A relationship building lesson.
I love networking. I love meetings. I love talking with like minded people. I love LA and social media, for this reason. There is nothing better to me than gabbing it up, with people who are ambitious and driven and full of spark! It’s become quite an obsession of mine since moving to the big city and as the weeks, months and years pass by, I enjoy it more and more!
Recently, I have stepped out on a major limb and decided to be more social, in a next level sort of way. I am reaching out to my resources, to connect with folks I look up to and admire. In turn, I have had the pleasure of being part of several meetings, with a variety of different industry people. These VERY talented writers, directors, producers, actors and even a few agents and managers, had such great things to bring to the table. I always go in with zero expectations and more often than not, I come out of it with a new bit of knowledge, a new perspective and it’s such a great way to constantly learn, learn, learn.
Not all of it is 100% positive, and that’s ok, but sometimes it is just mind blowing, when the party asking for the meeting is not at all prepared.
A few weeks ago, I sat in on a meeting with a friend of mine who was approached to possibly help produce an indie film. He has some pretty serious connections. He was introduced to a super talented writer, who wrote a really great, funny script and is looking to get the film funded. The writer was very excited and so passionate about their work, that they were practically glowing! During the meeting, the writer expressed to my friend, (who is a pretty well known actor), that they were really struggling with how to approach someone for funding and expressed how grateful they were to my friend for taking the time to meet. The writer then says, “By the way, what do you do? Do you live in LA? Are you in the Industry? I have no idea what you do!” I think my eyes must have been open really wide, because the writer immediately started explaining that they “just haven’t had the time” to do any “research”. I was dumbfounded that this person didn’t take the 5 seconds it takes to pull up IMDb or, geez, at least google who she was meeting! Not only is he in the industry, they asked to meet him, not the other way around. And you’re asking for help funding your film but have no clue what they do?! WOW.
Needless to say, it was pretty much all downhill after that and the meeting ended on a very awkward note. Yikes. I will say, this is not the first time I have witnessed this, on a personal level, I once had an agent approach me on Backstage and when we spoke on the phone, they said, “So, are you an actor or, how did you find my information?” I said, “Um, you wrote me a message, sent one to my manager and then left me a voicemail? So, I’m just calling YOU back.” Seriously?! Yes. It happens. All. The. Time. And in my opinion, IT SHOULDN’T! There is always time to do your research, due diligence and just be a professional, in general! We all have off days and sometimes life does get in the way, but don’t be that girl/guy.
I have learned a few things along the way and let me tell you guys, I learned the hard way. I was that girl. I showed up late to meetings, auditions, events etc, and was the furthest thing from being prepared. And you know what someone told me? The way that I presented/misrepresented myself at these meetings, auditions, etc, was a direct reflection of who I was and the professional that I definitely was not. It was not easy to hear, but I took it as a sign that the universe was trying to guide me in a positive direction, so I shifted the way that I was doing things. This is NOT easy, fun or something I generally enjoy….I loved the idea, instead, that I can do it all at the same time. Yeah. #EpicFail So, Instead of waiting until the last minute to research who I was meeting, read a script or even pick out what I was wearing, I started to prioritize. I would challenge myself to find out at least 3 interesting things about the person I would be meeting, or read the script at least 3 times before the meeting. I even picked out outfits the night before and did what they did in Clueless; snapped a few pics and compare! Now, to be honest, there were sometimes that this didn’t always happen, but I always had done each thing, at least one time, vs not at all or super last minute. I never realized how much unwanted anxiety not being prepared actually causes!
This is another life skill that most learn during the process, yet the sooner you can adopt this skill and really put it to practice, the better off you will be. It’s only those who go the extra mile, work a little harder every time and really push themselves to achieve the best of their abilities, that really earn their way to the top…whatever that may mean to/for you. This is an industry and world full, of people that live, breathe and eat, whatever it is they are passionate about. And while there needs to be room for balance, being lazy is never a skill I want to have associated with my professional name, or at all for that matter! Work hard, play hard, be creative, step way out of your comfort zone and for the love of God, PLEASE BE PREPARED!
What do you do, to help you prepare?