“This business is all about relationships.”
“It’s all about who you know.”
As actors, we may hear this phrase so many times it ceases to lose its meaning. But think about it. From meeting casting directors, actors, directors, to producers – jobs get booked and not from nowhere.
Starting out, it can seem daunting to try to network and meet new people. Who should you meet? Where do you meet these people? If you haven’t met them yet, how are you supposed to meet them?
I agree with many others when they say you should put yourself out there and go to screenings, go to networking events, and of course, auditions. But I would argue that it starts where you are sitting right now.
- Be NICE.
Having a crappy day? Let it go.
Feeling nervous? Doesn’t matter.
Someone cut you off outside? That’s life.
As an actor, it is our literal job to stand in someone else’s shoes and think about what makes them tick. Your audition does NOT begin at 1:05pm in a hot studio in Brooklyn. It begins at 6:30am with the sound of your blaring alarm.
Yes, you are entitled to be in a crappy mood whenever you want. But it’s not a mood most people are going to want to be around. Being nice is also not the same as being fake or pretending to be someone you’re not. It’s being nice because it’s a courtesy to others and you just never know how worse someone else’s day is going!
Be nice to the people walking down the street. Be nice to the person holding the door for you. Be nice to the office manager who tells you which floor to take. Be nice to the assistant. Be nice to the reader. Be nice to the casting director. Be nice to your fellow actors.
If you have no interest in being nice for the sake of being a ..nice person, then remember this: being nice may not mean you’ll be remembered, but being an ass definitely will.
Chances are, if you are nice, you have already made a solid and intentional step towards connecting with another person.
When you meet someone for the first time, take them in. Notice how they’re behaving, what they’re wearing, and what they are talking about.
Don’t bore us all with you you you blah blah blah. Instead, do another actory thing…and observe. Pay attention. Does the assistant have nice hair? Tell her. Did that actor just blow you away with his singing voice? Let him know. Pay attention. LISTEN. Making a lasting connection means that you have learned something new about another human being. If you have succeeded in this, you are in the progress of making a real connection.
3. Follow Up.
Frankly, it can be quite easy to take someone’s business card or email and never talk to them again. But it is genuine, proactive, and sound business sense to turn on your computer the next morning and jot the person a note.
Hey, it was cool meeting you cause x y z.
Last night at the event, I told you I would send you a link to a great film resource. Here it is!
Following up seals a new connection. It solidifies the fact that you met someone who you would like to keep in touch with. This doesn’t happen on its own. You must be proactive and let the person know that you enjoyed the interaction.
Also – it doesn’t stop there. If you find an audition, book, film, salon!? – that you think someone would find useful, or better yet, another person you think would be a great connection for them, follow up and let them know!
It can be hard to remember that we are all human beings with complicated, crazy, beautiful lives. We are not names on a spread sheet. We are not meant to be compartmentalized.
The moral of this is: Treat industry connections like friends. Because chances are, they will be your friends. And in this business, people want to work with – you guessed it – their friends.