Sunday, July 13, 2008

On Networking and Shakespeare

I went to a high school reunion a couple nights ago. It's interesting to see where people have gone in 10 years (yes, I graduated that long ago - I took 4 years off before TV school). Most of us who showed up were drama geeks and were in our high school performance of Midsummer Night's Dream (I was Theseus, because of my manly voice and then long-flowing hair). My friend who played Lysander went directly after high school to USC and studied acting. Now he's starting to get bigger parts, including a role in LOST last season. He said that his friends are starting to get even better roles... some of them are in the show Heroes, for example. As a joke I said well then maybe he can show them my Heroes spec and they can tell me if I got their characters right, and he said "yeah, no problem." So now I'm scared to send him my spec, because the real actors of the characters in my spec were the last people I ever expected to read the damn thing.

Another friend, who played Puck, also eventually went to LA, and studied at AFI. He's now producing a film starring [someone famous]. This impressed me since he only graduated last year. He told me (without me asking him, mind you), to send him something once I've got an original pilot or screenplay.

I've read this in several places recently, but this reminded me that you should network by being passionate and excited about about what you're doing, but that you shouldn't ask people to further your career for you. Be interested in what they're doing (for their sake, and not for what it means to you); natural partnerships will form when people are genuine and enthusiastic. And if you are going to ask people for something, let it be for feedback and not a job. You have to also mind your familiarity; your level of rapport is important when deciding whether to ask someone to even take a look at your material. It seems that your true network forms when you aren't using people for what you think they can give you, but when you develop real and trusting relationships with people. And hopefully some of them happen to also be wickedly connected (compared to you, anyway).

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