Network, network, network

Effective networking is important for Actors

Most of the networking events I’ve found designed for actors just turn out to be a bunch of actors standing around talking to a bunch of actors, and that’s what people think networking is. They’re wrong. These types of events are not going to get you anywhere.

For example, I was on the roof of The Standard Hotel in Hollywood and there was a group of actresses sitting around a fire pit looking beautiful. They were all friends. I went up to them and asked,” Hey, girls. How are you? So who’s your favorite director?” They looked at me as though I had three heads. I just wanted to stop right there and say, “Listen, go home. Pack your bags. Because you will never work as an actress.” Why? Because I’m older. I could be the head of casting for CBS. So you want to be informed in case that happens. DON’T BE STUPID!

What is an appropriate and beneficial networking event for actors? How do you get in front of buyers? You can start by doing one or more of the following:

  • Attend film festivals.

Without a Box is a website that lists every film festival. Filmmakers submit their films here to be considered for film festivals. South by Southwest in Austin, Texas; Sundance in Park City, Utah; Seattle Film Festival in Seattle, Washington; and film festivals in Toronto and Palm Springs. These can put you in rooms with a lot of important people who can move your career forward.

  • Participate in casting workshops.

In this fast-paced world, casting workshops are a big support to casting offices, and, therefore, potentially beneficial to actors. Let’s say you’re a big office and you’re casting a show that has 20 one-liner co-stars. You’ve made a relationship with someone in a casting workshop whom you think is a good actor. You can quickly bring this actor in and book a co-star. It saves offices a lot of time and energy.

  • Attend acting classes

For example, if I want to do comedy, a good route for me as an actor is to go take a class at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), Groundlings, or Second City because these places are frequented by the people I want as my buyers.

It’s important at film festivals and other networking events to have a few topics you’re ready to talk about other than acting. Know what people are discussing in the news and social media. It’s also important to know what people are talking about to learn what matters to them. Find who they are, what interests they have and share that part of yourself with them.