I love networking. I love meetings. I love talking, with like minded people. I love LA and social media, for this reason. And regardless of what industry you are in, social media marketing and networking, are a huge part of the way the world works.
There is nothing better, to me, than gabbing it up, with people, who more successful than I am, are ambitious and driven and full of spark! It’s become quite an obsession of mine, since moving to the big city and as the weeks, months and years pass by, I enjoy it more and more!
Last year, I stepped out on a major limb and decided to be more social, in a next level sort of way. I reached out to my resources, to connect with folks I look up to and admire. In turn, I have had the pleasure of being part of several meetings, with a variety of different industry people. These VERY talented writers, directors, producers, actors, casting directors and even a few agents and managers, had such great things to bring to the table. I always go in with zero expectations and more often than not, I come out of it with a new bit of knowledge, a new perspective and it’s such a great way to constantly learn, learn, learn!
Let’s be honest though, not all of it is 100% positive, and that’s ok, (I’ve learned to never take it personally-you never know what that person may be going through), But, I will admit, sometimes it is just mind blowing, when the party asking for the meeting is not at all prepared.
I once sat in on a meeting with a friend of mine, who was approached to possibly help produce an indie film. He has been known to have, some pretty serious connections-mostly because he is a KING at building relationships that last. He was introduced to a super talented writer, who wrote a great, funny script and was looking to get the film funded. The writer was very excited and SO passionate about their work, that they were practically glowing! During the meeting, the writer expressed to my friend, (who I think, is a pretty well known actor), that they were really struggling with how to approach an investor and expressed how grateful they were to my friend for taking the time to meet. The writer then says something that should never be said out loud,when said person requested the meeting, she said, “By the way, what do you do? Do you live in LA? Are you in the Industry? I have no idea what you do!”
I think my eyes must have opened really wide and my jaw dropped, because the writer immediately started back peddling and explaining, that they “just haven’t had the time” to do any “research”. I was dumbfounded that this person didn’t make the 5 seconds it takes to pull up IMDb or, geez, at least google who she was meeting! It’s 2017 people! Not only is he in the industry, but they asked to meet him, not the other way around. WOW.
Needless to say, it was pretty much all downhill after that and the meeting ended on a very awkward note. Yikes. I will say, this is not the first time I have witnessed this, on a personal level. I once had an agent approach me on Backstage and when we spoke on the phone, they said, “So, are you an actor or, how did you find my information?” I said, “You wrote me a message, sent one to my manager and then left me a voicemail? So, I’m just calling YOU back.” Seriously?! Yes. It happens. All. The. Time. And in my opinion, IT SHOULDN’T! There is always time to do your research, do-diligence and just be a professional, in general! We all have off days and sometimes life does get in the way, but don’t be that girl/guy. Just DON’T.
I have learned a few things along the way and let me tell you guys, I learned them, the hard way. I was that girl. I showed up late to meetings, auditions, events etc, and was the furthest thing from being prepared. And you know what someone told me? The way that I presented/misrepresented, myself at these meetings, auditions, etc, was a direct reflection of who I was and the professional that I definitely was not. It was not easy to hear, but I took it as a sign that the universe was trying to guide me in a positive direction, and I shifted the way that I was doing things.
This was NOT easy, fun or something I generally enjoy….I loved the idea, instead, that I could “do it all”, at the same time. Yeah. #EpicFail
So, now, instead of waiting until the last minute to research who I am meeting, read a script or even pick out what I was wearing, I prioritize. I challenge myself to find out at least 3 interesting things about the person I would be meeting, or aim, to read the script at least 3 times before the meeting. I even pick out outfits the night before and do what they do in #Clueless; snap a few pics and compare! Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times, that this doesn’t always happen, but I always make sure to do each thing, at least one time, vs not at all, or super last minute.
I never realized how much unwanted anxiety not being prepared actually causes!
Preparation, is definitely another life skill, that most of us, learn during the process. But, trust- the sooner you can adopt this skill and really put it to practice, the better off you will be.
In my opinion, it’s only those who go the extra mile, work a little harder, and really push themselves, to achieve the best of their abilities, that really earn their way to, the “top”…whatever that may mean to or for you. This is an industry and world, full of people, that live, breathe and eat, whatever it is they are passionate about. And while there needs to be room for balance, being unprepared, is never a skill set, I want to have associated with my professional name, or at all for that matter!
Work hard, play hard, be creative, step way out of your comfort zone and for the love of God, Buddha, Allah & all things holy, PLEASE BE PREPARED!
What do you do, to help you prepare?