Have you ever heard anyone say that to make it in this industry it's all about the contacts? Or how about:
It's not what you know, it's who you know!
Okay, but what does it mean, and what exactly are you supposed to do about it? It's not quite that simple, but there are steps you can take to improve your connection right now regardless of where you are.
- Utilize the contacts you already have
- Find new contacts
- Interact with all of your contacts
Simpler said than done? Not really. You need to focus on the task at hand and keep track of it all. Some people use spreadsheets, blah. If you're a premium member of Web For Actors, I recommend using Industry Contacts for this task, but hey, if you're just testing the waters, or maybe acting is just your hobby, there's no need to invest into anything yet, just get a pen and a piece of paper and start brainstorming.
UTILIZE THE CONTACTS YOU ALREADY HAVE
List all of the people you know in the industry. Not even just the filmmakers you want to work with, but anybody who's in the industry you've crossed paths with. Heck, you can put my info on the list, that's one, anyone else who sends you emails about acting? Casting directors? Acting schools? That guy you met at an event who's a best boy? That girl who works in the lobby and doubles as a screenwriter? Yes, all of them. List them all, even if you only have a first name, or just an email address, write it down, and write down how you know them.
Once you're done listing them all, try to find some information about them. Do they have a Stage 32 profile? Are they on Twitter or Instagram? Do they have a website? Email addresses are always handy. Phone numbers can be helpful, write down all that you know and try to categorize them the best you can.
FIND NEW CONTACTS
Stage 32 and Twitter makes it extremely easy to find people in the industry regardless of whether you're looking worldwide or in a specific location. On Stage 32, all you have to do is go to the browse people section and fill in your location, if it's important for you. If you're an actor, you might want to start locally, so there's that. Once the results pop up, connect with everyone to start expanding your list.
Don't be lazy. CTRL+click on their photo and see if they have bio, read through it and click "Add to network" button while you're on their profile page, that will allow you to add a quick intro. Here you want to add a reason why you're connecting with them. A quick template would be "Hi NAME, I see that you are also from YOUR-CITY. ADD-ONE-PERSONAL-SENTENCE. Let's connect" Personal sentence could be "I see you've directed 3 films already, that's awesome." or "I went to your IMDb page, nice list of credits" and so on. If you write something personal people are more likely to connect.
Twitter is a bit different, but it's still doable. Perform a search for someone. Twitter has "advanced search" so don't forget to use it. For instance, search for English speaking filmmaker in Los Angeles, open one profile that you find suitable and follow that person. Hint: after you follow someone, twitter will recommend 3 similar accounts. Click on those accounts to see if these are people who match your criteria, the odds are that they do. Follow them, and again, open up recommendations. This can keep you busy for hours, but... you're making a list of people who can make a difference for you.
INTERACT WITH ALL OF YOUR CONTACTS
Okay, the first two steps were so easy a monkey could do it, now here's a challenge. All those people you've just listed are now your contacts. Go ahead and say hello to them and mark the day you did that. If all you have is a phone number for the person, try texting them first, see if they want to hang out, meet for coffee or something.
Everybody that you can contact via email, look up what they're doing now and see if maybe you can help them in some way. Don't send the same email to everyone, people can see right through it. If someone contacts me on Stage 32 and asks me what film projects I'm working on right now, I just delete the message (please don't tell RB), because it would take them literally 10 seconds to see I'm not a filmmaker, so it's obviously a copy-pasted message. If someone's credits are listed on the site, they TOOK TIME to make sure anyone can find it, now, it's your turn to TAKE TIME to look it up before you send them unsolicited emails.
And finally, the Twitter list. What I tend to do is interact with people who have been active most recently. If they haven't followed you yet, Tweet at them. If they have followed you, you can send them a message. Again! Spam messages can be easily seen through. I know 100% each time whether a robot sent me a message or if someone took a minute to find out what I do before contacting me.
WEB FOR ACTORS TOOLS HELP
Being an actor doesn't mean finding an agent and waiting for a phone call 24/7. That's a good first step, but you have to put in the work too. They say agents get paid 10% because they do 10% of the work. They don't mean that the other 90% is acting. It's everything in between. Make contacts and interact with them. IADB can help you keep track of it all, and our software suite is constantly growing. Check out this video to see how easy it is to follow your favorite Casting Directors on Twitter: