How to Ensure You’re Always Making Industry Connections

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Photo Source: Spencer Alexander

Six months ago, I was having what could best be described as a crapfest of a week. One of the companies I was heavily invested in had lowered its guidance, which slammed me with an unexpected loss. Then some idiot dinged my Audi at the Whole Foods parking lot and didn’t leave a note. And to top it all off, an important client fired me because he “wanted to see what was out there.” So by the time Saturday rolled around, I was ready to stay in and drown my sorrows.

Unfortunately, I had been invited by a director friend to what promised to be a pretty cool party. I tried to cancel because I really didn’t want to go out, but my friend wasn’t having it. So next thing you know, I’m off to do some merrymaking with a fake smile pasted on my face.

That night, I met a producer who had just had her series canceled. The two of us hit it off as people who were in bad moods and didn’t want to be there. We had a good laugh, exchanged information, and then we parted ways. End of story.

Except not really. Because just a few days ago, I was having trouble getting a client in for a series regular role on a pilot that I believed was a good fit. Guess who disagreed? The casting director. In these types of situations, agents have three choices. First, we keep pushing and pushing until casting gives in. Second, we go over the casting director’s head and make our case to the studio executive overseeing the project. And third, we give up.

I was weighing my options when I recognized the showrunner’s name on the breakdown. It was the producer from the party, the one who didn’t want to be there. So I called her up and she seemed genuinely happy to hear from me.

Long story short, the producer helped my client get an audition and now he’s testing for her pilot. By the time you read this, I’ll know if he got it, but either way, this is a win. And it’s all because I forced myself to show up.

READ: 7 Tips for Networking in the Film Industry

Nothing is gained from staying home.

One of the lessons I’ve learned over the years is that you just never know who you’re going to meet in any given situation or how that encounter might pay off down the road. I’ve made great connections in all kinds of settings. That’s why I always make it a point to show up. And this kind of thinking applies to your acting career, too.

I remember having to practically force an actor to audition for a role in a tiny little movie, the kind where they pay you with Chuck E. Cheese’s game tokens. Why? The script was amazing. And sometimes, that’s enough.

Well, my client didn’t get the part, but you know what he did get? A role in the director’s next project, which was a movie with a $10 million budget. You see, the director remembered his audition from the first film, the one I forced him to read for.

Boom! (That’s me dropping the mic.)

So when in doubt, remember the words of Woody Allen: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

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Secret Agent Man
Secret Agent Man is a Los Angeles–based talent agent and our resident tell-all columnist. Writing anonymously, he dishes out the candid and honest industry insight all actors need to hear.
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