I am two weeks in with my 40 Day Networking Challenge and I don’t even know where to begin to tell you all that has changed. I don’t even feel like the same person.
I’ll admit for the first 2 days I was in an all out panic, feeling like a caged animal, not sure if I would ever break free, but thanks to my flat out refusal to veer from the path, I learned 2 very important things:
1) I am already surrounded by amazing friends who are happy to help, I just need to ask.
2) The odds of getting help dramatically increases, if I can be clear on what I am asking. (For e.g. I’m a writer/producer with a new single cam comedy and I’m looking for an experienced Director to attach. One simple sentence that anyone can repeat, understand and share with others.)
Now getting so clear that I can effortlessly blurt out that one simple sentence? That’s a whole other story, particularly for those of us transitioning “from Youtube to a Television deal.”
The thing is that in the Independent/Youtube type world its quite normal to be the Writer/Producer/Director/Camera op/Actress/Editor/Social Media Guru/Web Designer etc. Its just accepted that you often wear all the hats and its okay to have a bit of multiple personality disorder, to be a dabbler, but in TV it is not.
In order to be successful in TV and not get kicked off your own project, you sort of need to pick your best lane, the lane where your strongest talents are and drive in it, fast, because everyone else is and they are really good at their specialties.
This is where I found myself these past 2 weeks, staring straight into the reality that its time to choose. What are the talents that make me indispensable? Which are most important to me? Who am I going to be?
Do I want to be an editor? No. A social media guru or web designer? That’s easy, no. Do I want to be an actress? Oooh that’s where I stumbled.
In my school girl fantasy that answer has always been a solid yes. I love acting. It’s fun, challenging, personal, intimate, all things I love. Why wouldn’t I want to do it? But as I sat here contemplating what it would mean to both push for and then literally be the Holster character in our show, much to my own surprise the answer came back as a no.
It hit me that even if I could convince a network to cast me rather than some name talent, if I’m brutally honest with myself, being a professional actress and all it entails is not a job I want. All the image pressure, publicity, the dressing up, the photo shoots, and on and on, is really not my thing. I feel much more at home, in my jeans, yes and potentially even flip flops, running a set or a writers room. That is my area. That’s where I shine. Where I belong. I am destined to be a Showrunner.
Suddenly there was relief. I can’t explain how good it felt to lighten my load and finally just choose a lane. Suddenly I could really see who I am. My value. I have been writing for 20 years and producing for the last 10. I can do this. I am a contribution. Now all I have to do is get out there and meet people. I know exactly who I am and what to ask for.
Which leads me to…
Industry Tip #39
For effective networking, you need to be able to express who you are and what you need in one sentence. If you can’t, its time to get more clear.