Today we’d like to introduce you to Veronica Zin.
Veronica, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Prior to moving from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, I visited twice before, a week at a time, alone.
I made it a point to collect new encounters per visit, usually through existing connections or make new ones through Tinder. Tinder has a rep; we all know that. But people underestimate the truly incredible networking app it can be if you have the right approach. My Tinder bio during these trips was clear in my intention and read along the lines of “Take me to your favorite spot in Los Angeles and I’ll take photos of you there,” combining my ambition to meet new people with my skills in photography. From these, I met many people eager for new content who happened to be in music and film, my favorite industries. I’ve maintained these connections past my permanent move here in May 2019. Tinder helped advance my career into what it is now: a Best Boy connected me with a music video producer I work frequently with; a friend I met on Tinder back home connecting me with a music video director here; and an old friend from Tinder who connected me with his roommate who I now shoot alongside with at Emo Nite LA and assist on his music videos. I’ve been extremely lucky that connections from Tinder worked for the better and not the worst.
After having been heavily involved with music in high school, eventually moving on to photograph local bands in Philadelphia and also having studied film in college, I was primed for a career in music videos. I quickly worked my way up from production assistant to production coordinator within three months of my arrival in LA. Since then, I have worked on sets that include Common, Tegan & Sara, Idina Menzel, Say Grace, and more recently, bands I listened to in high school, like The Word Alive and Emarosa. I’m proud to say I produced my first music video and wrote my first treatment that JUST was made into a video! I want to eventually direct music videos myself and I’m lucky I am this far for ten months in.
On the side, I also still shoot stills for models and bands that I’ve met through connections I’ve made in the past. That is an increasing interest for me.
I truly believe that luck gave me the opportunities to meet people and from there, my work ethic maintained these connections.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Music and film are predominately male-oriented industries. We have come so far and we owe it all to previous waves of feminism. But there are some people who still need to catch up. The best advice I can give to my sisters is grow your voice. I had to learn to find my voice and overcome my fear of confrontation to assert my space and my comfort. I routinely get asked out on dates on set. And I have to routinely tell that man who imposes himself and confuses my niceness and professionalism with flirting that I am at work, I cannot leave work because he is making me uncomfortable, and I do not appreciate that he finds it acceptable to cross lines. Learning to have the courage to state my discomfort, say “no,” and not feel bad for doing such was so, so hard in the beginning but at some point, I had to to make sure I keep myself protected as a woman and the fear of confrontation would come second. Make it a point to call men out for being dodgy, inappropriate, sexist, etc.. Knowing when to stand your ground will help you in every spectrum in life.
Also, catch yourself when you try to explain yourself. There really is no need to unless someone asks. You don’t need rationalize to other people why you’re feeling a way or doing a thing.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I freelance, but I work predominantly as a production coordinator. In short, I’m am the pseudo-assistant to producers on a production. The job requirements can vary per project. I can book locations, crew, equipment, catering, props. Sometimes I can help with budget; sometimes I never see the numbers. I am responsible for mainly administrative tasks like payroll, contracts, and making sure invoices and crew are paid out. I can delegate tasks to production assistants and supplement help to producers. Since I freelance, I am open to other positions like producer on photoshoots and smaller budget videos, photographer, editing music videos, and writing treatments for other directors.
I’m most proud of my advancement within my short ten months in Los Angeles. Jumping from production assistant to production coordinator in three months is pretty special to me. I feel blessed to be recognized for my work ethic. I can afford life which, to me, means I’m pretty successful.
Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
My advice may not apply to all since I work mainly in the gig-economy.
As mentioned before, dating apps can be very powerful. I know Bumble has a Bumble Business section that I have met a few people off. If you make it clear how you’re using these tools, people will have the option to either help you or leave you alone, which is nice.
Facebook has many groups for many industries. I have gotten gigs off there a few times. In film, it’s less about qualifications and more about being the first to reply. Qualifications are certainly important, but they are looking to fill the spot sooner than later, and are less likely to consider multiple applications or resumes when someone with decent qualifications applied first. Facebook friends and Instagram followers could also help out if you make a quick post saying you’re looking for work.
Create good quality business cards with current contact information. I have a business card for each role I work in and issue cards depending on who I am speaking to. Cardstock is so important. For example, I got my cards printed on recycled tee-shirts and are 3×3 inch squares. Many people, upon feeling my card, comment on the quality, then I follow that by saying it’s a recycled tee-shirt. That fact along with the obnoxious shape of the card will have people remembering the encounter.
Be nice and genuine to everyone. Common sense. People remember the really nasty people and the really nice, helpful people. Follow up with people on their lives and remember important facts about them. You don’t know who you’re speaking to and first impressions are too important in LA to mess it up.
- Instagram: Veronicatakesphotos