Monday, October 12, 2009
Networking for Success
Many aspiring actors give up because they believe that only the people with connections can succeed, that if you don't know the right people you cannot become an actor. Well, what I say is that it is not who you know; rather, it is who knows you. Becoming known in the business is how one really sets him or her self up for success. And an actor gets known by networking. Networking in acting is a little different than it is for other businesses, but not much. And it is much different than most aspiring actors think it is. Brian O'Neil, author of the industry standard, Acting as a Business, calls it infiltrating the business rather than networking. When you read Cohen's Acting Professionally, and learn how close knit and small the acting profession really is, you realize that the only way to succeed is to infiltrate that small group of people who actually make money at acting. Most of us call the process networking, and it is an on-going 24 hour a day job for all aspiring actors. Networking is getting yourself out there, so you will be seen and known. It involves a bit of chutzpah, bold nerve, as well as great organization and planning. You have to be able to go up to people, famous people, whom you have never met and introduce yourself, say something nice about their work and express your interest in working with them. You have to leave them your business card and get theirs if possible. Then you have to leave them alone. You never come on as though you are begging for a job. Just make contact, and get on with the rest of the room or event or day. Will they remember you? Maybe. Industry professionals are remarkable for remembering everyone they meet. If you are going to succeed in the industry, you, too, will have to become superb at remembering everyone you meet. Details on how to network are discussed in Rock and Riddle's How to Be a Magnet for Hollywood Success and in my book The Tao of Acting. Beginning actors have to spend much more time networking than acting to get ahead in the business. You have to be known if you are to succeed.