I’m an introvert. I enjoy being alone. I have a hard time meeting new people. I find it difficult to connect with people. This is a problem because I’m filmmaker and filmmaking is a collaborative art form. Most importantly in order to survive as a filmmaker in this day and age it’s crucial that you build an audience for your work, which ultimately involves connecting with people.

However, since I started working with Jaimy Warner from the Social Smiths I been trying to shift my attitude and am pushing myself to open up. I started working with her soon after we completed our VR film “I Am You”. The film gained the interest of the CBC and they published an article, which certainly gave us a boost of visibility. It also gave me something to lead off with as I reached out to people who I didn’t personally know and wanted them to see my film. This really worked as there was a lot interest in our approach to VR storytelling. As a result, I figured after about a year hiatus from social media, it was time to get back to it with a real sense of strategy and not just self promoting the same content over and over again. Did I mention that I had a hard time connecting with people.

Last week I started listening to the audio book “The Art of Asking or How I learned to Stop Worry and Let People Help” by Amanda Palmer.

The book is nothing but inspirational about an artist that has this almost clairvoyant gift to connect and over a period of 15 years build a massive fan base for her music. Unfortunately, because she is a musician her methods don’t directly apply to to filmmakers. However, what I gleamed from the book is that her success as an artist stems from this approach of openness and positivism which has allowed her to connect with people from all walks of life.

Since finishing it, I have been thinking a lot about how I could connect with people. I really don’t think its about the types of films I have been making and this idea that I need to make more commercial stories that have a broad appeal, because it won’t feel authentic as I don’t care about those things. In fact, if I tell stories that are more personal it might help draw people into how I see the world. Maybe we can connect over those things and they will have a chance to see me and in return I will see them.

I think the other aspect of connecting people is by making things with them, which involves a lot of trust (something I admit that I’m not good at). She draws a distinction in the book about doing projects in a DIY versus maximal DIY. DIY is doing what you can with what you have and making it work, where the latter is asking people to help and get involved with things that you are trying to put together. Relying on people is something hard for me as I’ve been burned in the past and I’m not from a very open family, so these things do not come naturally for me. Maybe, that’s the point and that’s where the work is involved. I don’t think these things are easy for anyone as it’s simpler to just get lost in your world, where you don’t get hurt because the only person you rely on is yourself. Maybe this blog is the first step of me becoming more open and trying to connect. If anyone else feels the same way, please reach out. I would genuinely love to get to know you and hear your story.

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