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End The Networking Nightmare!

 

by Megan McDermott

How to confidently create authentic relationships with your key industry!

Success in the entertainment industry is all about creating and MAINTAINING relationships. But, how?

Does going to networking events and feeling like you have to “sell” yourself freak you out, shut you down, or make you feel “icky” and inauthentic? As actors and creative souls, truth is so vital to our being that the networking piece, while so vital to getting the gigs, is not something we feel comfortable doing!

The Solution: Make them your friends! Create meaningful friendships with your target industry people.

Here’s how: start with your passion and your career goals and then craft a targeted list of industry professionals you can add to your fan list. Then start going after those relationships! Think of it like having a crush – you “court” the person you are crushing on, so find the professional equivalent of courting!

Some out of the box strategies for getting to know who you need to know to achieve your career goals:

Volunteer on set or to usher/volunteer at a target theatre. Go to opening nights and premieres for production companies, directors, and theatres on your target list. You can often get comps or discounts through a friend in the industry or someone on the team. Be a reader! Either with a casting director you have already created a relationship with or at a networking place like One on One or Actors Connection. Being a reader is a great way to have a stress free opportunity to share your talent! After all, it’s about the other actor, being generous and present. Also, you have to play many different characters so you get to play and show your range! The bonus: 9 times out of 10 you will get asked to audition yourself! And, you already have the inside scoop as to what they are looking for and have spent the day with the team! Go to special events, readings, or volunteer to be a bartender/host at projects your target companies are presenting! Attend SAG/AFTRA and AEA events. It’s always a great way to meet other creative individuals, you never know the path that will lead to the connections you desire!

Now, here are some ways to combat those nagging networking fears:

1. Bring a Buddy

2. Practice your Pitch – know how to succinctly express who you are, what you do, and the work you are passionate about with confidence! Script it!

3. When talking to target industry: LISTEN more, talk less. Ask them about themselves! Ask about something outside the industry, craft these questions ahead of time. Have you been on an exciting trip or vacation lately? What have you seen lately that you REALLY loved? If you do some research on them before hand, perhaps you know they are passionate about a specific cause or hobby, Ask about it! Find out about who they are, as PEOPLE. Then, share who YOU are! The goal is to BE FRIENDS!

Once you are Friends and the relationship is solidified, you can always ask them to bring you in for passion projects, and they WILL! They will root for you and they will always give honest feedback!

Go out and BUILD those RELATIONSHIPS!

Need help articulating and practicing your authentic, brand-centric pitch? Or with building your targeted industry list and specific networking strategy? Set up a session!


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