We are deep into Pilot Season (if Pilot Season even exists anymore!) and most actors focus so intently on landing more auditions and booking lots of work that they forget to play the long game.
What do I mean?
You’ll book more work in the long term if you focus on relationship-building more than you focus on audition-chasing.
So, how can you bring relationship building to the forefront of your career strategy?
Networking, my friend. That’s where it all begins.
Networking often gets a bad rap. Actors, in particular, reject networking because it feels fake and tedious while bringing up major insecurities and questions. Well, guess what? Nobody likes to schmooze, right? Like it or not though, you must cultivate relationships in order to build a career in this business. You can be the most talented actor in the history of acting, but if nobody knows who you are, you won’t have the opportunity to strut your stuff.
In order to really network effectively, the first thing you must do is redefine the word itself. In doing so, you’ll reshape your approach to cultivating relationships. When you schmooze, you lose, so drop the word networking and embrace the practice of cultivating.
While Schmoozers concern themselves with quantity, cultivators care about the quality of their relationships. Schmoozers measure success by the size of their Rolodex. Cultivators understand the value of solid relationships. They may know fewer people, but they’re known, respected, and trusted by everyone in their circle.
Schmoozers love to name drop. They concern themselves with statistics, impressions, and résumés. Schmoozers hang out at the surface of relationships, never investing in personal connections. Cultivators, on the other hand, don’t judge others based on credits or credentials alone. They value exploration and personal experiences. Cultivators believe that there is always more than meets the eye and they trust themselves to formulate their own opinions about people they meet.
Schmoozers are often motivated by fear. They guard their secrets and are leery of others. Schmoozers put on shows and put up walls protecting them from the opinions and insights of others. Cultivators practice openness. They love to share their insight and energy. Cultivators are great listeners. They often listen more than they speak.
Schmoozers keep score. They believe in competition and see everyone as a threat. Schmoozers focus on scarcity rather than abundance. They are often disappointed or jealous when those around them experience success. Cultivators understand that there’s more than enough to go around. They celebrate the successes of others and appreciate the examples set by their peers. Cultivators don’t compete as much as they cooperate. They focus on abundance and never fear losing or being left behind.
Schmoozers are fickle. In relationships, they focus on “me.” They struggle to be patient and often give up too soon. Schmoozers view relationships as a chore. Cultivators invest in the long-term when it comes to relationships. They are loyal to those they care about; yet understand that every relationship must be mutually beneficial. Cultivators are happy to give before they receive and always view the relationship as a gift.
By moving away from a schmoozer mentality and becoming a cultivator, your networking experiences will transform overnight. Relationship building will not only be easy, but it’ll be a ton of fun. So, imagine that you are a master gardener, out there planting seeds, pulling weeds and cultivating healthy crops all the way from Hollywood to Bollywood.