IT’S NOT WHO YOU KNOW, IT’S HOW YOU KNOW…
A prominent line in the entertainment business is “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” This means it is not necessarily about talent but about meeting the right people. But how do you meet the “right” people?
As a new transplant to sunny Los Angeles, CA from not so sunny Boston, MA. I had to start networking. The first networking even I attended was the Hollywood film & TV mixer. It was here that I met my first agent who really helped me get a start. In fact even after leaving his agency we have remained steadfast friends. It was official… Networking was easy. At this rate I would probably be famous in a few weeks.
Ok, so maybe a few weeks was a stretch but, come on, I already had an agent; it couldn’t take that much longer. But how wrong I was. As I began to attend more and more networking events it began to appear that my networking strategy might have been a one hit wonder. But as time progressed and I received a business card at a similar event from a gentlemen who claimed he was a producer at Walt Disney, which was completely untrue (remember IMDB is your best friend.) I realized that it wasn’t that I couldn’t network, It was I didn’t understand what “network” meant at these things. For those of you who don’t know it means sleazy producers and directors wanting a little “bedroom exchange” to put it lightly. Well let me tell you I am not that type of girl. My point here is that 80 percent of the people you meet are either pretending to be a producer so that they can sleep with you or are actually a producer who is still trying to get you to sleep with them.
And it gets worse, many of the girls I see actually fall for that bullshit. I have seen countless individuals succumb to the temptation of Hollywood, but that will never be me. The last thing I want is someone making me waste my time or abuse my morals. I am all about business. Period. End of Story. Gentlemen, if you are one of the above mentioned people… LEAVE THIS GIRL ALONE. If you really want to work with me, awesome but if you want something else, trust me you are wasting your time.
That’s why, from then on I have been very careful about who I meet and connect with, because I only want business contacts. Now don’t get me wrong you can meet contacts anywhere; at barbecue’s, movie screenings, or auditions but you can also meet sleazy individuals at these things too. So don’t live in a bubble, but don’t be too open either.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear, these perverted individuals can be found on every level and in every career. Many people believe that when they attend more “legit” enterprises such as movie premieres or award shows, these bottom feeders cannot be found. Well let me provide you with a little example. Recently I attended a movie premier. It was very disorganized. Not only was it disorganized but there were quite a few older wealthier individual who were there for one reason… to pick up gullible young actresses and take them home. There was even a pickup attempt on myself by an unnamed celebrity… right in front of my boyfriend. These individuals believe that because they are somebody they have the right to take anyone home no matter their relationship status. Ladies you have to be careful. Do not get lulled into a false sense of security.
Now I don’t want to dwell on all of the negatives. Networking can be a beneficial and exciting experience. Events are supposed to be places where you can meet people and have fun and if you like someone who is truly a business oriented individual you can build a good working relationship with that person. Real industry professionals who strive for a better working environment are very serious in helping your career as an actor.
So how do you meet the “right” people? Well for starts let me give you a few pointers. The “right” people are not going to offer you a role right away without ever having saw you act. They are not going to ask you to sleep with them. And they most certainly are not going to try to get you alone. They don’t care if people are around because if they want to help you, they do not need you alone. Hollywood is not like before. You no longer are required to sleep with some producer or director to get a part.
I guess what I am trying to say, is that if you get even a smidge of a bad vibe from someone offering to help you. RUN don’t WASTE your TIME. It is not worth it. It is not worth betraying your morals. Just think about it. There are a lot of girls as beautiful and talented as you but what sets you apart is your integrity. That is most important thing to keep intact. I guess a better line for this industry would be… “It’s not who you know, it’s how you know”
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