7 Networking Tips for Actors

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As a publicist, my job has always been focused on people and the interaction my clients get with consumers and their audience. I find that a common request I get with my clients is how they can meet other artists, actors, and entertainment industry executives. Even at varying levels in their careers, their main concern is still to cultivate relationships with others. I've compiled seven tips on how you can increase your networking ability.

1. Don't Write People Off. You absolutely never know who you'll bump into or where they'll be in the next couple years. Whether it's your server at your favorite restaurant or the mailman with a side hustle as an actor, it's best to keep an open mind and build good relationships with those around you. By focusing on your personal PR, you will be surprised how many bridges you'll be able to build and how the most unsuspecting people can eventually help in your career.

2. Think Big. It is great to network with other actors who have shared experiences, but in doing so you just create a rather small network of contacts. Think bigger. The people you need to network with most are casting directors, producers, and directors. These people are the ones who have a strong influence on whether you are getting that gig or not. Where do you meet these people? Exclusive events are typically a great congregation for these types. The more exclusive an event is, the higher probability that someone of 'importance' will be there. Be careful! Don't be lured by "industry events" that cost you an arm and a leg for admission; it's best to wait it out until the right event comes up. With that being said, schmooze with the ones that can get you into those events (event coordinators, publicists, etc.) Maybe they'll be willing to help you out and get you in.

3. Find an Excuse. Having a hard time talking to that golden ticket? Think of an excuse. There's many ways to find a commonality. What I have found to be effective is to boost them up a bit. Tell them how much you value their expertise and how you would love to get their feedback on your current demo reel. If they agree, you get quality one-on-one time and you get to showcase your previous work. Value what they say and the next time you see them, let them know how you've applied their advice.

4. Be Real. The best relationships you create are when they are genuine, that's when you'll receive the best help. In my career, almost every stepping stone can be attributed to an old friend or someone I helped out with no expectation of anything in return. When an opportunity for them arises, they know I'll be contacting them the first chance I get.

5. Switch Circles. Instead of going out with your usual crowd this weekend, switch it up and go to a well-known industry bar. Ask your industry friends where the studio heads congregate and make a cameo. It is imperative that you branch out and get out of that bubble! But having a solid foundation of good, close friends is always a great thing.

6. Map It Out. Map out your six degrees of separation from that one person who you feel can help you out. Who do you know that may know them? Hollywood can seem daunting but actually it's not as big as you think. You have probably noticed that you continually bump into the same people. Create a clear goal and path toward the person you want to meet and over time, it will come together.

7. Have Fun! Remember, this is the best time of your life. You're actually pursuing your dreams that so many people are too scared to get up and go after. This is a time of experimentation and figuring out your career and what steps you want to take to be successful. Networking with people isn't a formula but a lifestyle. Coming across as a person seeking pure gain from others will place a red flag, causing those you meet to be wary of your true intentions. In the end, your success is derived by your actions, no one else's. People can open doors for you, but you ultimately are the one that creates those opportunities in the first place.

Eventually, he moved to Houston where he began working in technology publicity. Promoting software and online publicity integration for Fortune 500 companies. After handling more than 12 contracts and overseeing hundreds of thousands in contractual agreements, he decided that he wanted to progress his career into the entertainment industry.

He got a job as a celebrity publicist for Def Jam artist, Jeremih in New York. While Garrett collaborated with Def Jam and CAA, Jeremih received a Billboard Awards 2012 nomination for Top R&B song. From that point on, Garrett has worked with musicians, actors, and producers, promoting brands and educating them on his publicity knowledge and increasing his reach into a variety of areas in the entertainment industry.

You can follow Garrett on Twitter and friend him on Facebook!

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Garrett O. Thomas
Garrett O. Thomas is a publicist and Backstage Expert.
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