How To: Expand Your Venture

Last week we spoke to Babs Szabo, and it’s an understatement to say we were incredibly impressed by her uncanny ability to capitalize on the momentum gathered from Emo Nite to then co-found her own creative agency, Ride or Cry. This week we wanted to learn from the master herself, so we asked her to teach us. Read on to learn how to expand a venture.

1.     Listen to your people.
When you find people with whom your project (an event, a company, a website) is resonating, make sure to stay in touch with them. They might be the ones that help you find places to expand. As Babs notes, “I think with an event you have to listen to what your audience is saying. Obviously, there’s a lot of negative things that are not constructive, but in the beginning, when we did Emo Nite in LA, we saw a lot of people saying, ‘Come to San Francisco! Come to San Diego!’ It was because of that that we started touring [Emo Nite]. If it wasn’t for that, we wouldn’t even have thought of it. So, listening to your audience is really, really important.”

2.     Step out of the safe zone.
Babs says a key part is “Not being afraid to take risks. That’s what really sets you apart from other people. If you’re just going to do it the way other people have been doing it for years, then it’s not going to stand out, and no one’s going to want to be a part of that.” That’s not to say it won’t be scary, but in the eternal words of Chrisley’s son from the evergreen reality show Chrisley Knows Best, “You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.”

3.     Remember to be a good person.
We’ve all experienced working with someone inconsiderate, and the stress and frustration that came with that, be it at an actual job or even a school project. But hopefully, we’ve also all lived through the opposite—that wonderful feeling you get when you feel respected and listened to by your superiors. That’s why we’re so happy Babs included niceness as a cornerstone of her expansion philosophy: “I think that no matter what you’re doing, it’s really important to be genuine and nice to the people you’re working with and the people that you meet, because that’s the only important thing in any venture.”

Thank you so much Babs! Once you have the foundation of your hard work to build upon, we’re confident that Babs’ tips will help you extend the reach of your success. Good luck to you all! See you next week : )
(Photo credit: Cade Werner)

How To: Get Representation

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Last week we spoke to Lori Evans Taylor, a screenwriter in Los Angeles, about the realities of writing scripts for a living and needless to say, we were very impressed by the life she’s crafted for herself. But what if you’re at the start of your own career as a screenwriter and are itching to go pro? There’s one great asset to have in your arsenal: an agent. Getting an agent might sound like an impossible task, but  Lori’s come to our rescue and demystified the process with her five tips on how to make a move to finding representation.

1. There’s no set path
“There’s no set way to do it,” says Lori. Now, on the surface level, hearing that there’s no standard way of getting representation might be stressful, but don’t fret just yet. Because there’s no standardized procedure, it removes the pressure of looking at your peers and worrying that since your careers are moving forward in different ways, it won’t happen for you. Just cause someone took the highway and you took the backroads doesn’t mean you won’t both make it to the same place. So don’t waste your energy comparing yourself to others, but instead…

2. Focus on creating content
The only recurring theme in getting an agent? Make sure you’ve got good work to show when you start looking for reps. Lori recommends “Having a body of material that you can show at the drop of a hat. Building up that body of material is important.” That means putting in the effort now to attract the agents and managers you’d love to be repped by later on. And making sure you’re writing leads right into point number 3…

3. Create your network
Join a writing group. So many benefits come from being a part of one—not only will it help you work on your body of work to show agents, but it will expose your writing to other writers who might have representation themselves. About her experience in a writing group (hers had 14 members), Lori says: “Through these conversations with other members of the writing group, I’d say ‘Well, I’m trying to look for a manager, I’m trying to look for an agent.’ A couple of the members who knew my work said, ‘Here, why don’t I pass your script or your pilot (first episode of a TV show) off to my agent or my manager.’ [My material] got passed around from there and luckily it landed on a few desks. I got some meetings, and I was able to find my reps.”

4. Enter contests
Once you’ve written up some of your ideas (and maybe they’ve been honed by your writing group…!) it’s time to get your work out there. Contests are a good way to share your work because, as Lori explains, “Reps are always looking at that material as well. I know a lot of people have found agents or managers that way.” Don’t shy away from submitting your work. You’ve put the effort in, now it’s time to let it shine so that others can appreciate your hard work and creativity, too.

5. Trust your work
Writing is a creative enterprise, but it’s easy to feel like creativity and good ideas take a back seat to the business side of the industry. Lori, instead, has some comforting thoughts: “Idea is king here in Hollywood. If you have a really good script, people are going to notice for sure. It’s just trying to get it into the right hands.”

Thank you so much, Lori! Well—I don’t know about you guys, but we feel ready to get back out there and make it happen for ourselves! So we’ll keep it short: come back next week to hear all about following your instincts and acting on your passion, regardless of what the rule-book says.


How To: Find Your Magic

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One of the things about Jami Curl from last week’s interview that I love so much is that she’s the type of person who really leans into what she’s excited about. When I was brainstorming a few different how to’s, I realized that what I wanted to know about the most was how she had come to a point in her life where she knew so deeply what it was she wanted to do. And her response was that it’s all about finding your magic. See her 6 tips below!

1. Magic is magic, and it's also work. 
It's work because it isn't going to present itself to you for the taking. Instead, you have to make the magic you want to have. Very few people identify something they want and then sit back and wait for it to come to them. The people who are doing the work (and making the magic) that they want to have in their lives are the ones actively working to make it happen. 

2. Remain open to possibility -  possibility is limitless!
This isn't simply saying "no" less and saying "yes" more. It's remaining open to possibility so that you don't miss inspiration, ideas, and opportunities that may add to your magic. 

3. Pay attention to (even the smallest) things that bring you pleasure, make you laugh, fill you with joy, get you going. There's magic in all of these things. When you find these things, celebrate them - or figure out your own way to hold on to them. 

4. Collect something. Collections are a great way to study how items that are alike can also be vastly different. This is a great exercise in making magic because it provides an opportunity to celebrate even small differences. Collection suggestions: pencils, bouncy balls, vintage Bakelite bracelets, Baggu bags, cookbooks, vintage Japanese stuffed animals, tiny notebooks, erasers, stamps.

5. Express yourself in more ways than one. Write, record, draw, collaborate, color, talk, sing, move. You'll get unstuck easier and see your way through tough challenges faster - and you may uncover new magic in the process. 

6. Think about giving up at least one form of social media and devote that time to learning about the world in a new (non-comparative) way. The key here is "non-comparative"! No magic has ever been made or discovered by comparing oneself to what everyone else is doing/thinking/saying/eating/wearing. 

Thank you so much, Jami! Magic is such an important and honorable pursuit. Readers, after you’ve taken the time to start working on these (we’re starting with #6), come back next week for another interview with an amazing woman.