: Kylee Peña's Blog
Day Four, but really day six. Day six of four. Whatever. Last day of NAB. Day negative one seems like a week and a half ago at least.
DEEP THOUGHT: SMS.
When I read NAB suggestions and tips and wrap-ups from people who have been coming to the show a long time, I rarely hear anything about communication. This is mind-boggling. How did you meet people? Did you just know where they are? Randomly bump into people and become life-long friends? Call on the PHONE? NAB is such a frenzy, how did you really take advantage of all these great people being in town without being able to communicate instantly?
I'm really asking you guys, if you care to enlighten me.
Twitter is amazing. I've met a lot of great friends through chatting on Twitter. But you know what really made this NAB great? SMS. Yeah, THAT old junk!
A couple of weeks ago, Liam (@editorliam) suggested that some of us download an app called GroupMe, which serves as a group messaging service. His thought was that we could communicate with each other as needed without having to rely on Twitter for finding people. It clogs the feed, and it's hard to keep tagging everyone because you can run out of characters. So a handful of us downloaded GroupMe.
I found that you could forward GroupMe messages to text instead of using the battery-burning app, so I did that. And it works phenomenally well, especially when my LTE connection was struggling. Over the course of the week, we kept adding people to the thread. We could quickly send a text to ask if anyone was in the south hall, or if people wanted to find lunch. The app (and SMS service) also allows for picture messaging, so it devolved into silliness at times, seeing who could get closest to whom and snap a picture without them realizing.
It's made finding friends during the show much easier than last year. It's allowed all of us to spend a lot more time together instead of trying to coordinate and keep missing each other. Yesterday, part of the group decided at the last minute to take off into the desert to shoot the sunset -- something that couldn't happen in an event of this scale without coordination ahead of time unless you can text 20 people at once. And those 20 people bring along new people they've met and introduce them into the group.
Right now, my phone is buzzing as plans are set to go to In-N-Out Burger as a bookend to NAB before the last of us leave. When we tried to coordinate this last year, it was difficult to tell everyone where and when things were happening. This year, if my text messages are any indication, we'll have a group of something like 10 or 15 editors. Might make seating a little difficult, eh?
I suppose that's a good last deep thought from the heart of Vegas: SMS and burgers. The staples of life. As you can see, one leads directly to the other.
AND NOW? Double double animal style with an extra toasted bun, with well done cheese fries thankyouverymuch
. Ah, I love the west.
Hooray for borrowed wifi. The gift that keeps on giving, whether it wants to or not.
DEEP THOUGHT: cave dwellers.
Working in the fabulous Small Tree Communications booth again today, I had more opportunity to ask booth visitors what they were looking for and what they saw in the lower south hall. Other than the cute widdle Bwack Magic itty bitty camera, most people were talking less about things and more about ideas for new workflows.
The commonly mentioned things were collaboration tools like Adobe Anywhere, Axle Video, and Digital Rebellion's Kollaborate. Everyone was trying to get a handle on "that whole cloud thing." I watched an Adobe demo where screens were shared and media was swapped and traded during a Skype call a state away. Of course it worked pretty flawlessly with one end rooted at Adobe's headquarters, but still – pretty nifty.
Like I've mentioned, I'm editing an indie. Over the last 6 months, I think I've seen the director three times. We live an hour apart, so I send cuts on Screenlight (which is awesome) and have dropped DVD screeners but otherwise I'm on my own. I get a lot of feedback on Facebook chat. So this cloud stuff? I'm kind of wondering if maybe it would be a little better for my workflow. Less searching Facebook chat logs and cross referencing Excel worksheets, more uh, editing. Habits to break, for certain.
On the other side of this, I wonder if we'll hit a point where we don't really ever see each other in post. Not because we don't have to – I think we all know a project needs some face to face time – but because actually being in a room together will become an unnecessary expense to the powers that be. So after a while, the dark "edit cave" will literally become a fortress of solitude. Stalagmites and stalagtites and bats and drippy water and everything. We'll all look like the things in The Descent, and instead of coming to NAB and meeting each other, we'll form complex underground colonies and eat producers that enter our sacred space.
