"I learned how important close relationships and friendships are because this business is chock full of negativity and comparison and ambition...so many things that can topple you."
- Stefanie Black, Actor/Producer
At the heart of creativity is the ego, the self. Creatives in the film industry work tirelessly to put their own unique, creative stamps on their work in search of recognition and a career of continual opportunity. This journey to success in a saturated field means fierce competition, palpable disappointment, and encounters with those whose self-interests trump your own. This is why close relationships and friendships are so important. Our friends are vital to our mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical well-being.
In 2006, Tom Rath published a book entitled "Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without". This book defines eight types of friends:
“Builders are great motivators, always pushing you toward the finish line. They continually invest in your development and genuinely want you to succeed — even if it means they have to go out on a limb for you” (87).
“Champions stand up for you and what you believe in. They are the friends who sing your praises. Every day, this makes a difference in your life. Not only do they praise you in your presence, but a Champion also ‘has your back’ — and will stand up for you when you’re not around” (93).
“A collaborator is a friend with similar interests — the basis for many great friendships. … When you talk with a collaborator, you’re on familiar ground … you often find that you have similar ambitions in work and life” (99).
“A companion is always there for you, whatever the circumstance. You share a bond that is virtually unbreakable. When something big happens in your life, this is one of the first people you call” (105).
“A connector is a bridge builder. …. Connectors get to know you — and then introduce you to others” (111). Connectors are always inviting you to lunch and other gatherings where you can meet new people, and point you in the right direction when you need something.
“Energizers are your ‘fun friends’ who always give you a boost. You have more positive moments when you are with these friends. Energizers are quick to pick you up when you’re down — and can make a good day great” (117).
7. Mind Opener
‘Mind Openers are the friends who expand your horizons and encourage you to embrace new ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people. They challenge you to think in innovative ways and help you create positive change. Mind Openers know how to ask good questions, and this makes you more receptive to ideas” (123).
“Navigators are the friends who give you advice and keep you headed in the right direction. You go to them when you need guidance, and they talk through the pros and cons with you until you find an answer. In a difficult situation, you need a Navigator by your side. They help you see a positive future while keeping things grounded in reality” (129).
To make it through the challenges of the filmmaker's journey, it is important to find people who can fill these roles in your life. Once you do, you should protect these relationships by filling one or more of these roles in their lives as well. By creating synergy and always thinking win-win, you will have the collective strength, knowledge, energy, and resources needed to press forward, create, and to never give up.
Be Better. Be Creative. Be Engaged.