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Old 10-20-2018, 03:14 PM   #1
pedramyz
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I have found a producer. Help!

Recently a producer in america ( who is a friend of a friend ) has emerged and has agreed to read my script. I told him the logline and he liked it. But I have no idea how this "pitching" process works. I'm currently working on the 6th draft of it, and I'll give it to him when it's ready and not before. Since my goal is to break into Hollywood as a filmmaker, I have no idea how to take advantage of this situation. If by some miracle this guy likes my script , Below are a list of questions I really need some advice with:

1. When is the time to talk terms? I say my terms before giving the script to him or I let him read the script first then talk terms?

2. Do I even have the right to put terms on my script or not? Should I let him decide what he wants to do or is there any room for negotiation?

3. Since my goal is to begin working as a filmmaker in U.S, what sort of deals I should be looking for? What sort of deals allow me to get a working visa in U.S with this script? ( cause for instance if the guy wants to buy or option the script, that doesn't provide me with any working opportunities in U.S to be able to get a visa off of that, right?)

4. This script is not low-budget. It's medium budget. Can I ask for final cut or directing it myself at all? ( I think it's really unlikely cause I don't have any directing track record). The only reason I'm asking this unreasonable question is that I'm not really familiar with the production process. and I've heard that the producers start pitching your script to actors and talents out there, and if you can attract good talent to your script, there are institutions which provide you with intense directing courses for 3 weeks or so. Like sundance or AFI. and then you can go direct your own script.

5. and at last should I even bother showing my script to this guy? Cause I've heard once your script gets out, it's out. and if it's bad, your name is ruined and it gets really really tough to get back from that. Since I don't have that much professional notes on this script, I don't know where it stands right now.

Last edited by pedramyz; 10-20-2018 at 03:45 PM. Reason: Bad title
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Old Today   #1A
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Old 10-20-2018, 03:59 PM   #2
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Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

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if it's bad
Is it bad? If so, all your questions are moot.
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Old 10-20-2018, 04:11 PM   #3
pedramyz
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Talk about putting the cart before the horse.
You mean I'm going with it the wrong way, or are you suggesting that I do it? I didn't get what you mean by this.



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Is it bad? If so, all your questions are moot.
Well as I said I haven't been able to gather that much professional notes to decide that, But I've submitted an earlier draft of this script to nicholl contest, and I have posted the reader's comment in this forum you can look it up and see if it's a positive review or a negative one. But currently I'm working on the 6th draft, changing some of the issues they pointed out.
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Old 10-20-2018, 05:18 PM   #4
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I didn't get what you mean by this.
Bluntly said, you're all excited scheming on how to extract maximum value like you've made the oil find of the century. This is exactly the reason people go through agents and sales agents. They understand the art of dealmaking. Rookies often kill deals with unrealistic stipulations, putting both themselves into the too hard basket and reducing the attractiveness of a deal to investors.

The number of scripts that command what you're hoping for is akin to finding a unicorn... It's very rare.

PS: Rhino's are Unicorns that have let themselves go.

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I have posted the reader's comment in this forum you can look it up and see if it's a positive review or a negative one.
You need to rethink your reality. Like that's going to happen. Make me work hard to help you. Right on buddy.
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Old 10-20-2018, 05:38 PM   #5
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Make me work hard to help you. Right on buddy.
lolz... "Do you have your resume with you?" "It's on my Instagram" Millennials brah...
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Old 10-20-2018, 07:04 PM   #6
pedramyz
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Bluntly said, you're all excited scheming on how to extract maximum value like you've made the oil find of the century. This is exactly the reason people go through agents and sales agents. They understand the art of dealmaking. Rookies often kill deals with unrealistic stipulations, putting both themselves into the too hard basket and reducing the attractiveness of a deal to investors.
Ok, so your advice is to go through an agent if I could find one instead of directly giving my script to a producer.

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The number of scripts that command what you're hoping for is akin to finding a unicorn... It's very rare.
I know ! I'm hoping for the best, everybody does that, aren't you?! As I said I am not familiar with the industry that much, there is a start to everything. what do u want me to say? I'll keep editing my script for the 1000th draft and promise not to show it to anyone for the rest of my life?!


