Four days ago I moderated a discussion group for a group of fifteen new writers. The guests we interviewed were agents and managers from very prestigious companies. The event was held in an elegant room at a gorgeous hotel in the heart of Beverly Hills. We took a lunch break at a nearby restaurant where I sat with the group and answered questions and gave advice to them on their writing careers. The day lasted four and a half hours and I was not paid to do this. It was exhausting and draining for me. I had to be “on” all day. It’s like a performance.
If you are wondering why I am rambling on about this I will explain. New screenwriters everywhere are dying to get into the business of the Hollywood studio system and to sell their movies. They constantly complain that the doors are closed to them and that they can’t get past the gatekeepers. After having been introduced to my group as a former agent and current script consultant these folks asked all kinds of questions and got honest, down-to-earth answers from me. I brought my business cards as well as some of my book; “MIND YOUR BUSINESS: A Hollywood Literary Agent’s Guide To Your Writing Career”. Four people bought my book and a few took my cards. As I mentioned, it is now four days later and not one of the group has sent a thank you note to me. Perhaps it sounds silly or egotistical to you……but it is an egregious error on their part. They had spent those hours with someone who was open to them, who has spent thirty years in the business of Hollywood and who could and would willingly help them with their careers. A thank you note is a way to insure a new contact, continue a connection, form a friendship and get a way into the business they need. This is the heart of networking.
I even explained this to them by way of suggesting they write to the guest speakers. It couldn’t have been made clearer to them.
The world is speeding along. Days fly by. People connect via email and FB and Twitter. In Hollywood the connections are much more personal. There are breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks meetings. It is face time. There are Hollywood parties and gatherings. Every deal is based on relationships.
When someone extends a hand, grab it with all you’ve got. It may be the life and career saver that you need.