Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Being a writer, presenter or model shouldn’t be complicated. 3 quick tips to help you elevate your game!

Shhhh I have a secret to tell you. You ready? Lean in real close! OK here goes- contrary to popular belief, the entertainment industry is not as glamorous as it looks. Can I give you the real tea? It's a lot of freaking hard work. Someone said this to me recently "an overnight success is 7 or 8 years." Sobering isn't it?

Earlier today, I was on Twitter and saw the hashtag #OpenTheIndustry and became intrigued. In a nutshell, people were tweeting about the challenges facing actors, presenters, directors and writers in Mzansi. Initially, it seemed some of the tweets were directed at the talent that continue to land the top jobs in South Africa but the conversation evolved into a more holistic view of the entire industry. Are people getting booked for gigs based on their social media followers? What role do the channels and production companies play in who we see on TV? Does having an educational background in TV really make a difference?

As a freelance reporter for the past 4 years, I have worked with Africa Magic, BET Africa, Global Grind, SABC 3 etc... so I had a lot to say on the matter. Sometimes a 140 characters isn't enough. So to that end, I wanted to put my spin on the convo. If you are just starting out in this industry, here are 3 immediate steps you can take to get you to the next level.

A photo posted by Minnie (@minniedlamini) on

1. Relationships are Everything

In this game, your network is your net-worth. It's all about who you know AND what you know. Building genuine relationships means connecting with people beyond a superficial level. For example, if you are at an industry event, it's important not to just dish out your cards - the goal is to trade cards. So what happens if you can't get in the room with the people you want to meet with? Herein lies the beauty of social media. Follow them on Twitter and go a step further by engaging with them. Desperation reeks - even in the digital space, people can smell that funkiness a mile way. Build a relationship first, ask for favors later.

A photo posted by Bonang ''Adebimpe' Matheba (@bonang_m) on

2. Work On Your Craft

Truthfully to really REALLY make it in this industry, you have to be talented. Once the talent is there it has to be developed and constantly worked on. The presenters and actors we see on TV killing it prepare like crazy. They are not winging it folks! It's that preparation that makes it look effortless. I took a hosting class recently and it changed my life. I blogged about it here. So forgot about the hair, makeup, wardrobe and fame- DO THE WORK first!

3. The Internet Is Here....

Speaking of work, work, work, work...thank God we live in the Internet age. Be clear, it takes a lot of time to start making money in this industry. Lord knows I wish my pockets were fatter but for now my focus is on my hustle. If you want to work in TV, film or commercials there are instant resources that you can take advantage of. Here are 3 quick examples

1 You want to work in radio? Start a podcast or get an internship at your local radio station. Think outside the box.

2.  Want to be a host? Make sure your YouTube page is poppin with your reel and other relevant work, Getting on the red carpet and hamming it up with your favorite celebs is difficult and takes time. But in the interim, you can start with interviewing people on the street and start building your reel/following that way.

3. Oh you want to act in movies, TV and commercials? Look up agents in your area that represent people that look like you and find out how to get signed for representation.

My point is where there is a will, there is a way. Again, forget the illusion of an overnight success.

A photo posted by Claire Sulmers (@clairesulmers) on

Claire Sulmers is the brain behind the amazing blog Fashion Bomb Daily. The style maven is celebrating her tenth year as a successful blogger this year and she said something poignant that stuck with me - "sometimes it's just a game of endurance and just sticking it out for the long run..."

"And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."- Paul Coelho


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