What Is Networking?
Networking, also known as ‘schmoosing’, or in Hollywood: ‘setting foot
outside your apartment’, is often misconstrued as a dirty word. There are
many slimy, dishonest people who will make friends with anyone they
think can help them in their quest to be whoever they are trying to be.
These people are usually easy to see through and avoid.
Networking doesn’t mean meeting people who are in a position of
power and sucking up to them. There are thousands of friendly, interesting, likeminded people who just happen to also be very well positioned in this industry. Networking does mean meeting and working with these people and establishing organic personal and business relationships with them over time. It is as simple as being good to your friends and co-workers, and staying in touch.
Avoid successful egomaniacs, regardless of what you think they can
do for you. They’re no fun to be around, and realistically people like this
are not likely to get you a job or help you out because they are too busy
thinking about themselves.
Networking continues at every level of your career. Most celebrities still
procure a large portion of their work through relationships they have built
over the years with filmmakers, CDs, and other actors.
There’s an old adage in Hollywood: “People don’t do favors for acquaintances, they do favors for friends”, which essentially means people are not likely to help some person they met for three minutes and swapped cards with at a party. However, if someone spends some time with, connects with, and respects you they might be willing to make a referral. Once you’ve gone for beers with someone a few times, they might be motivated to pull a favor for you.
This doesn’t mean the only way you should gain contacts is by making
friends with every cool person you meet and ignoring those you might not get along with. If someone is in a position to give you a job make sure they know who you are, what you do, and that they have your information.
Get contact information from them … and follow up on it. You know when someone isn’t the type of person you’d hang out with
socially and so do they, so don’t be fake about it, just keep it as a clear business relationship.
When I started attending festivals, I thought I had to meet ‘everyone at
the party’ … but that’s not necessarily true. It’s about finding a few people of value and passing the time at that event getting to know them. It’s about finding real long-term friends and future co-workers who are passionate about directing, producing, or any other aspect of the film and TV industry in the same way that you are passionate about acting.
Extract from: The Hollywood Survival Guide - For Actors