Networking and Creating Relationships in the Entertainment Industry – Part 3

How to Create Real Authentic Relationships in the Entertainment Industry

A few years ago I asked an executive producer friend a very interesting question. She was in the midst of shooting her MOW (movie of the week) for one of the networks, so I asked what the percentage was of cast and crew who were there because of relationships they had with at least one of the five exec producers on the film. I was teaching a Flash Forward workshops at the time and I really wanted to make the point of just how critically important it is to create relationships inside our industry.

I knew the numbers my friend would come back with were going to be high, but even I didn’t know they would be this high… 85%! Yes, 85% is what she said. Now, obviously everyone still needed go through the usual audition process and job interviews for the various roles and positions, but it was through their relationships with those execs that helped get them to that stage. I know that even for myself, when I’m getting ready to produce a film, I start to look at the great people in my life that I want to work with. I look to the people who I know, trust, and like.

Creating relationships in our industry can be the key to success. Relationships in our business are like locations are to a real estate agent. They’re that important. In my last two articles on this topic I suggested ways to deepen the relationships you have and ways to expand your MOR (map of relationships). What’s important to remember here is, that it’s not just about exchanging business cards, it’s about creating real authentic long term relationships.

I interviewed a few industry professionals on this subject and here is what they had to say. Casting Director/Producer, Tricia Tomey, suggests you get involved with causes that really mean something to you. For example, for her, it’s “events that have to do with keeping the arts in our schools.” She says “that she meets so many wonderful like-minded people from the entertainment industry at those events and gets to know them in an arena that has nothing to do with work.” “It’s not about hitting them over the head with your resume,” she says. It’s not about “Can you get me this job or can you get me that meeting? It just about getting to know people and having them get to know you.” She also suggests that you find the things that you love to do and the things that you’re passionate about and invite people to join you. Maybe it’s a 10K run for a great cause. If that director you’ve been wanting to meet is involved in the same cause, invite him to join you.

TV writer, Alison Lea Bingeman, feels that we should be meeting people in our industry for the fun of meeting them. She says, “Let’s meet people and see what they’re like and see if we can play together. I think that’s a very fun place to come from. And often you’ll find you have some commonality, or you’ll have a great project or they’ll have a project that you can be of use or they can use you. Make a point to find opportunity where you can create relationships. I strongly recommend it.”

Kris Emery, Executive at Comedy Central, feels that “we too often forget that it is a relationship business… and that all things being equal people want to be in business with those that they like, that they want to be around, that they respect. So you really have to establish that respect and trust, just like you would in any other business.”

As I noted in my last article, make a conscious concerted effort to create real authentic relationships with people and share about the things in life that you love and the things that you are excited and passionate about. Be yourself and have fun and the rest will unfold naturally.