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You need to rethink your reality. Like that's going to happen. Make me work hard to help you. Right on buddy.
man people really like to get confrontational in this forum

I wasn't the one who brought this up. YOU asked this strange question " is it bad?" what writer thinks his/her work is not good? I can't be the judge of my own work. That's why I answered your question by referring you to the 2 paragraph reader's comment on my script ("work hard"?!) .and I didn't ask you to read it, I said you "can" read it if you want to. Obviously you don't want to. That's fine, but you don't need to be vindictive about it. Does stomping on rookies turn you on? Does it fuel your ego or does it help with the insecurity issues?

Last edited by pedramyz; 10-20-2018 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 10-21-2018, 02:17 AM   #7
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Am I right in assuming you're an emerging, early-career, completely unknown writer based in Tehran? And whilst this might not be your first script (that is to say, you probably have half an idea how to write), this is the first one that's really attracted any interest, or at least the first on you've felt decent enough about to submit to a contest and re-write a few times to get it right. Nothing you've written so far has been made, but you've received some decent feedback from people online and your friends who have read it.

Is that correct? If not, my advice will probably be different.

If correct, I would say get the latest draft written up ASAP, spend 1-3 weeks max polishing it up and send it off to your Producer friend and see what they think. Then start developing your next three ideas ASAP.

Absolute best case, the Producer loves your script, contacts you to option it (potentially with a fee) and then maybe one day it gets made and you get paid properly. More likely, you don't hear back or you get a small paragraph with some notes on your writing style, or the script or whatever.
A fantastic outcome would be a response along the lines of 'like your writing style, keep it up and keep me in the loop for anything else you've got'.

Keep writing. If you want to Direct, start Directing and start learning how to Direct. You're not going to direct a so-called 'Hollywood' film after a three week intensive at a film school.

And if you think it's a bad script, don't send it. If you genuinely don't think it's up to par, then keep developing your writing until you think it is and attempt to cultivate the relationship a bit more in the meantime.

There is no such thing as an overnight success. Keep writing, and keep pushing and keep hustling and one day, with enough determination, you might get there.

An unknown, unpublished, inexperienced writer putting outrageous fees/terms, working visa or final cut conditions on the sale of a script is a sure-fire way to scare off any Producer. Scripts are a dime a dozen. Don't make it even harder for yourself

Last edited by jax_rox; 10-21-2018 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 10-21-2018, 09:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pedramyz View Post

1. When is the time to talk terms? I say my terms before giving the script to him or I let him read the script first then talk terms?
After he has read the script. Unless you have a non-negotiable, deal
breaking demand. Then you should mention that up front before
you waste his time.

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Originally Posted by pedramyz View Post
2. Do I even have the right to put terms on my script or not? Should I let him decide what he wants to do or is there any room for negotiation?
There is always room for negotiation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedramyz View Post
3. Since my goal is to begin working as a filmmaker in U.S, what sort of deals I should be looking for? What sort of deals allow me to get a working visa in U.S with this script? ( cause for instance if the guy wants to buy or option the script, that doesn't provide me with any working opportunities in U.S to be able to get a visa off of that, right?)
You are right, if the producer offers you an option to buy the
script it usually involves a specific number of rewrites. That
you can do from your country so it doesn't provide you with
any opportunities to work in the U.S.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pedramyz View Post
4. This script is not low-budget. It's medium budget. Can I ask for final cut or directing it myself at all? ( I think it's really unlikely cause I don't have any directing track record). The only reason I'm asking this unreasonable question is that I'm not really familiar with the production process. and I've heard that the producers start pitching your script to actors and talents out there, and if you can attract good talent to your script, there are institutions which provide you with intense directing courses for 3 weeks or so. Like sundance or AFI. and then you can go direct your own script.
You can always ask.

If the producer options your script he will immediately look for both
actors and a director. Many producers already have several directors
in mind when they option a script. It is unlikely that during the option
period you can get enough directing experience to get that job.


