You will be meeting a lot of people as you embark on a career in entertainment. This is an industry in which networking is essential, and there are many key players whose contact information you’ll want to always keep handy. So, you’ll need to know who the most important industry insiders are, how to obtain their contact details, and how to best organize the information you collect so it stays readily available no matter where you are.
There are many different types of contacts you’re going to establish. You might meet another aspiring actor at an audition who you get a chance to talk to and practice lines with while the two of you wait. You may meet a casting director at an event and really hit it off. If they offer to exchange numbers, always do so. You never know when a simple happenstance connection will become majorly important. They may also ask to exchange social media handles, and that is by far the easiest way to keep in touch.
Not only should you enter each new number into your phone right away or add this new connection online, but you should keep a spreadsheet of everyone you’ve made contact with using Google Docs or a similar site, so you can easily access to their information, updating it as necessary. Industry insiders suggest following up with important connections every 3-4 months, so you stay in close contact. Circumstances are always changing at a rapid pace in this industry, too, so a casting director who said ‘no’ to you for a previous role may have something new in mind just a few months down the road.
The rule of thumb should always be to log any new contact’s information no matter what. If it’s not immediately accessible, do your own research and follow up. Ask the receptionist at an audition when you sign in for the casting director’s or company’s contact details. Take business cards if they are offered or are out for the taking. Try never to leave an industry event without a means to follow up with those you meet.
If you are booked for a gig, always send a thank you to anyone who took the time to meet with you and consider you for the role. Make connections with the others involved with the project. Always assume that you will see these people again whether or not this ends up being the case.
You have to be somewhat aggressive with establishing industry contacts. Of course, you’ll want to always remain professional, but don’t be afraid to be the first to ask to stay in touch. And, never burn bridges. Everyone you meet has the potential to influence your career.