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Career Coach: Just Say Yes

This month Career Coach, Pamela Kleibrink Thompson, gives some helpful tips on taking advantage of great opportunities.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson.

You never know when you might meet someone who will become a colleague and friend. Always be open to opportunities, and be prepared to make the most of them. Here is a recent example:

Recently I was in the Eagle, Idaho, post-office and noticed a young man mailing a package. The heading across the top of the papers he was stuffing into the envelope was the name of a school I am familiar with. Maybe I'm just imaging that, I thought, but then a glint of silver on the counter caught my eye. It was a DVD labeled with his name and the word "portfolio." Then I noticed the woman behind him was wearing a Ringling T shirt. I couldn't help myself -- I started a conversation and found out that Brett Wharton is an artist. I mentioned Phyllis Schaen, the excellent career services director at Ringling, establishing the fact that we had overlapping networks.

Not wanting to hold up the line or disturb others in the post office further, I handed Brett a business card.

Follow Up Brett followed up our initial connection with an email that same day. His email message: "I'm glad you were "nosy" enough to meet me today at the Post Office. I wanted to thank you for the information you provided. As you look for talent, I would be glad to put you in contact with any Ringling animation students."

Offer Something of Value

Brett understood the first law of networking -- to offer something of value. His offer to put me in touch with other students would expand my network. He knew I was a recruiter and that I would appreciate knowing other talented students.

I followed up the following Monday and asked Brett if he knew digital editing.

His answer, "Yes, I am proficient in Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere and After Effects. I'm attaching a resume and links to my demo reel in case you would like to view."

The reason I asked Brett about digital editing, was that I was producing a live- action short for a local film competition that weekend called i48 and our team still needed a digital video editor. i48 is a film competition and festival where teams of filmmakers from around Idaho have 48 hours to write, cast, shoot and edit an original short film 3 1/2 to 6 minutes long. A week later, all completed films are screened at the Flicks in Boise, Idaho, with a "Best of i48" Screening and Awards Ceremony at the Egyptian Theatre in Boise.

i48 is a terrific networking opportunity for filmmakers and a fun way to keep production skills up. There were 49 teams this year.

Take Advantage of Opportunities

A few days after we exchanged email, Brett came to the pre-production meeting, and showed the other camera operator how to use the camera and tripod. Brett not only worked as our editor, but also helped brainstorm the script on Friday and worked as our cameraman on Saturday. He was part of our team which was drawn from Reel Women of the West, a women's filmmaking group and also Idaho Media Professionals. By volunteering to work on our film he expanded his network. His skills were also demonstrated to Idaho audiences and other filmmakers when the films were screened on June 6.

By working on our film he gained entree into several new networks and built on his invisible resume in a positive way. His attitude is fantastic. He was helpful and willing to work with a bunch of women he'd never met before and showed many of us film editors the wonders of digital editing.

Brett Wharton was presented with an unexpected networking opportunity and made the most of it by being open, offering to help, having a positive attitude and sharing his talent with others. He set an example we can all follow.


Flicks in Boise, Idaho

Reel Women of the West Videos

Idaho Media Professionals

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter and career coach. She is a member of Idaho Media Professionals and Reel Women of the West. Contact her for speaking engagements, recruiting or career coaching by emailing her at