A few months back 2 friends of mine who teach at a local middle school wrote me, "We are trying to find cool people with interesting careers that could present about their jobs and Melissa and I thought of you! Would you be interested in/able to present to a bunch of 12-14 year olds about your job?" My response was a resounding YES.


I showed up and the faculty had placed me in one of the oddest rooms possible, the library. They had couches facing TVs, round tables, and low-riding lounge chairs. None of them faced the same direction. Not your most ideal situation, but kids paid attention regardless. My simple set-up with the RED Weapon as well as Canon 5D Mark IV excited them as they walked in.

There were 5 sessions, each about 30 minutes with a different set of students. They asked me many questions, but here were my favorites:

  •  If you could redo college, what different classes would you take?
  •  What brand of shoes are you wearing? (No, I'm not kidding. Yes, this was in the middle of my presentation.)
  •  What kind of car do you drive?
  •  Do you speak Spanish?
  •  How much does your camera cost?
What kind of car do you drive?
— random kid in the middle of the presentation

I gave them over-simplified versions of average salaries, what an average day looked like, tools needed, etc. The following is a list of things I mentioned to describe, "skills needed":


1. self-motivated / leadership (you are the one in charge, you can watch netflix all day if wanted)
2. visually creative (no one wants to hire someone who can’t see things differently)
3. disciplined (no one will hire you a 2nd time if you don’t follow through on what you said)
4. people skills (did you network while on set? did people like being around you? good, you’ll stay in business)
5. salesmanship (can you persuade people you’re worth their money?)

6. resilient (you will likely fail, people will think you’re terrible, rejection comes, you’ll lose money)
7. adaptive to change (technology changes every single day, the way people view your work also changes)
8. ability learn new techniques (you will need to teach yourself a lot about business in general)
9. patience (you will likely get paid days or weeks after any given shoot)
10. tech savvy (you will guaranteed have tech problems to overcome, and you will need to be efficient with tech)


It was fascinating to see how the upcoming generation perceives things, and what they value (for instance, I learned that their age group doesn't use Facebook, but they were heavily involved with Instagram, and some used Twitter). It was also a reminder that if you want to progress in life you have to pay attention.