My Shining Starrs!!! How in the universe are you? Well and favored is my hope!
This week I want to talk about friends with benefits. Now, Im sure you are like ummm hold up! But not that kind of friends with benefits. I am speaking of those friends that have something to offer you and you being a friend that benefits others.
Over the past two weeks I have consumed so much information, knowledge and encouragement. This past weekend a dear friend and mentor gifted me with an amazing master class with Writer and Executive Producer on Power, Gary Lennon. Last weekend I attended a panel called "Perfecting Your Pitch" at Brooklyn's Emmy nominated BRIC TV. That Saturday I attended the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora "Power Panel: Women Owned Production Companies." And then that Sunday I attended a day long bootcamp called "Pitch 101" taught by Squeaky Moore. In each instance someone I knew well in the biz, or even better, my actual friends were the people dishing out the info and insight.
This experience told me a few things. First, I know some dope people in this game and am blessed to call them my friends. Second, I can learn something viable from a friend, no matter how we know one another. Third, a lot of my success and access will come by way of the people I interact with in this business.
There is another side to this though. A darker side. And it is totally driven by ego, envy and insecurity. There is a decent size of the creative population that believes if they know a person and have come up in the game with them, they can't teach them something on a higher level. The thought is something akin to "we been in the same plays, I know what he knows!" Or, "we went to the same school and neither of us are mainstream yet, so what can she show me?" My favorite one (that I totally have been guilty of), "but that last project sucked, they don't know nothing!"
Now, while I admit that while someone's track record for the quality and/or success of their work (or lack there of), can negatively effect their impact on others' view of them, that doesn't mean they have nothing to offer or teach. But this is also why we must guard, protect and uphold our standard of excellence; so that when we are in the position to share, we can be better received.
We as creatives especially, must understand that our opportunities come in various forms. And the thing that can create longevity of income and work, is knowledge. Where we acquire that knowledge is not always going to be some accredited institution or some mega celeb at a festival. At times, it may be our friend with what we feel is the janky project. Or the peer with the resume similar to yours. And if you have vetted the source, then you can't allow the intimate connection you have with that source to make you buy into the fallacy that they are not fit to show you something new.
I challenge you to do this exercise...
Find two friends that are offering a product or service that you have yet to support and/or acknowledge. Then be HONEST with yourself as you ask the following...
What is this product or service and could it help you in some way (especially as it relates to being a better version of yourself or getting you closer to your desired goals?
Why have you rejected supporting them in this venture? (honest examples of why can be envy, hate, ego, etc.)
What work around can you figure to indulge and actually support? (for example bartering if it's financial or simply getting over yourself)
I can bet if the product or service is viable, there is something that you can get from it or them.
Now I want you to assess if you are the friend with benefits. Do you have a product, service or some insight to offer? Have your people been either slow to respond or unsupportive? If so, don't feel bad. They may be reconciling with themselves some of the same issues mentioned above, including the thought that you are presently an asset. It's a rough world and when you are a dreamer, seeing others do more or have what can be perceived as having more to offer...it can be a head trip.
Either way Shining Starrs, it is important to both possess and be the friend with benefits.
And as we always want to be the friend who benefits you all, should you be looking to get some things done, let us know! We can possibly be that friend with the benefit or connect you with one of ours!