Over the past few months, I have received several e-mails from photographers, several stylists, make-up artists and hair stylists asking me how to break in to the industry and to make living in it. Or to be more specific, is there a secret magic bullet for making it in this metier?
To be quite honest, there is no secret formula or system for success in the business. In fact the more time I spend in it the more often I am surprised by how not structured it is and how haphazard and chaotic it really is.
It has become more apparent to me than ever that the one rule of thumb I am certain of is the lack of certitude that exists in this and pretty well all of the art forms. What I can say with a certain amount of confidence and I have said this before, Marketing is probably the most important aspect of gaining success in anything that rely’s on “viralness” to succeed. In fact breaking the rules is a rule one might consider employing to break in to this highly unstructured metier. But I guess, that isn’t really news and most of the artists that have succeeded did stuff that went against the grain and left a very powerful and often pungent impression with those that were affected by the promotional scheme.
Persistence, intestinal fortitude and a I don’t give a shit what you think attitude used to work, but since the multi nationals control so much of the industry, being aware of what you say and the diplomacy of the delivery is so important, that kind of abandonment approach might be more suicidal than anything else, as witnessed just recently by a rather important pret a porter design house in regards to tourists. It is that kind of faux pas that can have a life changing affect on the success or failure of your enterprise.
Pardon the regression, but it really is pertinent. The manner in which one succeeds is so subjective, that all one can do is tell the story of how one did what they did and when and how and what was the outcome than saying this is how it IS done.
My only advice would be, just follow your own route and don’t be afraid to test the waters. Treat people with the same semblance of respect you would expect people to treat you. Return your phone calls. Keep your appointments and be a good listener. That’s about all I can say for now. Oh, don’t be afraid to break the molds, without stepping on the mold makers toes…If that is at all possible. If it isn’t, make your own mold and create your own scene.
Oh, if I have any other stuff to add, I will when something comes to mind. If anyone wants to add their wisdom, feel free to share your thoughts.
As a caveat, I did write this more pragmatic article for Photographers that you might find helpful. I know, you are all thinking that this contradicts the above. But it really doesn’t as it is still not a panacea.
Another spontaneous essay by yours truly…