My Experience at The Sab Network

"I joined the Sab Network to foster more connections with the ultimate goal of generating more work. The reliance of my career on unpredictable patterns of social engagement was very apparent post pandemic, when many of my former contacts and circles whom I’d enjoyed an abundance of productions with for many years, adapted their roles according to the changing landscape of broadcast television or, nearing retirement age, simply left the industry altogether. In either case as I watched an established personal network of career contacts I’d developed over twenty years, evolve or simply disappear, I felt isolated and questioned where my career would lead next. 
I knew I, myself needed to evolve, so when a friend and fellow Sab member suggested I join the Network I contacted Sebastian Shelly, Assistant Director of the Sab Network, who immediately made me feel welcome. He spent well over an hour sharing with me with from his own humanity, rather than a corporate mentality, to really discover if we would enjoy collaborating together. His warmth, his passion about the Sab Network and his encouragement of my career really struck me and once again I felt the familiar optimism about where my role in audio production could take me. 
Since joining, my membership has more than paid for itself with the work I have received through the Sab Network. But in addition to bringing more income, another way the Sab Network helps me is to offer a sense of community and support. Whilst everyone on the Sab Network is experienced in their own right, we’ve all had different paths in our careers and rather than fostering a sense of elitism and division which some membership groups can fall into, I’ve largely found a welcoming community within the Sab Network. The community is willing to answer my questions, however basic or complex, on occasions when I’ve sought further opinions or technical advice. Anyone who works as a location sound recordist knows there are often several ways of solving a technical challenge, so knowing I have an open, active resource willing to answer any of my questions and share advice along the way from other Sab Network sound recordists is something I really value in the platform.
Just knowing the platform is there in the background with a group of members all with their own unique experience to draw on is a great support, as is having the ability to help assist productions in crewing other members at short notice if any last minute cancellations occur or technical problems arise. I recall turning up to a field in Cambridgeshire for a shoot in which the producer who was shooting that day forgot the batteries for the camera. I was in a position to send a message to the Sab Network via WhatsApp, whose members cover extensive locations all over the UK, and within an hour one of the DoP members who lived nearby to the filming location was able to supply the necessary kit to ensure the shoot went to plan. Having this kind of backup either for my own problematic situation or someone else’s is a great attribute.
The fact that by becoming a Sab Network member I’ve felt a worthwhile benefit within my own career, despite my resistance to engaging with social media, which I realise is a large part of the Sab Network’s unique appeal, indicates to me that anyone willing to invest themselves in all aspects of the platform will most likely reap even more from joining the membership. I understand that, like most communities in life, often the more we engage with them, the more potential opportunities we can receive or be able to give to others. Perhaps I will venture into sharing more within the platform or maybe I’ll chose to remain more “old school” in my method of communicating through it. In any case I imagine whatever level a member chooses to engage with the platform and whichever way he or she approaches it there will most likely be benefits to that individual one way or another so my recommendation is to try it out at the very least and see if it works. I continue to be grateful I did so."

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By Paul Miller

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