I have a dilemma. I'm trying to decide whether I should even apply this year, or wait until next year, or what. Let me explain, and then I'd love advice from you folks, especially if you've attended Boot Camp in the past.
I'm a wedding photographer, which means I work a LOT of weekends, especially in the summer. My summer weekends are usually planned by the end of February or March, in fact, and I'm locked into working on dates I've committed to by a contract. Late last year, I contacted Mr. Card's assistant (who is fantastic and helpful), explained my work situation, and asked if I could get some "advance warning" on Boot Camp dates so that I could avoid booking anything for any of those days. She and Mr. Card were very accommodating and informed me of the Boot Camp dates before they were officially announced so that I could plan my work around the event, just in case I managed to survive the application process and was accepted.
Then a wonderful, extremely good disaster struck.
The employee of a very large, very active reception site asked to book me for her wedding - on August 18th (the last day of Boot Camp). The owner of said reception site personally recommended me and has been sending a LOT of referrals my way since November. I've booked about 40% of my 2007 business from her recommendations alone. I really didn't want to let her down, because accepting her employee's wedding would make me El Supremo Hero #1 and would surely result in bazillions of future referrals, possibly for years and years to come. So I took a couple of days to think it over, and accepted the job.
I then wrote to Kathleen again (Mr. Card's assistant, of course) and made myself a pest YET AGAIN and asked if it would be considered unacceptable if I left a day early, understanding that I'd still pay full tuition, IF I even got in! She asked Mr. Card and said that it would be up to me, but that I'd be missing out on a whole day of the workshop which obviously would be kind of lame.
So I'm kind of stuck between two options: Try to get in, and if I am accepted, leave on the afternoon of the 17th, fly back to Seattle, and shoot my wedding on the 18th. Or don't apply at all, because if I have to fly back late at night from Utah, I won't be shooting my best anyway.
Most of you are probably thinking, "So what? Just don't book any weddings over Boot Camp for next year and go then." That has occurred to me, too, except that I will presumably still be working as a wedding photographer next year (I certainly hope I will be, anyway) and I'll still be faced with the same problem - not knowing when Boot Camp will be held until it's potentially too late to continue putting off bookings for the summer of 2008. Then I'll have to either cave to bridezilla pressures and book it up, or face not working at all for most of the summer. I can't refuse all early bookings for a ninety-day timespan during the busiest part of the year. Or I can't for too long, anyway....
So now that you know the history of the problem, here is the actual problem:
I really don't want to ask again when the Boot Camp dates will be before they're officially announced. That's tacky and sort of presumptuous, and I felt pretty uncomfortable doing it the first time. So I'm worried that basically I'll never have another chance to attend Boot Camp, other than possibly 2007 (and I'll have to leave early anyway).
So, for those of you who are alumni of the Boot Camps of yesteryear, would it be worth it to try to apply this year? Would I be selling myself short by not attending the full thing? I know I'll obviously be missing out on some important stuff if get in and I cut it short by a day...but will I be making a major mistake, in your estimation? I'm not asking you guys to make my decision for me - I'm just asking for opinions.
If the general consensus is that I'd be missing out on a very important part of the experience, I'll take my chances on next year and just hope that I can put off summer bookings until the dates are announced.
My opinion: if boot camp is important to you, do the whole thing. Otherwise, let someone else that cares enough for writing to make the sacrifice have the spot. I understand you have a career as a photographer, but you should be able to miss one wedding if you really want to be a writer.
I've often wondered what goes on at such things, but have only limited desire to go to one myself. Besides, my life right now falls into making a living and barely having time to write around the time I have to spend at making a living. In the days where I had free time, I couldn't afford to go to these things.
Go, if you can manage it. Even if it doesn't help your writing---but chances are it probably will---it could be a learning experience.
Actually, I've often wondered what goes on the Boot Camp fora (forums?) that exist here but that are locked out to us muggles. Particularly the 2004 one, and why it's so active so long after the event...
It's far better to miss the last day than to miss out altogether. On the other hand, I would really have hated to have missed the last day, myself; it's not just a tidying-up. Furthermore, I don't think Kathleen or Scott would be offended by your asking for the dates early again next year. They're nice people. (I'm assuming that this year's disaster is really something unlikely to be repeated; there's no point in asking year after year and then never applying.)
