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Asking For Advice…And When Not To

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Katherine Di MarinoIf you’re perusing this website because you’re thinking about trying to pursue a career in film and television let me give you a bit of advice. If you’re thinking about asking other people in the industry whether you should take the plunge or not – DON’T!! Use your own judgment and go ahead, and do what you want to do, without seeking permission or votes of confidence.

People are kind of interesting. They tend to remember the bad instead of the good, and if asked, most would tell you it’s a long hard road with lots of potholes, and if they were ten years younger they’d have chosen a different career path. Guaranteed from about 90% of people that’s what you’re going to get. Not how good it is, but what are all the pitfalls.

I’ve had so many people try and deter me over the years it’s not even funny. Horror stories about their bad experiences and how they’d expect much the same for me. If things weren’t easy for them then things are going to go the same way for you. Or are they?

Everyone’s experiences are unique. I’ve seen some careers accelerate very quickly and things just fall into place. And I’ve seen others have to fight tooth and nail for everything they’ve got. Is it fair? No it’s not but that’s just life.

Don’t let others rain on your parade. Whether well intentioned or not, this negative attitude can have a big impact if you’re thinking about embarking on something new. If you’re already apprehensive, and are unsure of yourself, ask what it’s going to do to you to hear someone tell you that you shouldn’t go any further?

Asking advice about how to break into the industry is one thing. Asking advice whether this is a viable career option for you is another thing. Only you, and you alone, know what talents and gifts you possess that may serve you well in your endeavour. Someone who barely knows you is not equipped to be making judgment calls on whether you’ve got the goods or not.

The only things you have to ask yourself is do you have the ability to put up with a lot of rejection, and can you stay afloat financially while you’re making your dreams a reality. That’s pretty much it. You need persistence if you’re going to stick with it and do what you need to do to get where you want to go.

An honest self-assessment is required in order to know whether you can be brave enough to stick your neck out. No one else can tell you that. Even your own parents don’t know you that well. Sometimes we are made of greater stuff than anybody gives us credit for and you and you alone are the one that has to live with your decision.

Granted we all know things are more difficult for the female population. The stats show that. But I’m a believer that things are on the verge of shifting and changing because of the awareness that now exists, and the studies that have been done in this regard. Some departments are more difficult to break into than others but it’s not an impossible feat. If someone else was able to do it why not you?

I’m not going to lie and say it’s been all sunshine and roses for me. It hasn’t. There have been ups and downs and dry times and good times… but that’s what makes a career. It’s not going to be a direct journey. There are going to be stops and starts along the way and some struggles, but that’s the reality of everything. You could decide the safe bet is a career in accountancy, spend years in school, and then not be able to find a job. There are no safe bets anymore! That was another era when you were guaranteed a job and you could buy a house for $20,000.

If you have a passion and a drive follow it. That’s the best advice I can give you. Because if you don’t take any steps towards pursuing what makes your heart beat faster you will regret it, because how will you ever know what might have happened?

So don’t go looking for other people to give you the nod and tell you it’s okay to go ahead. You’re not likely going to hear what you want, and need to hear. If you want to hear somebody to tell you to do it then I will be that person. Just do it… and don’t look back!

Katherine Di Marino

About Katherine Di Marino

Beginning her career in 1994 as the Producer’s Assistant on the TV series Highlander, Katherine was eventually awarded an Associate Producer mentorship by the CMPA on the Showtime series Dead Man’s Gun. She went on to gain a broad knowledge base throughout her work at Peace Arch Entertainment and Omnifilm Entertainment in the areas of development, production and business affairs. During her career she has been involved on many projects including Francis Ford Coppola’s sci-fi series First Wave, David Steinberg’s comedy series Big Sound, the ½ hour dramedy Robson Arms, five Lifetime Network movies, the animated series Pirate TV, along with nine documentaries. She also did two stints at Creative BC as an Analyst. She has done work for over 20 broadcasters and won numerous international awards. Katherine just produced the movie “Rio Heat” – a Canadian/Brazilian co-production featuring Harvey Keitel.