Quote of the day from a stranger behind me as I walked from the north hall to LVH: "AUGH! SUNLIGHT!"
See? IT HAS ALREADY BEGUN.
Had loads of fun meeting loads of people today as well. Nice to meet and be silly:
Blah blah written on day two posted on day three because INTERNETS SUCK.
DEEP THOUGHT: "saving steps".
In high school and college, I worked as a waitress. In the world of serving tables, we have a concept called "saving steps." That is, you're on your feet every shift, so you try your best to think about each trip around the dining room. You address the needs of multiple tables at once so you don't end up running back and forth and wearing yourself out unnecessarily. Servers who don't save their steps are referred to as noobs, and thusly looked down upon.
I half-liked and half-hated serving tables, but like many irrelevant jobs I had along the way, it taught me a lot of stuff with practical application into professional life. I kind of resent that, but it's ingrained now so I can't do anything about it. I think those of us who had hospitality jobs where we were on our feet for 8-12 hours at a time really benefit from this probably-kinda-traumatic experience at events like NAB.
Today was my first day ever working in a booth for NAB. I was in Small Tree Communications' booth (more about that another time), which was positioned right beside the walkway to the central hall. Everyone tells you the cliche advice to wear comfortable shoes, and informs you just how hugemongous each hall is, right? Other people tell you to have a plan. That stuff is so very correct. Watching people entering the lower south hall in between helping interested NAB attendees with their storage needs, you can place the repeat attendees -- or ex-servers in the crowd. Walking with purpose, and not back and forth in front of me over and over!
Save steps, walk strategically, see more stuff! Advice for all areas of life, really.
And those ladies in heels? They're either professionals, or they're insane. Ain't NO savin' steps in heels.
Day one is two days and mumblemumble
dollars short. Vegas, man. What can I say? I DID write it on day one.
DEEP THOUGHT: connections.
Wandering around the south hall today shortly after it opened, I found myself bouncing from person to person, many I knew and some I didn't. This has become somewhat expected by now -- you're in one room with a couple hundred people from a relatively small community (of which the Internet sub-community is even smaller), of course you're going to run into each other. That's part of the fun. However, today I had a bit of a different experience with making connections.
I've blogged a bit about working on an independent film called The Impersonators
. At the end of May, we'll be doing a significant chunk of pick-ups to enhance some story points. Because of reasons, I won't be around for the shoot much so I've been looking for a DIT to manage the on set media and make sure I get what I need. I was fretting a bit about this: twelve days of shooting, unpaid, prefer if you have any idea what you're doing.
I asked a friend of mine who works for Ball State University if he could pass on my needs to the telecommunications department the day before I left for Vegas. This morning, Monday, I got an email back: there's a student who is very interested in the gig. He's worked with RED material as a DIT before. He even developed the workflow.
And the student saw on my blog that I'm at NAB this week. He is too.
I called him from the show floor and we met up in the lobby of the lower south hall and talked for a while about the film and his experience. Don't tell anyone, but I think he knows more about this than I do. Kids these days.
It's funny, I expect to go to NAB and meet creatives from all over the world. And I do. But I also found and hired the DIT I never thought I'd find.
Today's deep thought is brought to you by free wifi a day late. It's hard to post a daily blog from a wifi-only iPad.
ANYWAY. Today's actual
deep thought is about what lies behind the curtain. The man back there we're not supposed to pay attention to until the little dog comes and bittes his leg.
Vegas is all about the facade. It makes you feel loved, desired, wanted. Vegas lusts for you. Come here, give us a hug. It's okay to spend your paycheck. We'll make sure you don't know how many hours you've spent wandering around with your head in the clouds. There there, Vegas says. Here are some pretty girls who care about you!
