An Aside from a [not-current] Freelancer

18 Jan

I have had a weird stigma attached to me from high school onwards. I was inextricably involved in music–I lived it and breathed it, looking forward every day to 4th period band, loving marching season, getting to play string bass in the orchestra and electric at church. Often people would say “wow, you’re really good! We should play together!” or “let’s put together a show sometime!” to which I would always enthusiastically respond in the positive.

But nothing happened, beyond my close group of friends (who became the members of the pop-rock band I was in.) Everyone would get other bass players, or ask a friend they knew, or something else. And when I asked why, they would say “I just assumed you were busy.”

This carried through to college, only now instead of music, it became film. My dorm-hall brothers would all traipse around campus, shooting weird funny videos, but never inviting me. A student would put together a huge set and maybe as an afterthought, ask if I was available (usually on the day-of.) When I would bring it up to people I knew, the answer was the same: “I just assumed you were busy.”

Grad school had its share of similar circumstances, only there I was married and living off-campus. Also, I worked in the equipment office, so I would often get clued into things happening around the school, which would often lead to me getting myself involved somehow. But quite a few times, fellow students from my classes would have big sets or group studies without me, and when asked, they always “assumed you were busy.”

Maybe this happens to everyone, and I don’t know it. But it’s happened to me enough now professionally that I feel something must be wrong with people’s perceptions of me.

I generally try and ask everyone I would conceivably want to work with, whether or not I know they are busy. This industry is built on relationships–maintaining them is just as much a part of it as withholding taxes and buying new gear. I hope to never be at the point where I have to say ‘no’ to everything, but I also hate that I don’t even have the opportunity to say ‘yes.’

Maybe I’m whining, but I feel so strongly about this that I can’t let it slide. Always ask. Even if that person says no, ask again on the next one.

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