Friday, June 1, 2007

Networking: How to kiss up your way to nowhere

This whole networking thing is really kind of an obtuse way of doing things, isn't it? I mean, you're just haphazardly meeting people and making friends and some like you, some don't, some don't care or know you from Adam - most in fact. Talk about a crap shoot.

Even successful people don't stay successful based on just networking. Certainly it helps to know people. But, you're only as good as your last film. If that's a flop, then networking is a liability. Better to stay low.

I saw a biography on Brando recently. He didn't network. He just went to dance classes looking for girls. People came to him because he was talented. He didn't network. Didn't have to. End of story.

How about if you're not all that hot. You're just another mildly talented writer. You can cut the mustard, but nothing to have a ticker tape parade over. So, you use networking as your crutch to just happen to be at the right place, at the right time. It could work.

So, that's really it, isn't it? You're too lazy to get good and get noticed for being talented and you think hanging around the right people will get you a consolation prize. How many scripts have you written? Five, ten, twenty? How long have you been at it? Two? Five years? Try ten. That's the going standard. Try writing a hundred screenplays. Try being worth something and not just another kiss up wannabe.

From what I've seen and read about truly successful people is that they're talented. That's why they're successful. That's why networking works for them. In fact, it's people who clamor to network with them, not the other way around. It's also true that they didn't get there by networking. They got there by working their asses off and learning how to write, act, direct or whatever. 99% perspiration. Networking. Ha! It's the symptom, not the prescription.

But wait, you say. You've been networking around for years now and it finally did pay off. You made friends along the way and eventually just by knowing people you got better and better jobs, and now you finally got that big one. Oh but you were also working your ass off all those years getting better and better at what your do, nurturing your talent, getting mentored. So then, what was it that made you a success, the networking or the hard work?

What happens when you're down? How about if you develop a drug habit? Is all that networking going to save your ass? Maybe some close friends will help. But, mostly people will avoid you like the plague. Back to Brando. He got full of himself at one point and no studio wanted to touch him. The networking was a liability. Everyone knew he was a hot head and wanted nothing to do with him. But, then Coppola came along and did a screen test with him for the Godfather and Brando was suddenly reinvented. Back on top. How? Networking? Coppola? No. It was talent. When you look at that screen test you see his awesome talent, like no other actor could ever pull off. Talent. That's what you need and what you need to develop.

Networking means nothing more than who you know. Everyone knows people. Six degrees of separation. If you're good at something, Kevin Bacon will hear about it and the world will be at your door. Build a better mouse trap.

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