In this way, it's the perfect venue for NAB.
Literally looking behind the curtain today, I walked the lower south hall as an exhibitor for the first time. Last year I saw the shiny show floor. My first impression this year? Shambles. Fork lifts, tarps, people yelling at each other. I wondered how the hell they'll get it together for the next day. Like I said on Twitter, it's like learning the truth about Santa. A big fat man doesn't
break into my house? These booths don't
just appear in the night?
Then looking behind the curtain even more, I attended my first press conferences with Sony and Avid. They're very slick, and very polished. But I noticed when I looked around the room and focused on what was behind me instead of on the stage (in 4K, of course), it was nothing but men in suits looking very
Preparing for what new items might be released today, I noticed again how secretive some companies are about their products. So much so that when it appears this secret has been breached, it obviously becomes the talk of the dinner table. Tweets retweeted, blurry pictures shared on iPhone screens in Vegas dives. You start to wonder if this is a glitch behind the curtain, or a strategic move leveraging the instant nature of Twitter. As a professional conspiracy theorist, I almost always assume the latter.
And of course, behind the curtain of products themselves. Companies adding a lot of features that aren't new and haven't been new in a million years. And being revered
for it. Don't get me wrong, I'm always happy to see updates and feature requests fulfilled. But thinking as a person from the other side of things, more critically than accepting, I can't help but see how this isn't the same as those frilly Vegas showgirls. We love you, give us your money and we'll dance around a little bit and make you feel good.
It's very interesting at NAB this time around. Last year was all about bright lights and loud noises. Now you start to pay attention a little closer and see some things you don't normally see, and you can start to see the seams.
Off to day one! I'm going to go bite some legs and see what kind of trouble I can get in to.
South Lower Hall, 6005. Find Orad from the main aisle and turn left. It's looking pretty freakin' sweet right now. Lots of great stuff to show you...or just stay for the huge circular screen.
I'll be there Tuesday and Wednesday. Walter Biscardi will be there Monday and Tuesday. No matter when you come, you'll see some COW friends.
Not gonna lie. This is pretty fun already.
Yeah, so, NAB, am I right?
Alright, look. This is my first year seeing NAB from the other side in many ways. I'm very much an observer. I will tweet a lot of strange pictures and probably a lot of nonsensical thoughts over the next week, but I felt like I should at least attempt to contribute something worthwhile during this thing.
There's a deluge of coverage from the show floor. People who have been around a lot longer and actually have strong opinions will be covering everything anyone could possibly want to know about new products. That's not really my calling anyway.
So I present to you: Deep Thoughts from Vegas.
I call today day negative one. Day 1 has to be Monday and Day Negative Two sounds stupid so today is negative one, tomorrow is zero. Though it seems that stuff starts to get interesting tomorrow, which gives today a sort of Christmas Eve vibe. Soon all the post pros will be nestled snug in their expensive suite king sized beds while thoughts of Resolve 10 dance in their heads. In between the less savory things; it is Vegas after all.
"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray to Adobe my soul to keep."
Which leads me to today's deep thought: absurdity.
If you take a half step back, this is all just a little bit incredibly absurd. People furiously tweeting, speculation and rumors out the wazoo, press releases practically being tossed out into the streets like ticker tape. It's absurd that I'm writing this on my iPad while crammed in a middle seat between two dudes I don't know while my husband is in another middle seat crammed between two ladies he doesn't know.
It's just barely skating the surface of sanity, this week. The frenzy, the freebies, the things we do to our bodies. And that's perfectly fine. This is what we do for a living. The NAB Show defines the rest of the year for a lot of us.
But come on, I'm right, right? It's all rather lavish. Over the top. Decadent. Absurd.
This isn't a thing that says we're going overboard and need to reign it in, because I think it's pretty much amazing. Because what's not absurd in the least are the relationships forged or renewed at this thing. Friends, contacts, employers, employees. Listening and learning is the take-away, along with the free t-shirts.
