Advice for Actors: The value of Networking
In this month's advice column, film & TV industry Psychologist, Charlotte Armitage talks about the importance of networking for actors to make connections and grow in confidence.
I’ve been invited to attend an actors networking event but I really don’t want to go. It’s not something I feel comfortable with and not sure of the value to be honest?
As an actor, the age old saying of ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’ can often be a harsh reality. Although not always the case because you do have to have the necessary talent and be the right fit for the character in order to successfully land the role, we’re all likely to experience a time when this becomes a real frustration as an actor. However, working in the film and TV industry is about relationships – both in front of and behind the camera. As much as the idea of networking may fill you with dread, there are some real benefits – both professionally and personally.
Networking can take many different forms. From attending industry events, workshops, parties, seminars, training, even being on set. Being open to the potential and opportunity of meeting interesting, new people can open all sorts of unexpected doors.
Seek out events which may be useful to you and grow your network. Very few actors will succeed based on their talent alone. Getting in front of directors, producers, casting agents, and fellow actors in a non-audition capacity is a great opportunity to create a positive impression and introduce yourself in a less pressurised environment.
By doing a bit of research before you attend an event or workshop to find out who is leading, speaking or attending can help with introductions and who you may want to approach.
•Grow in confidence
Although it can be nerve wracking to enter a room with complete strangers and make small talk, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Leave the ego at the door but don’t be shy. Entering the room with a smile, making eye contact and showing genuine interest in the person you’re speaking to is a must. Ask questions and listen. It’s not all about the ‘me, me, me’ show.
The acting industry is not for the faint hearted and can take its toil mentally. However, creating a supportive network around you and connecting with people who understand your joys, pains, successes and frustrations is invaluable.
Attending workshops led by industry professionals will give you an insight into their processes and experience which will help to develop your skills and understanding as an actor.
It can also be a good idea to follow up an initial meeting with your CV and showreel if looking for acting work or opportunities. This will also help build up your confidence and connections outside of a busy networking event.