Fake It Until You Make It
When people ask me about school and job advice, I tell them that “faking it until you make it” is one of the most important skills that someone can develop.
After graduating from college I moved to Los Angeles to work in TV. Only problem was, I had no experience in TV. I had a theater degree and a Midwestern work ethic, but I’d never learned about cameras or lights or C47s (aka clothing pins).
After months of looking for work, a friend called me for a production assistant job on Dog Bites Man. During my first week on set I casually mentioned my inexperience to a camera operator and he responded “You gotta fake it until you make it”. He explained that if I didn’t know something, I could learn on the fly.
So for the next few months when someone asked me to do something, or get something, or ask someone for something, I’d always answer “Yes” and run off, even if I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going. Over time, and after making lots of mistakes, I learned what to do, when to do it, and who to ask for help when I needed it.
When Dog Bites Man wrapped, the camera operator asked me to work with him on Survivor as his camera assistant. I answered “Yes” despite having no experience as a camera assistant. He wasn’t worried. He said I'd figure it out. And I did.
For the next several years I worked on sets with cameras and lights I'd never seen or set up, but I made do by faking it enough to keep my job and please my superiors. I even joined the camera union!
Of course, you'll have to take me on my word regarding all this. I could be faking it.