On a recent coaching call, one of my clients said, “I just spend so much time waiting in this business — it’s exhausting!” and the sentiment really resonated with me. In her case, she was at an industry meet-and-greet and she waited about two hours, watching other actors get up and do their sides, before it was her turn to perform for the casting director, after which she went home and waited even longerthe following day to find out if she got an audition. She said to me, “I’m getting so tired of waiting around to be seen.” It got me thinking: if every actor reading this listed in the comments how many hours they’ve spent waiting (on set, in line at auditions, after a meeting for the phone to ring, for that casting director, agent, manager, producer, writer, etc., to choose them…you get the idea), I’ll bet it would make your eyes pop out of your head Looney Tunes style.
“Talent is only half the equation.” That’s been our slogan for a while now and it speaks to our belief that you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it then you’re only going to get halfway there. The other half is what we’ve built a company on — coaching people how to dictate the course of their future by giving them knowledge, tools, and support to turn a craft into a career. So when I came upon Dr. Atul Gawande’s New Yorker article exploring the benefits of coaching in the professional realm, I was intrigued to say the least.
Between the last couple of seminars we did in New York and the one we did earlier this week here in Los Angeles, one thing is clear: artists of all kinds are struggling with networking. This is nothing new, of course. In fact, from the moment I started coaching, networking was a topic that people were tentative about. They were intimidated by the prospect of having to get out there and meet people; they were confused about the best way to make a lasting impression; and they were hesitant to engage in something that felt "dirty" to them because they had to schmooze. These concerns still rampantly exist in the artistic community, generally because most artists are predisposed to have an innate sense of craft that often comes at the expense of understanding how to get it out there into the world. In my next blog post, I'm going to address some ways that you can get in touch with your inner networker and make the experience one that comes more naturally to you. But before I do so, I'd love to hear about your networking experiences. What aspects of networking pose a particular challenge to you? Are you having trouble figuring out where to meet people? Do you struggle with follow-ups? Does the process feel inauthentic? Whatever it is, I want to hear it.
On the flip side, where are you specifically finding success? Are you a natural people person? Do you have an efficient organization system for your contacts? Are you simply excited by the prospect of networking? Drop us a line in the comments and give us the scoop. And if you have any friends who are struggling or having a lot of success with networking, send them our way so they can share their stories with us.
Networking can be such a frustrating topic to deal with and if you find this to be true, trust me, you're not alone. My goal is to demystify the process and help you find some light at the end of the tunnel. Hope to hear from you!