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How Screenwriters Can Instantly Make Valuable Industry Contacts Online
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When I first arrived in LA I knew I had to meet people, I needed to make friends. This was crucial. No friends or relatives in the business of show, so I had to make them.
I made it my mission to attend as many functions/events as possible. I recall occasions that involved three to five functions in an evening - and other evenings when the invitations got "lost in the mail."
Some events were fee based, others were not. I had to find creative ways to get invited and pay for the fees. I'd pop in, shake some hands, and kiss some babies (wink) then move on to the next soiree. I met a lot of interesting people each with their own dream. Some have become dear friends and others business partners.
Fifteen years later, I now have a vast rolodex of established professionals I can call upon.
I had a few basic principles as I entered each function/event. Here they are:
1. Stand out. Be remarked about. Have an identity. I've been called a lot of things in my life, believe me. Boring is not one of them.
2. Have Fun! This is not war, it's a party. I'm not on a mission to do business, I'm on a mission to meet people and make friends.
3. Be resourceful and helpful to others. Connect people. Recently, I was at a cocktail party and met a pharmaceutical rep in search of a new gig. It so happens that I know a key executive at major pharmaceutical company and offered to introduce his resume.
4. Don't sell. This is not the place to sell any of your goods. It's simply an opportunity to make friends. Ideally, great friends. As these new friends get to know you they may not need or want what you have, but they may know someone who does. Their friends may become your business contacts. Some of my best business relationships are the result of an introduction and recommendation. I sold a show to FOX many moons ago because a friend I met (an accountant) introduced me to his cousin, a big deal Producer.
Here is what's truly amazing though. 15 years later I can accomplish the same goals of making new friends by utilizing social media. I have met some of my dearest friends online. Three years ago I met a friend who inspired me to run a marathon. He lives in Seattle. Last year, even though my schedule prohibited my attendance, I set aside two tickets for him to attend the screening of my film at the Seattle Film Festival.
Point is that you do not need to live in Los Angeles as a screenwriter to attend parties and make friends that are in the entertainment business. You can do it using Social Media. Keep in mind that when you meet someone at a party they may have in excess of 50 contacts that they can reach out to. In Social Media, there are some folks that have thousands upon thousands of contacts they can connect you to. Some of those contacts may very well be the tastemakers you seek.
Social media has simply made networking virtual. But, same principles apply. The beauty of the internet is you can be remarkable, resourceful, and fun by using the power of the internet. There is so much material out there. You can be the one that captures it and introduces it to the community. You can be sassy, you can be your alter ego. You can be comfortable because your at home, a coffee shop, at work, wherever.
So I make all these friends online Marvin, now what? How do I get my scripts in the hands of the tastemakers? Drum roll please...
Think of your blog as your home. This should represent you. This is your voice. Here you tell the world all about you and how fabulous you truly are! Here you can post your goals, action plans, passions, etc..
Invite people you meet on Social Media sites over for hors d'oeuvres and cocktails virtual style to your home. Offer people content, not just your screenplays, content. There is so much cool and interesting stuff online you can provide to people for free. Or maybe you have a skill set that you have mastered. Make a video and teach people how to do it and post it or maybe you write a how to E-book.
Maybe, just maybe you make a video pitching your screenplay and you post that. Maybe it's a video journal of your screenplay's journey of the path it takes to the big screen. Maybe you post clips of a table reading. Maybe... it's endless what you can do.
Point is, here you can be the host of your private party.
As people begin to visit your private home more often, friendships develop. Friends help other friends. They support each other. They encourage each other. They introduce each other to the people they know, and they introduce you to the people they know, and they... you get it.
It's a small, small world. Social media makes it even smaller.
In conclusion, let me remind you that this is simply an additional tool not the only tool, but a tool.
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