Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Who You Know

It’s all about who you know. 

I’m sure in whatever industry you work in, you’ve heard that phrase more times than you’d like. I know when I first started out in acting I thought to myself so many times, “Well, if Steven Spielberg was my dad, I’d be in movies right now.” Well, maybe that’s true, but I also think I completely misunderstood what that phrase truly meant (and had a bad attitude). Rather than seeing it as limiting, as if there was some kind of club I didn’t belong in, I’ve learned to redefine this formerly toxic phrase as something positive and useful to myself. Rather than feeling pushed to the side and not sharing any blood relations with super important people, I've learned it really means look to your peers as your team.

What I mean by this is, if you have a project you want to start up, find a group of people that share your goals and values. Rather than seeking out people that are not in your immediate circle of peers, friends and co-workers, begging people to read a script, etc., look to people you have worked with in the past to collaborate.

It’s important to keep in touch with people, but this doesn’t only mean you should tell them what you’re doing. Stay interested and ask people what they've been up to. Be genuinely interested. No artist should or can be selfish. Get inspiration from your friends. Maybe you can even help and get involved? I’ve found that so many opportunities have come about through interest in others' work, not only by walking into an audition room and nailing it.

Also, meet new people and make your immediate circle bigger!
There are so many ways to meet new peers of filmmakers, actors and other creative people to collaborate. Yes, I did go to NYU for acting, but so many people I’ve been working with since have been peers I met at other events.

Here’s a list of some things you can do to broaden your network and meet great people:

Go on Twitter. Yes, I know, it seems annoying, but you’d be surprised at how you can really find a community of people on there with common interests. On Monday, I attended an Actors Tweetup and met actors, directors, composers and writers. I’ve never felt like I’ve been good at schmoozing, but this event was effortlessly fun because everyone was there for a reason. They wanted to meet people. Find meet-ups like this in your city for filmmakers and writers. Take risks and go up to people. Shake hands and kiss babies and such.

BLOG! Yes, I’m still building this blog up, but I think blogging not only means writing your own, but reading other blogs as well. A few blogs I’d recommend and really enjoy reading are Sonora Chase’s blog on “Actor’s Self-Producing.Sonora does it all and is an inspiration to actors looking to write their own work. I’ve found lots of great advice and have started a back and forth discussion with her on getting a team together to film a project.

Another blog with more a technical bend is No Film School . This blog technical, but with a collaborative, do it yourself, community attitude. As soon as you sign up for the blog you get a 100 page extremely informative DSLR filmmaking guide emailed to you. Even if you only want to be an actor and not a filmmaker, I think educating yourself on the ins and outs of the technological aspects to filmmaking is important. The more you know, right?

Another thing I would recommend is going to fundraisers, shows and even taking additional classes. I met lots of hilarious friends at UCB, and have networked a lot at film fundraising events in bars as well. When you get a Facebook invite from a friend, don’t ignore it, go. 

Also, Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and Vimeo are great places to meet filmmakers on the “internetz.” If you love film as much as I do, sometimes it can be fun (and great research) to explore these websites and see what kind of work is out there. And if you like a project, donate even a little bit of $$$! Sometimes the incentives on films can be really interesting and beneficial things like being on set for a day, attending a screening/premiere and even just further fundraising events to meet with the cast and crew. This could be a really great way to meet people that are doing work you enjoy.

Vimeo is the filmmaker’s YouTube and the quality of many of the shorts up there is high. Post your reel or any other film you have and then watch and comment. It really becomes a community, and there are also many instructional videos on camera and equipment tests that you can check out before making big, expensive purchases for a shoot.

Any other tips on meeting people to collaborate? Great groups or events in NYC? Stories to share? Comment! 

And make sure to subscribe to my blogs straight to your email on the right! I'll send you a funny thank-you video in return for being so awesome! :)


  1. Excellent blog! There is another old phrase that comes to mind, "Stick with the winners." What I mean is positive people who are going somewhere, are doing good things, and have a good attitude. Just as they ask what you are doing, you should ask what they are doing. That way you can cheer EACH OTHER ON! While it is nice to have famous parents, at the end of the day tenacity prevails. John Lennon's kids both tried to get into music. While they released the debut albums they didnt have the talent their dad did. Great blog xoxo

    1. Thanks so much April! Too true that tenacity prevails! I hope all is going well for you and congrats on the release of your book! I definitely have to check it out! xoxo!

  2. You make a lot of good points, as does MissApril. Allow me to add to the conversation by saying I've always found that you should also associate with those people who are now, where you aspire to be. In reading your advice, I see you make the point to enlarge you immediate circle of peers. That's all well and good, but you should also enlarge you circle of "unpeers". Those people who are, perhaps, further along in their career and are enjoying the level of success that you yourself aspire to reach. Those people can serve as mentors and offer their experiences for your benefits; both in advising how to advance as well as how to avoid pitfalls. Great effort often nets great reward!!

    1. Yes, definitely reaching out to people further along for advice is helpful. I've definitely been doing that and think learning from others mistakes and successes is important!