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Expand Your Mind--And Your Business!

Expansion. It can be a bad thing or a good thing depending upon where it's happening. Expansion around the waistline is generally a bad thing. But....

Expansion of the economy is a good thing, but at the present time it doesn't appear to be happening as successfully as the expansion of our maturing waistlines. Is there anything we can do to harness the power of expansion to our benefit? How about expanding our minds?

I'm not talking about the Timothy Leary approach; I'm talking more along the path of expanding our knowledge and skills. Sure, the job opportunities right now may be fewer and further between, but this can be viewed as an opportunity to turn towards upping your mental assets. If you've got extra time on your hands, get out the manuals for that camera or the recent software apps that you've acquired and become proficient in all the features. Tap into the plethora of online resources; there's a myriad of tutorials and instructional programs from Total Training,, Creative Cow, Adobe TV & others. Take a course at a local community college in any one of several production-related subjects; you'll add new skills and new services that you can dangle in front of your clients.

Now is also a good time to expand your contact base! Using the online social networks (LinkedIn and Facebook to name a few) are a great way to stay connected with current clients and colleagues, /and reconnect with past ones. If you haven't set up an account, it only takes a few minutes to get started and then you be amazed at how quickly your connections grow. But don't let these new online tools overshadow the value of good 'ol face to face networking.

One of the best ways to do that is by attending the monthly meetings organized by MCA-I. The presenters and topics are always interesting and provide topical, useful information for the production community. And getting involved as a member can significantly increase your contact options, both locally and with the entire national association. The industry here in the OC is comprised of many "one-person shops" and production boutiques, but we still work in a collaborative business; we rely on the services and support of each other. Essentially, the bigger your network, the better you can work your business.

So how about planning for some expansion through the rest of this year? If you can direct it more towards mental and social growth (and less towards abdominal growth), you'll be poised and ready to pounce with the next phase of economic growth!

Gary Stone

Gold Standard Productions

Gary Stone is one of a number of volunteers currently working to connect all MCA-i members through a number of social network services.  In his non-professional life, Gary is not content with watching others have all the adventure. He's a commercial instrument-rated pilot, certified rescue diver, an avid hiker & backpacker and sings with a quartet. He's currently preparing for a 10-day trek on the High Sierra Trail this summer.