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Originally Posted by pedramyz View Post
5. and at last should I even bother showing my script to this guy? Cause I've heard once your script gets out, it's out. and if it's bad, your name is ruined and it gets really really tough to get back from that. Since I don't have that much professional notes on this script, I don't know where it stands right now.
That is true - not as dour as you say, but if the script is bad and this
producer is well connected the word will get out. If he doesn't like it
that doesn't mean it's bad. Never show a producer a script you don't
think is 100% the very best you can do.
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Old 10-21-2018, 09:28 AM   #9
pedramyz
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Am I right in assuming you're an emerging, early-career, completely unknown writer based in Tehran? And whilst this might not be your first script (that is to say, you probably have half an idea how to write), this is the first one that's really attracted any interest, or at least the first on you've felt decent enough about to submit to a contest and re-write a few times to get it right. Nothing you've written so far has been made, but you've received some decent feedback from people online and your friends who have read it.

Is that correct? If not, my advice will probably be different.
Yeah, you are correct.

Quote:
If correct, I would say get the latest draft written up ASAP, spend 1-3 weeks max polishing it up and send it off to your Producer friend and see what they think. Then start developing your next three ideas ASAP.

Absolute best case, the Producer loves your script, contacts you to option it (potentially with a fee) and then maybe one day it gets made and you get paid properly. More likely, you don't hear back or you get a small paragraph with some notes on your writing style, or the script or whatever.
A fantastic outcome would be a response along the lines of 'like your writing style, keep it up and keep me in the loop for anything else you've got'.
So you mean I should start writing a new script after showing the first one to a producer? Even if the producers likes the script, nothing would happen, and he would probably want to read my further works . Nothing would happen unless he/s reads at least a couple of my scripts to develop a taste for them right?


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Keep writing. If you want to Direct, start Directing and start learning how to Direct. You're not going to direct a so-called 'Hollywood' film after a three week intensive at a film school.
fair enough. Imagine I've learnt directing by making some extremely low-budget indie films. Even if that's the case, I don't think a producer would still let me direct a medium budget movie. He'd say these movies are low-budget, you can't compare them with a medium budget movie which is trying to be marketed. I still don't know what are the expectations from a writer to let them direct his own movies. If no producer is willing to give you the chance to direct your own movie without a track record, how is it possible to become a director of your own movies?

Quote:
And if you think it's a bad script, don't send it. If you genuinely don't think it's up to par, then keep developing your writing until you think it is and attempt to cultivate the relationship a bit more in the meantime.
I honestly can't tell if it's a bad one or a good one. I can't be the judge of my own work man. I think it's really great. but all writers think like that about their own work. Maybe I should pay and gather more professional notes on the script before even showing it to an agent or a producer. huh?

Quote:
There is no such thing as an overnight success. Keep writing, and keep pushing and keep hustling and one day, with enough determination, you might get there.

An unknown, unpublished, inexperienced writer putting outrageous fees/terms, working visa or final cut conditions on the sale of a script is a sure-fire way to scare off any Producer. Scripts are a dime a dozen. Don't make it even harder for yourself.
Ok, So these terms are really unrealistic and I should be happy with whatever deals the producer ( if there is any) offers.

Thank you for your honest advice man, I really appreciate it.
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Old 10-21-2018, 09:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by pedramyz View Post
Imagine I've learnt directing by making some extremely low-budget indie films. Even if that's the case, I don't think a producer would still let me direct a medium budget movie.
Look at the career of David Lynch. He directed several shorts then an
extremely low-budget movie then a producer hired him to direct a
medium budget movie.

You know recent American film history, I bet you can name several
more. If you can't, I can.

Get working on those directing skills so we won't have to imagine
you're learnt directing. Start now!
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So you mean I should start writing a new script after showing the first one to a producer?
No. You should already have five finished.

Imagine if the producer reads your script, likes it but doesn't think
he can raise the money for it so he asks; “What else do you have?
Something, maybe, for a lower budget.”

And what do you say? “Sorry. I don't have anything.”

Or do you pull out a low budget script and hand it to him.
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Old 10-21-2018, 12:06 PM   #11
pedramyz
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You are right, if the producer offers you an option to buy the
script it usually involves a specific number of rewrites. That
you can do from your country so it doesn't provide you with
any opportunities to work in the U.S.
As always thank you for your thorough answers. I just have a question for this part. Do you know of any deals that provide me with a working opportunity in U.S?

Last edited by pedramyz; 10-21-2018 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 10-21-2018, 12:10 PM   #12
pedramyz
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Originally Posted by directorik View Post
Look at the career of David Lynch. He directed several shorts then an
extremely low-budget movie then a producer hired him to direct a
medium budget movie.

You know recent American film history, I bet you can name several
more. If you can't, I can.

