If you haven’t noticed, my undergraduate year was full of conversations with industry folks. Advice was given left and right, and I was listening to stories about how others made it in the film industry. It was happening everywhere, from the coffee bean I studied at to the university I attended to the job that I worked at. I was doing my best to network like I was taught in Inner City Filmmakers.
Rosylyn Rhee, a documentary filmmaker, was introduced to me by my boss at the toy store. They went to a business event together. My boss felt Rosylyn and I had a lot in comman like our strict parents and siblings. Rosylyn and I spoke about the pressure our families have put on us to be successful. Rosylyn and I never met in person but instead had a long conversation over the phone. She was wonderful. She gave me great advice and pushed me to pursue my dreams.
Deborah Martinez worked for Time Warner cable. She came to the toy store to shoot a commercial to advertise the toy store. I was in the commercial. We emailed for months. She tried to connect me to folks in her company, but it never happened. No one wanted to give me a shot. Deborah was kind to though, and always emailed me back.
Duke Bristow was a customer at the toy store. I would help him find toys for his grandkids. He worked at USC. He wanted to help me transfer to USC film school. He wanted me to tour the campus and talk to admissions. I went with my ex-best friend to check out the campus. It was an hour’s drive. It was a beautiful campus, but I didn’t fit in. I liked my school even though it wasn’t USC. Duke met me when my brother passed away, so I was always very emotional. He was patient.
Franny Baldwin worked for Abominable Pictures. I met her mother at the toy store. I helped her find toys. She connected me to Franny. When Franny and I met, she was more intrigued by my heritage and encouraged me to write the novel I always wanted to write.
Along with meeting folks working in the film industry, I kept in touch with my ICF family. Eric had me interview with Disney for an internship. They never called me back. I interviewed for Nickelodeon for an internship too. They cold called me at 7 pm at night. I was so excited and caught off guard. They never called back, either. I did a lot of interviews for the internship. I followed up with emails and phone calls. I also started doing cold calls. A lot of cold calls. I looked on job boards like entertainment studios and anything I could find online. Nothing worked. I can’t even count how many emails I sent for jobs or how many cold calls I did.