Why You Should Be Helpful When You Can Be.

So, awhile back, I became friends with a guy on Twitter. He had just bought a Canon 7D and from time to time would ask me for advice on various things about it.
Now, when that happens, there are a few ways you can deal with it.

Scenario #1
Screw this guy (or girl) ! I don’t know them from a bucket of paint and I’m not wasting my time.
I get it. I am busy too. We are all busy. However, if you position yourself as a person that just constantly takes and never gives back, people are going to be less likely to help you out when you have a question. This is true in life and Twitter. I certainly am not suggesting that you should only help people because you want something back. Just try it every once in awhile. It actually feels good knowing you have helped someone else out. I know it sounds crazy but, I swear it’s true.
Scenario #2
Spend every second of your waking life seeking out people who have questions on Twitter and answering all of them.
Who knows? Maybe you will become the most influential and richest person in the history of the world and people will sing your praises from the mountaintops.Hell, maybe you’ll be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. I don’t know anyone who has that much time on their hands. If you do. You need to step away from the computer and take a walk.
Go see what real people and that big fireball in the sky look like every now and again.
Scenario #3
You do your best to help out when you can and you are not afraid to say when you honestly don’t know the answer.
This I have found to be the perfect solution for me. If i know something you don’t or have a helpful insight I will give it to you and expect nothing in return.
Why would I do that? I don’t know maybe I am weird. Maybe that’s just the way I was raised. My dad always told me, ” Take it easy on people. You never know what they are going through.”
I strongly believe that. You never know what is really going on beneath the surface.
I’m not claiming I’m perfect, I know I’m far from it. The key is: I genuinely try to be a good and helpful person. That’s all you can do really.

So who was the guy I was trying my best to help on Twitter. His name is Mike Collins aka @mikespins . You know what just happened?
He just hired me and Cristina to shoot a very cool documentary piece on an Inuit tribe 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska next month. That in all likelihood
would never have happened without Twitter and definitely never would have happened if I had behaved like a jerk.

So the lesson for today: ” Don’t be a jerk and you will get work.” <--- Not really. It just rhymes and I kind of lost my train of thought, so sue me. Anyway, thats my two cents for the day. So, do everyone a favor, yourself included, and see who you can help today. Since, you made it all the way through this post. Here's a perfect example of someone giving back and helping out when they can. It's Patrick from stillmotion at it again. Educating and inspiring. Gotta love it.


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13 replies
  1. Johannes
    Johannes says:

    This exactly why I can running back to Twitter. I agree with you one million times over. I see it especially as this is still a “new field” (DSLR Filmmaking) that we all can help each other in more ways than we could all have ever imagined!

    • Jon Connor
      Jon Connor says:

      Thanks a lot. Yeah no sense in not helping. When you help someone else you actually understand it better yourself. Or maybe they do it a different way and you learn something there too.

      • Johannes
        Johannes says:

        I couldn’t have said it better myself. And coming from someone who’s just entering the DSLR field, I look up to all of you who have had far greater experience that I and can hopefully gain knowledge and guidance from all of you.

  2. MikeCollins
    MikeCollins says:

    It’s amazing how things work out huh? I had just gotten a 7D after spending most of my time an an eng shooter and was out of my depth. Posted questions and asked advice on twitter and Jon was almost always the first person to respond with helpful advice and gear suggestions. We hit it off and actually have spent less than ten minutes face to face. But I know that I trust him with a hugely important job in a tough place to shoot. I trust he and Cristina both to help me deliver something that we think is going to be pretty special.

    What Jon didn’t mention is that this is for an Ipad app which we are developing and I am hoping that all of you that I’ve become friends with in the DSLR world will help us spread the word about this.

    Wait til Jon or I tell you about Haiti… 🙂

  3. Johannes
    Johannes says:

    Of course we’ll plug your work, well atleast I will. You along with Jon, Cristina and Mr.Tosh have been so helpful with all my (what I feel like is nagging) questions, that I don’t know how to repay but to push your names out there.

    Thanks again to all of you for all of your insights.

    • MikeCollins
      MikeCollins says:

      I feel like that sometimes in feeling like I ask too many questions. But you know ask and if someone can answer then they will. Sometimes you might not get an answer at all. I learned that the DSLR movement and I really believe it is a movement is made up of people willing to share their knowledge and enthusiasm.

      I’m happy to help though I’m finally feeling like I know what I’m doing with my 7D. We shot an event with camcorders yesterday and I hated it 🙂

      I’m really looking forward to seeing what Jon and Cristina come back with. There’s going to be some amazing footage.

  4. Ryan DJ MC
    Ryan DJ MC says:

    I know Jon helped me a ton, and still does. Nothing like helping each other out. It shows true professionalism and how mature the film making industry is. I hope to only be able to return the favor to someone else one day. “Pay it forward”

  5. Andrew Sorlie
    Andrew Sorlie says:

    Giving back goes a long way. Great article Jon. There’s another way to put it ‘Givers Gain’.

    Thanks for having this amazing website and sharing like you guys do!

    Andrew Sorlie

  6. Chip Dizard
    Chip Dizard says:

    Great article Jon,

    I think this is why I like #cflive and the meetup. Sometimes it’s not what you get during the training but the friendships/business relationships you get after the meeting.

    I met up with @MrTosh1980 for a wedding yesterday with 4 DSLR’s and we had a great time.

    Kudos and let’s keep sharing!

    Chip D.


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