Reflections on a Lifetime in Soaps...and What Comes Next
Sunday, February 15, 2015
To this day, I still remember sitting across the table from one of my earliest mentors, listening to her talk (intensely, because she was intense) about marketable skills. At the time, she was trying to get me to train as a Control Room PA-- estimating and timing shows, helping Directors give actor notes, and supporting the Associate Directors. In a city that was, at that time, full of soaps and full of control rooms, there were numerous places that would understand the title and the skill set. And, hey, if I followed in her footsteps, I could go from PA to AD to Producer. All these years later, I still think a lot about marketable skills--those jobs, or parts of jobs, that are understood enough in the outside world that they can help you qualify for the next job. These days, editing tends to top the list. In a city no longer full of soaps and control rooms, fewer people now understand the versions of PA or AD work that I did. The skills may be transferable, but if not understood, they become less marketable. People tend to understand "Editor." And when you attach the name of an editing software, you immediately become more understood, and therefore, more marketable. Today, with the thought of that long-ago conversation in my head, I decided to edit a new project with software I haven't worked on in years. While it might be a slower process, not as automatic as using the program I work on daily, it might add something to my bag of tricks, a new marketable skill for a changing and increasingly iffy world. I was nervous. Could I really do it? Would I be able to transfer what I knew to master something else? Could I really become proficient enough to add it to my "marketable skills" list? I am happy to report that my experiment has been a huge success. Not only is the new project coming together, I am realizing that with some practice, I will actually have a new skill, one that is useful, and marketable, in a world that is changing daily. There's almost always a way to acquire new marketable skills, as long as you're willing to take a little time and a bit of a risk. There's no guarantee that the new line on your resume or LinkedIn profile will get you new work. But it might, and in the process, you've acquired a new skill. And that's always valuable, whether it turns out to be marketable or not.