If you're here, count yourself lucky. You shined up your comfy shoes, snapped your badge onto a fresh lanyard, and you're heading out into the night to drink with like-minded nerds and talk about 4K. If you aren't here, count yourself lucky too: you aren't crammed into a middle seat.
I'm just saying an ounce of gratitude this week will do your body good.
Also, probably 20 ounces of water before bed each night.
That's my thought. Absurdity and gratitude. I promise some of these may even be funny and not at all preachy.
Last week I found myself in Urban Outfitters for some unknown reason, and started looking through their mostly novelty book collection. Recipes for hemp, something about beards, veganized Betty Crocker, even the classic Tumblr Feminist Ryan Gosling is now a coffee table book. In the piles of hipster literature and cat pictures, I found a book called "Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)" by George Lois
. The book is, as you'd guess, a list of advice largely aimed at young professionals, arranged with one point per page with a succinct paragraph explaining it.
I glanced through a few pages and landed on one that basically said this: don't forget to honor your mentors when you're successful. Give credit to those that helped you in some way.
I thought, really? People need to be told to do this? Why wouldn't you share your success?
But then I remembered a time when I used to keep my gratefulness to myself. Introverts tend to think a lot of things, and a lot of us in post are introverts by nature. We appreciate what people do for us and would always give them credit for helping us along the way if someone asked, but do we ever tell them? Honestly, all this junk gets way too close to having feelings and emotions, and most of us just aren't down with that kind of stuff.
I've been lucky to have a few mentors along the way so far, but there was one person I saw recently, and I realized I had never told him the impact he had on me. We only worked together a couple of days a long time ago.
In 2006, I accidentally found out that there happened to be a small independent film community in Indianapolis. I say accidentally because I was eavesdropping on a conversation at work. A girl mentioned her dad was an actor, and it snowballed from there until I was walking up the driveway to a stranger's house while people I don't know assembled a dolly outside. The film was an independent feature drama about a pioneer woman who got lost in time, and they were shooting two scenes outside the house that day. I had volunteered to be a production assistant. I'd never been a PA before, so I had no idea what I was getting myself in to with it.
I spent the day doing everything you'd expect a brand new PA to do. Moving stuff, getting people drinks, moving stuff, moving stuff. Around evening, some people had to leave, and the assistant director asked me if I knew how to script supervise. Nope, but I can learn. So he showed me. A couple more people left, so I had to script supervise and do the slates. And it was night, so I had to shine a flashlight on the slate. And then grab my script notes. He worked with me, showing me how to number and letter the takes, what to say, where to hold things. He was incredibly kind and patient for a dude on a film set dealing with a mostly clueless 19 year old, heavy on the positive reinforcement. After we wrapped, I helped wrap cable and we spoke for a while about my career and schooling, and he wished me luck.
Having been on a lot of sets since then, I know that they're usually at least a little tense. I was lucky to have a first experience with an AD that wasn't screamy and stressed out. If my first experience on set had been negative, I'm not sure what would have happened next. But the AD's kindness showed me that there are a lot of good people in film, so I continued to volunteer and pursue more experiences with indies. Over the years, I've been able to work my way through crew jobs and meet dozens and dozens of great people. And of course, this eventually led to me editing a feature myself.
I figured I should probably tell him, right? So I did, via a quick note online. He was happy to hear, and he told me this: please do the same for someone you just met. Which is also great advice, and something I've always aspired to do.
This will undoubtedly get buried under the sea of NAB news about to flood the feeds, but if you're heading off to Vegas or getting your RSS feeds ready to see the latest gear and "game changers", remember the people
. Give credit where it's due. Honor your mentors (or those that were kind to you in some way) when you have any kind of success. Remember that nobody gets there alone. It works out great for everyone. Your mentor is encouraged to keep it up. You get some much needed humbling. And you might even get another dose of good advice from the experience. It's win-win-win, ya'll.
