It's been a bit since Hive Ignite week, which was the first week-long event put on by UDEN in Salt Lake City. I'm happy to share my top 10 take-aways, starting with #1 - #3.
The week was filled with panels, presentations, seminars, networking, fireside chats, and even an interactive 24-hour jam as the finale. It was fantastic, though I know for those who did all of the planning it was exhausting.
But I wanted to share my takeaways so those wonderful volunteers can know that their efforts were not wasted, and to hopefully help those of you who weren't able to join us to learn a few things that can help you until the recordings are put out on the UDEN YouTube channel. So here are my top 10 takeaways from this fantastic event.
1. Build Yourself Somewhere
This fantastic phrase was said by Joshua Sohn who talked about some actionable ways to become a better composer. This resonates well with me as I am also a composer, but you don't have to write music to glean inspiration from this. No matter where we are in the entertainment or media field, and no matter how long we've been there, we need to start building. This could be building our business, our skills, or even our peers. As we build, we will be able to better serve our community and find greater satisfaction in what we do. It's also better to focus on the fact that we are in fact building as opposed to worrying about where to build. As Christ Holifield reminded us, “It's OK if others are doing what you are doing – they don't have your background, perspective, or history.” And we need what you have to give, so start building it.
2. Collaboration is a Choice
In the panel about women in the arts, Dana Ware, Dana Whitten, Becky Pennock, and Loren Micalizio had so many wonderful nougats of truth and practical action, but I think this one connects them all. If you are trying to increase diversity in your workplace, it's a choice to do so and can be done. If you want to show more gender and ethnic diversity in your films or games, do it. Make a conscious effort to be inclusive wherever you are and you will be helping others realize that they too can make this choice. You don't need to wait for others to do it in order for you to start acting on it. Change happens best when you are the one starting it. This also applies between companies and individuals. If you have a project where you need expertise, find someone who has that knowledge and experience, and start a relationship where collaboration can thrive. We have so much expertise here in Salt Lake and Utah. It would be a shame to keep it hiding away. Collaboration is always better to pursue over competition.
Another thing that came up a lot in that panel was about mentor-ship. This is one of the ways that we can begin connecting and starting those relationships that help collaboration thrive. This is especially true to those starting out in their industry, but it is definitely not limited to it. Find someone who has skills you want to learn. Acquaint yourself with their previous work. Do your research to have a reason for why this person will be able to help you better than anyone else, and then reach out. Offer to take them out for a coffee or dessert. Have specific questions outlined beforehand so they know what to expect of you, and what you expect from them. (More on clear expectations later.) Then don't just drop it after they give you good info. Send them a thank you card, or a small gift. Follow up with them how the things they suggested have helped you shape your decisions. Has it made a difference? Share it! They don't become your mentor just because you asked. A mentor-ship is just another way of saying you've made a best friend and you've each got each other's backs. This takes time, so start making time.