What I Learned My First Few Weeks at PlumBy: Colleen Black
Upon graduating from college, I chose to take a bite out of Plum Moving Media and conquer the video production world. Since starting my job as Digital Production Assistant here, I realize Plum has added a sweetness to my life that I did not know I was missing. Thanks to the entire staff, I have come to find the real world, is really not that bad, and that working has its benefits (like unlimited access to a bowl of peanut M&MS).
Three weeks of experience under my belt has not magically transformed me into a perfectly seasoned professional yet; however, thanks to advice passed along from my fellow coworkers, I have already gained some invaluable life lessons. These lessons can apply to both office newbies and long-term media professionals alike.
Master as Many Skills as Possible
As the saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none. But oftentimes better than a master of one.” According to Plum producer Trevor, solely focusing on developing one skill set is not always in your best interest. “It used to be you could just be a writer or you shot or you edited. Now a days you need to be really good at one thing, but also be good at other things.”
Develop A Strong Work Ethic
According to Patrice, the Operations Manager at Plum, a strong work ethic and a positive attitude can set you a part from others with a similar background and degree. “I think a lot of things come down to work ethic. I’m not just a 9 to 5 type of person,” says Patrice. “Attitude is another differentiator. It’s important to have a good attitude and not put yourself above others no matter how talented you are.”
Establish a Real Relationship with Clients
For Plum producer Lance, it’s crucial to get to know each client. “It really helps to know them as a person first and a client second because you want the client’s personality to show through in your work,” says Lance.
Confidence and communication also go hand in hand in when successfully dealing with clients. Plum’s Online Video guru Katie offers this advice: “Always be saying I don’t know the answer, but I’m going to find that out for you.”
Discover Inspiration for Your Work
Movies, websites like Vimeo and YouTube, and online tutorials are all good sources for inspiration and they all happen to be some of the places that the Plum staff looks to for a little extra creative juice. “Some of the short films on Vimeo are so inspirational that we’ve actually started an internal document where we connect those things and share with each other,” says Lance.
Staying up on pop culture also helps to give Plum a creative edge. Plum editor Nicole states, “I really like watching music videos because they push the line. I ask myself how can we take that crazy pop culture thing and apply it to a corporate video that someone will want to watch?”
On the flip side, stepping entirely out of your world and into a new environment does wonders according to Plum producer Ken who has travelled to over 30 countries. He puts it this way. “Being in another country shakes your brain up so you can be a little more creative.”
Embrace New Challenges
Every single day in the media production world comes with new challenges. The fun part is coming up with creative solutions to tackle these issues. Plum videographer Bob lists creative problem solving as one of the favorite aspects of his job. “There are always going to be problems, whether it’s a field sound or lighting issues, and it’s just a question of how you deal with them,” says Bob.
Take Every Opportunity That Comes Your Way
It’s impossible to further your career if you’re not open to different kinds of experiences. Plum producer Gael states, “Be willing to do anything and everything that’s even sort of related to your field to get your foot in the door to learn and make yourself more valuable.”
According to office manager Angela, being proactive is also crucial. “Always make yourself available to everybody. The only way you can really learn things is by helping out and asking what you can do.”
While it’s important to tackle projects that are compatible with your career goals, you should also be open to trying new things. Plum editor Eric states, “Figure out what your passions are through different work. You may think coming into it you know what you do, but that could change really quickly."
Key Takeaway: Not Your Average Plum
I’ve learned a lot of invaluable lessons my first few weeks at Plum, but maybe the most important is simply gaining an understanding of the incredibly unique work environment I have just entered. There are not many places where flexibility and professionalism or work and family can blend together. Plum’s not your average work place. It feels like home.