What are the do’s and don’ts to successfully networking with creatives?
(Asking for a friend, #dear )
— James Lorcan (@james_lorcan) January 7, 2020
Creatives are a breed to be approached with caution. If you feel the need to communicate with such a volatile animal, you should do so knowing they could suddenly jump out to lecture you about their recent work, only to return moments later to their VIP area. Be warned.
Of course, I am a creative and we are the same as any other people in the entertainment business, but we have nicer houses in better areas. That’s because we made better life choices. Anyway, I digress.
I get annoyed when theatre programmes list actors and creatives separately. It implies actors aren’t creative and everyone else is.
I’m not taking anything away from these ‘labelled creatives’, but it does say something alarming about ideas held in the industry. And perhaps it is true the actors aren’t really employed to be creative, just to do what the creatives tell them. Who knows?
‘If you don’t have a business card, you can always write your details on a beer mat’
Now, to your specific question: networking with creatives should be treated the same as networking with anyone else. Don’t do it. Never meet someone with the intention of networking. It becomes so clear and obvious and smacks of desperation, denigration and death. My advice is to socialise. It is much more relaxed and means you won’t keep saying things such as: “I’m an actor”, “I’ve done the West End”, “I’d love to work with you” and so on. Just keep it nice and easy – like you’re chatting to someone of no importance at all.
I love it when actors treat me as if I have the same low status. It allows me to be one of them and understand the troubles they go through. Also, I find it rather comforting to drink a few pints of real ale in their company. It has a strangely numbing effect on my taste buds.
In truth, it’s all about attitude. A creative will remember you if you’re normal. The worst thing is when someone behaves in an over-the-top way, giggling hysterically, listing their acting CV, and eventually ball-changing away. Good God.
It may be useful to hand out old-fashioned business cards. I like these. They’re nice and easy to carry around, and creatives like them as they can be useful for chopping up drugs. Think about what your business card says – maybe have a link to your website, your agent and a recent photo of your face. However, if you don’t have a business card, you can always write your details on a beer mat.
Email the said creative the next day. Say where you met, how nice it was to meet them, and tell them how much money you spent on their drinks. This will keep you fresh in their memory and may even mean they’ll call you in for an audition. I always do (if the person has spent more than £25 on me). Good luck, dear.