I got another email today asking for advice about getting into the 'industry'. I get quite a few of these...as well as requests for work experience and offers of free help at my studio. That's all great... i'm more than happy to help people out and try and point young people in the right direction when it comes to finding work in music or film related projects. But there's a huge mis-conception that has been flying around for years and it's time it was outed.
'The Industry'. In the case of today's email, it was referring to film....but it could just as easily apply to the music business. Okay...listen up. There is no such thing. I'll say it again if you like...there's no such thing as the 'industry'. There's not a closed shop group of people who run either of these mythical 'industries'.... it's just lots of individuals and companies all trying to make a living. There's not an inside and an outside...there's just an imaginary wall which is only visible if you feel that you're not a part of it.
Up until 2007, i was a sound engineer, record producer and label owner...i worked in the music business. I find all my own work...i don't send out CVs and i don't hang out with lots of other engineers... i just do my own thing. No one said i could be a part of it...i just was. When i started making 'Shoot The DJ', my first film in 2007, i became part of the film industry. Again, i didn't ask anyone...no one 'let me in', i just got on with it.
It's the same for kids leaving Uni or school. If you want to be a film maker, make a film. Don't wait for someone to give you the backing and the crew...find it yourself. Then, you'll be what you wanted to be. It's the same with music. Gone are the days when a fat bloke with a cigar signed you to a million pound record deal and you were on TV the following week...it never really worked quite like that, and it certainly doesn't now.
So, my advice for anyone wanting to get into either music of film is stop asking and start doing. I didn't think i'd be in Cannes meeting with producers and financiers who would take me seriously, but that's what's occurring. If i'd waited until someone had picked up my script and deemed to let me be a part of 'the industry', i'd be waiting a very long time.