Now everyone hug.
Disclaimer: This has almost nothing to do with anything. It's a stream of consciousness of my brief pilgrimage to B&H in New York City. I'm not really sure because I wrote this sentence before I wrote the thing, but it could very possibly become over the top.
Honking. Wind. Buzz. Orange camouf-what! Oh. I jump sideways to dodge a bike messenger.
camo? Doesn't that defeat the purpose?
I look up from my phone, realizing I probably shouldn't stand right in the middle of the sidewalk while I check my map. Maybe if I were an actual New Yorker. My pink (yes, pink) backpack and I are alone in New York, and we have an agenda. Technically, the agenda is AFI's Directing Workshop for Women. But that's tomorrow. Tonight? Twitter Taco Tweet-up. But today? Today it's me and the city. Checklist item number one? B&H
Yes, B&H. The largest non-chain photo and video equipment store in the US. It's mere blocks from me at this moment. I think, anyway.
The city and I are getting acquainted near 7th Avenue in the Flatiron District. I told the cab driver a random intersection in the neighborhood to make things a bit more interesting for me. I can't remember the exact cross-streets anymore because I ended up walking miles through Manhattan that weekend. I do know I could see the Empire State Building from where I stood, so I figure that's a good place to start. And let me say right now if my geography seems off, it probably is because I'm freezing cold. Just go with it.
I try to avoid looking too much like a tourist since I'm alone. I fail at this at the base of the Empire State Building. You see it in movies forever, but when you're at the base staring up and unable to see the top, you understand what humans are capable of, but in the good way.
I'm only walking for an hour before my face completely freezes. A nor'easter is brewing and it's not letting anyone forget.
As I pick a new direction, I end up passing by Penn Station and the Flatiron building, among a few other things where I say "OH HEY THAT'S THAT THING" and then quickly stick my hands back in my pockets and keep walking in the direction of B&H. I swear I'm downwind of that new electronics smell. It's like a siren call leading me forward in the blustery wind.
As I'm crossing a road I look aside to check for cars (because apparently no one waits for the walk sign in New York) and I see the Freedom Tower. Over the course of the weekend I realize you can see it from almost everywhere even though it's not yet complete. I remember what humans are capable of, but in a bad way.
Finally, like a mirage in the desert, a green awning appears in the distance. A green awning displaying that oh-so-familiar logo. The logo on the massive multitude of magazines that hit my mailbox on a quarterly basis.
B&H Photo Video at 9th Avenue between 33rd and 34th.
Like all the best places in New York, it's in sort of a nondescript looking brick building. I go inside and pass the bag check. A bearded man greets me. Then I'm suddenly inside the world's greatest candy store. I half expect Willy Wonka to somersault down the carpet at me.
The store seems to take advantage of every square inch of space available in the building -- all 70,000 square feet of it across two floors. That's like almost two football fields. (Non-America readers can do the conversion to soccer field for me.) Display cases with audio mixers shine brightly like jewels. An entire aisle of cables hang carefully and conspicuously not tangled. Cameras, lenses, every type of storage media conceivable by man. Anything you could ever want or need or want is in this store.
After I wander the perimeter, checking out some things I was ogling in the magazine recently and trying to remember that most of it won't fit in the single backpack I have, I stand near an employee talking to a curious shopper.
I suppose it's worth noting that B&H is owned and operated by observant Satmar Hasidic Jews with hundreds of Orthodox Jews on staff. To me, a staff of people in traditional Orthodox garb is both welcoming and intimidating and I can't really tell you why. It's like the authority of uniform to another level. But I can tell you that all the salesmen are so completely friendly and knowledgeable, there's no way you'd leave the store without talking to someone, if only to say hello.
Of course, in the few moments I eavesdrop on the sales guy talking to the customer, I realize the guys can talk circles around me because they actually know their s--t and I blank out on any questions I may have ever had. I don't think they want to talk to me about the meaning of life, they have things to sell.