Get working on those directing skills so we won't have to imagine
you're learnt directing. Start now!

No. You should already have five finished.

Imagine if the producer reads your script, likes it but doesn't think
he can raise the money for it so he asks; “What else do you have?
Something, maybe, for a lower budget.”

And what do you say? “Sorry. I don't have anything.”

Or do you pull out a low budget script and hand it to him.
So what I can take away from this is that right now I should avoid contacting any producers or agents. Unless I have 4 or 5 scripts ( preferably low budget ). and If I want to demand to get final cut, I need to have some shorts in my resume instead of relying on the intense courses right?
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Old 10-21-2018, 03:27 PM   #13
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The point of all of this is you need to be exquisitely prepared to dive in head first. 99.99% of the time a PRODUCER is interested in PRODUCING a commercially viable product. S/he wants a great elevator pitch, an audience appealing tag line, and an audience appealing story/script. S/he wants reasonable assurances that s/he and the investors will earn a profit. 99.99% of the time this means they will invest in someone with a track record. You are one among hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, who dream of being a big Hollywood ___________ (fill in the blank). Out of all of those hundreds of thousands of wannabes only a few hundred even get an opportunity to present themselves to those with the contacts and finances to green light a project. Out of those only a few dozens make the cut.

So it's time for you to step back and make a brutally honest assessment of your assets and liabilities. Very talented, very experienced people have given you some insights and perspective, and, just like every other one of your threads, you contest them on every issue.

You have no experience, no track record, no scripts, no shorts or features to your credit in any filmmaking role whatsoever. So, if I had two million dollars to invest in a project, why should I invest in you? What do you have to offer that others don't? Producers are not philanthropists who will throw money at you because they feel sorry for you; the are business people who expect to make a profit. Yes, there are examples of producers who took a risk, but it was a calculated risk based upon the talent, reputation and previous body of work of the artist in question.

As an audio post guy I do the occasional pro bono job. However, it must be an exceptional project that provides opportunities. I did one project because I had never had the opportunity to work on a project with an ensemble cast; the same project also took place over an entire year, so I had to create a huge number of seasonal soundscapes. In another project I had to have the sound of one individual dog barking for almost five (5) continuous minutes - how do I keep it interesting, much less keep it from being annoying - which it is supposed to be for the protagonist. I took on another for a somewhat reduced fee as it required lots of supernatural sound effects and lots of complicated weapons play (multiple distinctive weapons in a single seven minute scene). These are technical/creative challenges that I wanted to tackle. The only other attraction is the opportunity to work with exceptionally talented people or to make solid business contacts.

What makes you so special that I would want to work for you for free or a reduced fee? These are all questions that you MUST answer for yourself.
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Old 10-21-2018, 05:43 PM   #14
pedramyz
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The point of all of this is you need to be exquisitely prepared to dive in head first. 99.99% of the time a PRODUCER is interested in PRODUCING a commercially viable product. S/he wants a great elevator pitch, an audience appealing tag line, and an audience appealing story/script. S/he wants reasonable assurances that s/he and the investors will earn a profit. 99.99% of the time this means they will invest in someone with a track record. You are one among hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, who dream of being a big Hollywood ___________ (fill in the blank). Out of all of those hundreds of thousands of wannabes only a few hundred even get an opportunity to present themselves to those with the contacts and finances to green light a project. Out of those only a few dozens make the cut.

So it's time for you to step back and make a brutally honest assessment of your assets and liabilities. Very talented, very experienced people have given you some insights and perspective, and, just like every other one of your threads, you contest them on every issue.

You have no experience, no track record, no scripts, no shorts or features to your credit in any filmmaking role whatsoever. So, if I had two million dollars to invest in a project, why should I invest in you? What do you have to offer that others don't? Producers are not philanthropists who will throw money at you because they feel sorry for you; the are business people who expect to make a profit. Yes, there are examples of producers who took a risk, but it was a calculated risk based upon the talent, reputation and previous body of work of the artist in question.