One thing to keep in mind: this year it will be in Utah, next year it will probably be in VA. Does that make a difference?
[This message has been edited by rickfisher (edited February 19, 2007).]
I would attend and leave early. You'll miss part of it, but you'll experience most of it. In my opinion, I think it's better to have it cut a day short than not go at all. Much better.
Posts: 2 | Registered: Aug 2010
| IP: Logged |
I was going to apply last year but then I broke five ribs in a freak (!) playground accident. I really just need to take a picture of the object I fell on and post it one day. Hmm. I guess those dates are something I could possibly work around.
Well, the advice has been all over the spectrum so I'll just say "search your feelings."
[This message has been edited by franc li (edited February 20, 2007).]
RMatthewWare said: "I understand you have a career as a photographer, but you should be able to miss one wedding if you really want to be a writer."
Normally, I'd agree with you...but it's such a delicate situation, with this being the employee and friend of somebody who's in a position to send dozens of jobs my way for years to come. She's also in the position of telling people specifically NOT to work with me if I let her down. It's a precarious thing. And I would feel a bit guilty if I got in, left early, and "took" the spot from somebody who could stay for the whole time. Plus, I just plain WANT to stay for the whole thing if I possibly can.
Alethea Kontis - good idea, having somebody take notes. I may try that out.
rickfisher - this year's disaster is *extremely* unlikely to happen again. I'll be firmly on the good side of this lady by then, and established enough that I will be able to afford to turn down other potential referral sources even IF something similar happens again. Utah vs. Virginia makes no difference to me, except that I do have family in Orem that I haven't seen in years...but I'd hardly get a chance to visit with them anyhow if I was at the workshop all week!
franc li - definitely want to see pictures. And thanks - I'll continue to think about it. I guess I still have a little more time to decide.
Right now, I'm inclined to wait for next year and just cross my fingers REALLY, REALLY HARD and hope that the dates are announced by January '08-ish. I can stave off summer inquiries until then and still avoid starving myself and going bankrupt all year.
Thanks again, everybody. It has given me much to think about while I exterminate fleas from my apartment all afternoon.
Yeah, go ahead and book the gig knowing that you will miss at least the last day of boot camp. Then you apply to boot camp. If you get in, then decide if you want to go and miss a day or not go at all.
In the meantime we'll all pray for you that the wedding is cancelled :P
Did you address the probability that next year's boot camp is probably going to be held in Virginia?
When is the deadline for Boot Camp application? Seems like it was April 1 last time.
[This message has been edited by franc li (edited February 21, 2007).]
Well, the wedding is already booked, so I'll be doing it regardless. I wouldn't have booked ANY wedding during Boot Camp, but of course something I absolutely can't turn down just WOULD come up for the Boot Camp weekend. My stupid luck.
I will probably not apply at this point - the more I think about missing a day, the less appealing it becomes. I really want to get the full experience, and I doubt past alumni get to apply twice, so there's not much hope that I could do it again if I opt in and miss a day this year. Probably best to let it go this year and just hope like the dickens that I can put off booking anything for 2008 until they announce the Boot Camp dates.
I know a lot of people have disagreed with this, but I think you've done the right thing. Boot camp isn't exactly cheap. It is worth every penny, mind, but you don't want to miss any of it to get your full money's worth. Maybe next year you will be so in demand that people will schedule their weddings around you. Or at any rate, hopefully telling someone that you are booked on certain dates won't be as damaging next year.
It is a terrific experience, though. I hope you get the opportunity someday.
Why not pick a likely week or two to keep free, then chalk it up to fate (and a vacation) if those turn out not to encompass Boot Camp? Do that for a few years, you're pretty likely to get a hit, and without sacrificing all bookings for the season.
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999
| IP: Logged |
Libbie, When I was working freelance, I found that something always came up. You never know what's going to happen. Rather than letting your decisions hang on maybes, let them hinge on definites. You have this wedding and it's more of a priority. That's fine. But there's nothing to say there won't be something equally imperative next year or the year after that or the year after than. You do know you have the rest of the time for boot camp free this year. Apply and see what happens. Nicole
Posts: 63 | Registered: Jan 2007
| IP: Logged |