Welcome to Hollywood!
Moving to a new city can be a frightening experience, wrought with uncertainty and high risk. For those of you that made the plunge, welcome to America’s shining entertainment capitol, Hollywood, CA! Despite the tens of thousands of artists, producers, schemers and dreamers that have already made this transition, you talented pioneers have decided to relocate to Los Angeles and try your luck (against all odds) at attaining fame and fortune in one of the world’s most exciting and competitive fields.
And for those of you that were born and raised in Los Angeles, welcome anyway! We’ll be seeing lots of you!
What is Networking?
You may be asking yourself, “Thank you for the warm welcome, but how can I ascend along my career trajectory in this seemingly difficult, ever-changing industry?”
The simple answer is: Networking.
Industry professionals will tell you, “It’s all who you know.” And they’re not lying! Networking in business is the process by which individuals can meet and exchange ideas and common interests, developing relationships that will help them to succeed later down the road. In Hollywood, it’s important to turn every party and social gathering into a “who’s who” of who can help your career. With some properly placed questions (like, “What do you do?”), you can ascertain within one or two sentences whether someone is worth talking to or not.
And if they’re not worth talking to, walk away. There will be other people at these parties.
Building a Network of Relationships
Establishing these helpful relationships, however, can prove difficult. The trick to successful networking is disguising the fact that you’re networking. Be authentic, mindful, and specific. Ask for advice, not jobs. If you can get someone to owe you a future favor, that’s even better.
But the best relationships you can develop are the ones you’ve nurtured for a lifetime: those with your parents. If you have famous parents (or even a famous parent, singular), you’re going to do well in The Business.
Reaching Out to Your Network
If you’re new in town, you’ll want to get out of the apartment most evenings. Build an active social life. Strike up conversations with strangers in bars and see what they can do for you. Maybe you want to be a screenwriter and you meet a writer on a popular television show created by their father. Maybe you want to be a sitcom actor and over drinks you meet a fellow actor who is currently starring on a multi-cam show with their movie star father.
Maybe you know your father and he’s already famous. Or even your mother. That can happen, too! In that case, reach out to your parents. With parents, you have the advantage of not needing to beat around the bush and pretend like you are considerate of their feelings; you can just ask them for a job!
Expanding Your Network
If you’ve been following the advice of this article thus far, you won’t need to expand your network. That’s the beauty of the having-famous-parents system.
By this point, they’ve hopefully put you in a feature film, perhaps starring alongside them, or encouraged you to hand your middle school diary over to an executive in order to turn it into a humorous, relatable coming-of-age script for a major studio. That diary project might be embarrassing to you, but letting your old classmates see the new, improved twenty-something version of you in People will feel great! And letting them know that the Mercedes you inherited from your parents is from 2006 will help you remain humble.
Evaluating the Quality of Your Network
If your parents aren’t famous, this is unfortunately a devastating setback. Your network may be full of worthless, equally unsuccessful people who can do nothing for you. Let them go.
But fret not! Check your larger network; perhaps you have a famous uncle in the industry or your cousin is Kenny G. Maybe your grandparents were golden-age movie stars or your brother is a Hemsworth. If that is the case, you may still be in luck.
Maintaining Your Network
Once you’ve created strong working relationships, it’s important to maintain these contacts, so that you can mine them for work later. Since you’re probably still living in your parents’ house – whether you moved back in after college or perhaps never left – it shouldn’t be too hard to keep in touch. Maybe get them a nice card for Father’s and/or Mother’s Day. Help your mom move that mid-century armoire into the second dining room or watch Trouble with the Curve with your dad (assuming your parents are quality contacts). Have dinner with them occasionally and they’ll give you the career you’ve always deserved.
Now you may be asking yourself, “What if I’m not trying to make it in the Hollywood entertainment industry? Will these networking techniques still apply to other situations?”
That’s a very good question.
Happily, the answer is yes!
Having famous parents can work in many scenarios. If you are living in New York City and wish to become a successful author and your mother is a famous novelist, then you’ll thrive in no time! Or if you want to enter the political arena or work as a White House senior advisor and your father (or father-in-law) is the President of the United States, you’re going to rise to the top! That’s a guarantee.
If you bolster your networking skills, there is nothing that you can’t accomplish with famous parents! Good luck.