As an audio post guy I do the occasional pro bono job. However, it must be an exceptional project that provides opportunities. I did one project because I had never had the opportunity to work on a project with an ensemble cast; the same project also took place over an entire year, so I had to create a huge number of seasonal soundscapes. In another project I had to have the sound of one individual dog barking for almost five (5) continuous minutes - how do I keep it interesting, much less keep it from being annoying - which it is supposed to be for the protagonist. I took on another for a somewhat reduced fee as it required lots of supernatural sound effects and lots of complicated weapons play (multiple distinctive weapons in a single seven minute scene). These are technical/creative challenges that I wanted to tackle. The only other attraction is the opportunity to work with exceptionally talented people or to make solid business contacts.

What makes you so special that I would want to work for you for free or a reduced fee? These are all questions that you MUST answer for yourself.
Thank you for your time. Everything you said is true. Look to be honest, I get how hard it is to get to that "star" status, Believe me I know! but the thing is I can't afford to give in to this intimidating belief. I always put into account the challenges ahead of me when I'm deciding something.But I won't be able to operate to the fullest of my potential if I constantly keep thinking about the challenges ahead of me. That dreaming is part of my coping mechanism to keep me going. I can't keep thinking about the one in a million chance of success everyday if I want to write something good.. If I do that, before long I'll find my mind locked only onto the failures, not expecting anything good to happen to me and eventually loosing my ambitious dreams. I can't give in to this intimidation without loosing the courage to have my own voice. I know there is a 99.99% chance that I won't make it, but I choose not to listen to it just so that I get to give it my best.

And honestly whenever people give me practical, productive advice in this forum ( like you or directorik,..) I LOVE IT! realistic but productive advice is like music to my ears man. But I don't know why but for some reason, some people just like to stomp on your pride and then shred you to pieces without giving you any advice at all ! It's like they've joined this forum just to stick it to rookies. For example I ask a very specific question, and some, not only don't they give me any relevant answers, they constantly keep giving me humiliating standard platitudes just to break me for some reason . Breaking someone just to prove a point can never work as a good piece of advice.

Anyway since you mentioned that "contest" part, I felt I owe it to you guys to explain the reason behind it. But honestly thank you for making the time to answer my rookie questions man!

Last edited by pedramyz; 10-21-2018 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 10-21-2018, 11:21 PM   #15
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So what I can take away from this is that right now I should avoid contacting any producers or agents. Unless I have 4 or 5 scripts ( preferably low budget ). and If I want to demand to get final cut, I need to have some shorts in my resume instead of relying on the intense courses right?
Right now, my suggestion is to worry more about writing. Getting 4 or 5 (or more) scripts of varying genres and budgets to a similar level that you are happy with. That doesn't mean avoid contacting Producers or Agents - if an opportunity comes up, why not see where it goes. But do it smart, and focus on developing yourself and your skills in the meantime.

If you were to engage an agent, they will ask you for a number of different works that they can use to shop you around anyway. Producers of TV series will ask your agent for samples if you go for gigs on major shows.

Way too many writers spend 10 years perfecting the one script, then try and shop it around and no-one's interested in it. Or someone is interested in them but not the specific project (for any number of reasons), but they have nothing else to pitch.

And yes, if you want to creatively contribute to the filmmaking process, you should get some experience in the filmmaking process.

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Originally Posted by pedramyz
Ok, So these terms are really unrealistic and I should be happy with whatever deals the producer ( if there is any) offers.
I'm saying don't scare off a Producer by bombarding them with unrealistic expectations from the get go. For all I know, your script is the next Star Wars. If it is, and a Producer is willing to do these things for you, then sure - go ahead. Awesome.
It's your career man, do what you think you should. If you can get a Producer to pay you, sponsor you and let you head up the film - then awesome! But I don't know that I would pass up the opportunity to get my film made based on those requirements, and I don't think I would front them to the Producer unless they were really interested in my script.
I'd probably rather build a track record first.


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I know there is a 99.99% chance that I won't make it, but I choose not to listen to it just so that I get to give it my best.
There's a difference between being smart about opportunities and your approach and simply wildly hoping for unrealistic pipe dreams. Sure, maybe 0.01% of people who dream about making it in Hollywood actually make it. Of those, probably 0.01% of them at most were picked out of nowhere, from a foreign country, with no track record or experience.

No-one's discouraging you from trying, we're giving you advice to make the most of your opportunities and give you the best chance of success. Not getting everything lined up, and working on your own skillset is setting yourself up to fail.
At the end of the day, you can take that advice on board or not - it's your career.
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