own kind until you are forced into a traveling crew situation. Then you just learn to get on and often end up the better for it.
I am writing this as I drive to location with a new crew on a week-long shoot. I have already excused myself for antisocial behaviour as I write this trying to make the deadline, but I am excited at the chance to make new acquaintances and learn about other people. I know as the week progresses we will become closer - every job sows the seeds of friendship and it is up to us if we care to nurture them.
Every job, you have to allow yourself to become an empty vessel again.