asking an employer about their culture and then the respectful follow through is amazingly
generative and affirming. Carol’s focus is always on what the client wants. Regardless of
working as a freelancer, adapting to the culture is essential if you are to succeed. Being
creative and getting the work done is not enough, you need to be a good fit.
Siberia Is Not A Metaphor
Carol’s start to her career was a bit rocky. She states, “I have a Master’s degree in Fine
Arts which is a terminal degree. When I finished graduate school I decided that I wanted
to be an independent filmmaker and also have an academic career. I kept looking for a
‘real position’ and landed a tenure-track position at Keene State College in New Hampshire
where I taught for seven years before becoming a tenure casualty. I was 24-years-old
when I took my tenure-track position. So my academic career was essentially over at 33. I
did it backwards. The summer before my last year at Keene and the summer after I
spent it in Siberia working on an independent film project.”
When she came back from Siberia, “I was unemployed and I had no savings since I had
been spending every penny paying back my student loan. No job and no place to go. I
decided to come to Atlanta because I had an old friend from high school who was there. I
tried to find work. It became absolutely clear that I was overqualified for anything that was
an interim job-job. No one in the industry could extrapolate my experience as it applied to
doing production work in the quote unquote ‘real world.’”
Carol was finally hired by a woman who ran a small production company “at a wage that
was less than what I made as an adjunct faculty member my first year out of college so
this is ten years later. So I essentially decided to look at it as a paid internship so I could
figure out how production worked in Atlanta.”
She notes that the woman had absolutely no management skills and was not a good
director. Carol says, “She let me go because she felt like I wasn’t a good fit anymore.”
Carol adds, “She wanted someone she could boss around and I wasn’t that person.” Her
freelance career started when a friend she met at this small production company started
finding her production coordinator positions in 1996. Carol acknowledges that it was a
huge growth period and says, “There was a lot of corporate work and that was primarily
what I was doing corporate video.”
Mercedes Benz Accelerated My Career
“My first jobs were totally on the behest of my friend Sara. Then once I started marking
relationships with directors and clients then it became word-of-mouth. I sort of made my
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