I make my way upstairs and find the stuff that I really like to window shop -- lenses and hard drives. I love a good hard drive. The air in the store is perfectly balanced with equal parts fresh electronics and old New York building. They should bottle it. Eau de Camera.
As I'm walking around, I noticed bowls of also-nondescript candy placed at the end of aisles. It looks like the kind of candy I usually avoid, so I don't try it. Later I kick myself when I bring up the candy to post nerd New Yorkers and find it's phenomenal. If you're going, try the candy. Let me know what you think.
Skipping over the parts where I oooh and aaah over stuff I either can't afford or can't fit in my backpack, I make my way downstairs again and admire the engineering happening above my head. Either taking advantage of the space or simply working with the space they have, the building has been set up with an elaborate conveyer belt system in the ceiling. What seems to happen is that you decide to make a purchase after talking to one of the sales guys, then you go to the maze of cashiers near the exit and get in line. While you do this, your item is sent from storage, into the conveyer belt, and magically flies into the room of cashiers so they can give it to you as you pay and depart.
I'm pretty sure that's what happens. It's thrilling to me. I like conveyer belts. The store is like a living organism that feeds on curiosity and converts it to happy.
Realizing I should get out before I make any bad (good) decisions, I carefully navigate the cashier maze at the exit. With a friendly salutation from the door watching man, I'm back out on the street wondering what just happened.
For a moment I consider going back in for another ride. But instead, my main checklist item fulfilled, I wander back to Penn Station to see what other trouble I can find.
The new electronics smell fades into the heavy subway stank and the gentle whirr of B&H blends into back the cityscape.
Of course, I end up getting stuck in New York two extra days thanks to Nemo (and a day in DC, but in the airport) so I could have spent the whole EVENING people-watching and equipment-ogling at B&H. Next time maybe I won't be traveling so light and I can afford the space for a new lens cloth or twenty foot cable. What cable? I don't even care. I'll find a use for it.
(Saturday morning in Brooklyn after the storm, for good measure. It was kind of cold.)
This blog post is going to skate really close to rant territory. I'd apologize for that, but I'm actually not sorry. You've been warned.
(I did, however, take out all the swearing that would normally accompany this if we talked in person. That's a premium service. Contact me for an estimate.)
For some reason, I've been asked for my advice about getting started in an editing or filmmaking career or how to find indie films to work on more this week than ever before. I'm not sure why it's all happened at once, maybe I'm giving off a vibe. Or scent. Regardless, it's cool. I love sharing my experiences and opinions. Passing on advice that worked for me is a lot of fun and I'll always do it. Mutual curiosity about career stuff is a fun conversation topic.
you've really really
got to stop being lazy and making excuses for not getting what you want. Seriously. It's sad and it makes me sad for you. So sad in fact, that I've created this BEST OF compilation of stupid excuses. It's perhaps a little more brash than my usual fare. Don't mistake this for arrogance. I'm young and stupid too, but I'm still allowed to almost rant. Pseudo-rant. Pretend I made you cookies and you're eating them as you read this.
"I want to shoot/edit/work on some short films but I don't know anyone."
Okay, two options. Do it all yourself, or meet people who share your ambition. Which one sounds easier? (It's not the first one.)
When people ask me how I meet people in film, they're dismayed when they realize that I actually left my home and talked face to face with other human beings. Yes, it's true! Even here in Indiana we have a great filmmaking group called Indiana Filmmakers Network
. They meet once a month, every single month. I always pass along this information to locals that are interested in filmmaking. The general response? Maybe two in ten people actually look into it. Maybe ONE of those two people actually attends and starts and conversation with someone new. Repeat visitors to the group, even less than that. Yes, there are half-people wandering around meetings here. It's grotesque.
There are meet-ups and user groups like this all over the country, why aren't you taking advantage of them?
