It's been my experience that unless born into the industry, few people are truly prepared for the "reel" world, whether they've been to film school or not. It's not like film school, and it's certainly not like any other business or job you've ever had. Newcomers are transported to another planet where the words "no" or "I can't" are never an option, extreme behavior is accepted, creativity and politics are equally valued, people work and talk at break-neck speeds, you work just as hard on the projects that aren't successful as you do on those that are, where anything is possible and the unimaginable happens every day.
Upon landing your first job, no matter what you've heard it's going to be like or what your expectations, it will most likely be different from anything you expect. It's so hard to prepare someone for the mixed bag they're about to encounter: the best, the worst, the competition, the vast variety of personalities and temperaments, the politics, the magical moments. It can be confusing and overwhelming at first, unless you know what you're walking into ahead of time. The better prepared you are, the shorter your learning curve, the more of an advantage you'll have over your competition, the more confident you'll be, the faster you'll be able to jump right in and the more you'll impress those around you.
How do you get prepared? Well, you're reading this book, and that's a great first step. Read as much as you can, and sign up for reputable seminars and workshops that relate to what you want to be doing. Join networking organizations and (if you're a college grad) alumni groups and talk to people who are already in the biz. Volunteer to work for free or sign up for internships through your school to gain some practical experience. Observe, ask questions and be a sponge—soak up as much info as you can.
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