When you get your next job it could be due to something as simple as that.
I asked many guests on the No Film School podcast what advice they would give to anyone trying to build a career. There are a multitude of answers, many of which are known. Everything useful.
But there’s one thing I’ve heard many times in the industry, also on record. I’ve just heard it a few times, and it’s a phrase that is easy enough.
“It’s fun to have lunch with him.”
There is a lot to unzip there, because what does that mean exactly? Do you need to be entertaining? Do you need to be unforgettable? Unique? Forcing a Personality? Do you have to choose good restaurants? Order in a certain way?
But the truth is, it’s not even about lunch, it’s about the idea of being a pleasant person. To be simple is to just work. Not “wrong”, but convenient.
The reason is something simpler and more primal than just the idea of being a good lunchtime friend. Because what it really means is that people want to know they can count on you down the foxhole. One of my favorite guests on this topic was Jonathan Furmanski, who has countless projects in mind and can’t help but stay busy.
Productions are often incredibly stressful. If you turn left or right and see people excited, difficult, uncomfortable, divisive, or challenging even in the quietest of environments (e.g. lunch), what will they look like in the harsher environments you face together?
The answer is unpredictable. We want to work with people who can get things under control, stay positive, find humor in things and enjoy the moment.
Of course, that doesn’t mean faking it all. Being overly enthusiastic or nice is better than the alternative, but you also want to be authentic.
The reality is that talent is often a subjective determination. Being a “talented but tortured genius” works for some, but even when it does, patience wears out and eventually … one day … the bad behavior chickens come home to settle down.
So also as advice for those who are at the top of the food chain today. “Having fun at lunch” could keep you from facing the wrath of a million abused and disgruntled employees. This is not to say that a good lunch makes up for abuse, but that you are nice instead of being abusive.
No not always. The stress and strains of life turn people on and bring them into uncomfortable patterns. They kick out, misbehave … do all kinds of inexcusable things.
So the real answer to what can make you work and move around easily from one gig to the next is not how you are at lunch in the first place. But how to deal with stress and react to things that are out of your control.
And the key to that is something that each individual must unlock for themselves. Is it meditation? Is it exercise? More sleep? Diet? You have to answer that yourself. And the idea of ”self-care” in trying to manage #setlife is weird and impossible for many. I get it.
But it might or might not be the difference between another job. Because how you stay healthy, balanced, comfortable and cool under fire, you get job after job.