"I went to a networking event but I didn't meet anyone."
WHY? Networking also isn't a matter of simply showing up. If you go to a meet up with a group of people that know each other, you have to be the one to take initiative because they're all going to be busy catching up with one another. Elbow your way into a conversation, introduce yourself, and be interesting and useful. If you don't get anything out of a networking event, it's nobody's fault but yours.
"I met some people, but they never got in touch with me."
Why didn't YOU get in touch with THEM? You didn't call or email or write or carrier-pigeon them? Why should it be their responsibility to reach out to you? Come on, dude. And once you get in touch, it's also YOUR responsibility to continue to cultivate the relationship by the way. And while I'm on the topic, remember: people are people, not commodities. Treat them as such.
Networking isn't instant gratification, which is maybe the biggest turn off for people. It took me over five years of meeting people and working on their sets before I got to the point where I was even editing. These all started as side projects, purely for enjoyment. And that's how it primarily remains. But I get a lot of really great, professional experience, and I've gotten significant paid work from it too.
"I don't know why I'm not getting any freelance work at all."
(My response: how are you looking for work? Their reply: "Online
These days, it seems so common to rely completely upon electronic communications. Find a listing or company email, send an application or forward a resume, profit. Except the third one doesn't happen that much, does it? How many frustrated hours do people spend on the Internet, sending bits into the ether, hoping someone they don't know comes along and says why YES, this 40 word email is precisely what was missing in my life!
The best work I've gotten has come from knowing people who know people. I'm not saying the Internet isn't useful for job hunting by any means. Or for making initial contact. Or even for maintaining contact. But when someone is frustrated and lacking in work and they haven't done a single thing beyond sending formal emails to HR accounts, I want to slap them with a hand full of glitter.
Besides the networking events and meet ups, you should be doing everything you possibly can to make connections. Call a company directly (unless they say not to -- follow instructions for the love of *%&^). Make contact with individuals and ask for informational interviews or tours. Invite someone to coffee. Send mini muffins. Whatever! It takes up a lot of your time and it's a lot of effort, but the return on your time investment is going to be much higher than sitting in a dark room sending 1's and 0's to already-stuffed-full inboxes.
(But you do have a website, right? Okay, good. Oh wait, it's grammatically correct and stuff too? Okay, just checking.)
"But I'm an introvert, I don't like asking for things."
So am I and neither do I. Bummer. Do it or change careers, man.
"I did work for someone but they never contacted me with more."
Did you do good work for them? If not, then you're screwed. If you did good work, did you stay in touch with them and follow up about more opportunities? If not, do it now. I'll wait. Because you might not be screwed. But ya know, they may just not have any work or money. It shouldn't matter to you, you should be working on other connections. Don't take it personally. Just keep checking, move on, and have another plan.
"I'm too busy to look for work."
This makes no sense. If you're too busy to look for work, how are you not too busy to do
work? This is a time management issue that should be figured out before you take on clients.
The part where this becomes a rant is not the questions I'm being asked. It's the response I get. Physical effort? Feh, I can't deal with that. I'm skilled, people should be knocking down MY door to hire me.
That's not the world we live in. No one owes you anything, especially not if you put in the minimal effort of getting a college degree or doing an online course. I don't have an easy solution. I'm not luckier than you. While there is a big element of being in the right place at the right time, you don't magically find yourself in that right place. Most often, the right place is a consequence of forging a new relationship and working really hard. And not being a poopy person. The time is what you have less control over, so you can pray to the leprechaun in the sky or the holy unicorn for help there.
So stop making stupid excuses and get out there. Yes, put on your shoes. Socks go on first. Good! Here's a cookie. Now go out the door. You might need a coat, it's been pretty cold lately. Go find someone, shake their hand, and talk about stuff. It's flu season, so maybe take this hand sanitizer. Look both ways before you cross the road, call if you need anything. Good luck!