Q:How'd you land your job at BuzzFeed?
A producer knew me from the internet and asked me to come work there.
I think people don’t talk about this enough: This is the both the answer to “how do I break in” and the reason that successful creative people are always telling you to just “make work and put it out there.” Because when someone’s casting a funny video or picking a new writer for a project, they don’t put out a public call. They think of someone they’ve already heard of, someone whose work they like. (This is one reason that Tumblr is the best blogging platform for posting creative work, because it’s not just a platform but a network, which means your followers will think more like they “know” you and it’ll be easier for them to imagine talking to you.)
And the sometimes-unfortunate truth of creative work is that you have to do some of it for free, maybe a lot of it for free, before you get paid. That’s often true even after you’ve been paid for years.
I only recently realized that learning craft/art/skill, and making connections, are the same process. Right now I’m cobbling together freelance work and just trying to stay solvent, but it’s a lot easier now that I’ve spent years working with people and getting good enough to pitch strongly and follow through. I tried freelancing several years ago and failed miserably, both because I hadn’t actually learned to write or make videos at the level needed to make a living, and because I hadn’t convinced enough people that I was worth paying.
So much for “make work.” I’ll help you with the “put it out there,” which is always harder than you think. If you’re making funny videos or writing (funny anything, really) you should be showing it to blogs that often link to that kind of work. For instance, email me, email@example.com, and if I like your thing I’ll put it on my comedy Tumblr. And if I really like it I’ll suggest a couple other blogs that might run it too.
Gaby and Nick are two of the best internetters on the internet and aspiring internetters should read this. Probably twice.
You have a choice. You don’t have to be a person who spreads negativity and lies for a living. You can do something good. You can be good. Let’s just make that choice and—it feels better.
Watching Mulaney is like talking to someone who’s seen John’s “New In Town” special on Netflix and now they’re trying to give you the gist.