Lets focus on the word GIVE. Networking books abound will tell you to; ask for advice, ask for referrals, write wordy letters asking people you don’t know to be your mentors.
While all of these techniques can and do work, nothing like “giving first” puts you on on the fast track quite the same.
Now by giving I don’t mean schmoozing, buying affection, remembering birthdays, buying drinks and giving token holiday gifts. To give first means 3 things:
Give of YOURSELF, Give MORE than is expected, Give TIRELESSLY without asking questions (unless it involves danger – then by all means tell someone else to do it – just kidding).
BUT WAIT! “How can I do ALL that without being taken advantage of and still get my needs met? “
Good, I’m glad you asked. Check out the awesome books I referred you to in steps 1 and 2.
But in addition to those books – here are three AWESOME way’s that you can GIVE.
Be a volunteer, Be a production assistant, Be a background talent
I’ve heard these statements a hundred times….
“But… I just want to be a director – I’m too awesome to be a PA”.
“I’m a writer. I just want to write until someone discovers me”.
“I’m an actor – being a background talent isn’t real acting”.
In his online course FILM FOOLED Seth Hymes states that – your number one job with regards to your film career is to “GET YOURSELF ON SET – no matter what!”. (I’ll review his course in a separate article).
Directors – use this time to recruit cast and crew for your own future projects and learn other sets secrets!
Writers – this is where you meet directors and producers who can do something about your writing.
Actors – EVERYONE there should leave with your business card knowing that you usually get paid to act.
By volunteering, PA-ing and being an extra, people get to see your work ethic up front, risk free. You will certainly have the opportunity to casually chit chat with the cast and crew. Now whether a set has five, fifty or five hundred people on it, by the time the film wraps everyone should have your prima business card in their back pocket with a clear vision of your goals, hopes, dreams and what you’re best at.
But it doesn’t end there. Because you GAVE and gave well FIRST, you will ALWAYS go to the front of an endless line of people “asking for something”.
Shanti Goth: Casting, Screenwriter, Assistant Director, Extra