They say that success isn’t what you know; it’s who you know. When it comes to acting, the truth is that it’s hard to get far without a little bit of both. While your skills and talents are essential to making it as an actor, having the right connections can help you find the opportunities to make it big. Luckily, getting to know the right people doesn’t require an uncle in Hollywood – with a bit of effort, anyone can start building a professional network. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Use School Connections
The people you meet in acting school can be more than just classmates and instructors; they can also be an invaluable part of your professional network as you launch your acting career. After all, they’re all already working in or attempting to break into the same field you are, which means they may have opportunities for you down the road. If you’re currently attending or preparing to sign up for an acting program, make an effort to get to know your fellow students as well as your professors, and keep in touch with them both while in school and after you graduate. If you’ve already graduated, consider attending acting workshops to meet new people and forge new connections.
Joining any number of the many online and real-world networking groups for actors can be an excellent way to expand your network. These groups and organizations are designed to help you meet new people in the field, and can range from national or international organizations to smaller groups focused on your city or region.
Seek Out Opportunities
Keep in mind that networking can happen anywhere at any time. The key is to both actively seek out networking opportunities, such as industry parties or gatherings, as well as keep an eye out for spontaneous and unexpected opportunities. For instance, you never know if striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to you in an audition waiting room will lead to an opportunity down the road.
Prepare an Elevator Speech
Imagine you’re at an industry party, and across the room you recognize someone; it’s a popular director you’ve been dying to work with. You might only have one chance to impress. What do you do? In the business world, elevator speeches are often used to help pitch sales or new ideas to prospective clients or partners. These speeches are short (the length of an elevator ride), punchy, concise speeches that are designed to quickly and effectively get an idea across while holding the other person’s interest. As an actor, having an elevator speech of your own prepared that covers your accomplishments, attributes and goals can help you be ready to get the point across and make a coherent, well thought out impression.
When you meet someone, you may only get one chance to make a good – and lasting – first impression. That’s why it’s important to be memorable when networking with others. That doesn’t mean to do something outlandish or gimmicky – remember, you want to be remembered in a positive way. Aim to be memorable by being interesting to others. Be prepared to have something valuable or different to share; recommend a great movie or play you recently saw, or a wonderful class you’ve taken. Become an expert on a certain niche or specialized subject area that interests you. And more importantly, keep the conversation going by asking genuine questions of those you speak with and following up with insight or feedback of your own.
Still Have More Questions?
KD Conservatory has acting, musical theatre, and film production programs to help prepare students for careers in the entertainment industry. Contact us with any of your questions, or check us out on Facebook for ongoing updates and information!