Networking like a Pro

Hello, my name is Stephen H. I am a rising actor in Utah. I started following Janet about a year or so ago. I have seen so many E-mails depicting pictures of Janet on so many different awesome movie sets all around the globe. I’m thinking to myself. Now this is a woman who knows how to network.

Janet is always advocating that it’s all about who you know. I couldn’t agree more. Problem is… I’m a Family man. Not that this is a problem, it’s the most important thing in my life. However, the responsibilities of being a husband and father living in the country far away from any major set make it difficult for face to face networking. Because of this I have found that social media is the perfect avenue for me to build a community in the industry I love.

This is one reason I started following Janet. She is well connected and has worked very hard to become so. I figured that if I could find Janet, then I could probably find many other decision makers in film. I started finding audition’s on local websites. Utah’s main casting director Jeff Johnson started a website called Utahactors. I was able to find auditions for small paid roles. One thing that has helped me the most is professionalism. If you make a commitment, follow through with it. If you follow through with that commitment with passion then I promise you will have it made. I made commitments on projects that at times seemed like they might not be going anywhere. So many cast and crew were dropping off like flies. Now one of those projects, after years of hard work and dedication are going to Amazon Prime. Production will be moved to Atlanta next year, and guess who will have a much higher pay with paid flights and lodging while filming. The very few of us who stuck around and followed through with commitments that’s who. The newest Producer and partial reason for success in the series is none other than the Utah and Arizona SAG vice president. By being on set for so long we grew into great friends. When I stay in the city I stay at his house.

Facebook, Instagram Twitter are all awesome tools in networking. If you search Facebook you can find all sorts of awesome film groups in your state. They are always posting auditions for indie films. Also building your fan base is super important. I am adding people every day and am receiving multiple friend requests a day. You need to find something that motivates you and share it with the world. Going live is an awesome Idea. I go live every day In my Facebook group DAILY DEEDS. I deliver a deed that we can do on an individual level to collectively make the world a better place. Every day I have more and more people who watch my videos. You can also start to subtly build relationships with decision makers in the industry. Don’t feel like a creeper. Go and find their profiles. Start by simply liking a few of their posts then commenting on their posts over time. When they start to react then you can hit them with a friend request. But you have to be genuine, we all know every actor and actress has an agenda to be cast as the lead in somebodies next film. But actually check out what it is they are promoting and comment with honest relevant feedback. Another thing is to hit up all of the actors workshops and intensives you can. I know they cost money, boo hoo. But by showing up to the Tom Todoroff intensive training of which I found on LinkedIn posted by a casting director. I met a few Producers who will be casting me in their awesome sci-fi thriller also coming to mainstream media. Again, they are looking for talent who are dedicated to their craft. An actor who is willing to invest in their career shows a higher level of professionalism.

I have found that Linkedin is the most important social network avenue so far. It costs money for the premium subscription but it is well worth it. It’s more of a business based platform vs. the social platform on other social media sites. You can find the names of casting directors in IMDB Pro, again an Investment, and then search them in LinkedIn. Again you must be subtle about how you approach them. Start by liking their posts. Then again slowly build a relationship. When you post on your page, only post the things that really strike you as exciting. Posting too much on your feed will overwhelm your viewers. Let the important content really sink in.

It’s not easy to land that huge role, the one that shoves you into the spotlight. I certainly have not been on the big screen yet. Not as a lead anyways. But the films and series I have shot are slotted to hit mainstream next year and then I will have more recognition. I will Reiterate, make a commitment and follow through with it. Because of this attitude I have been able to network with a major producer with the Discovery and Hallmark Channel. He will be coming to Utah next year so cast a series for Hallmark. I am confident that I will be working with him on this project.

I continue to send new connection requests to important decision makers every day. And every day I continue to go live. I have landed two roles now by casting directors seeing my DAILY DEEDS live videos. One of those roles landed me on local television with thousands of viewers. Its not the big screen, but it’s a step in the right direction. Not to mention the filmmakers also make feature films for the big screen. Making commitment even when the immediate payoff doesn’t seem worth it and following through with them is how we advance the quickest. Always connect with who you work with on any set. You never know where their career is headed or who they might know. If you are truly genuine in your networking on a symbiotic basis, then I guarantee you will have success.

Stephen H.