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The Reel Deal

The Meaning of Networking

That is what we're up to as actors: Declaring our gift and offering it to those who are ready to receive it.

As actors, some of us might have negative associations with the word “networking”: The process of using our personal relationships for professional gain can seem cold, calculated, impersonal, and manipulative. Some prefer the word "community" instead, which tends to evoke warmer images of people working together for a common cause or at least mutual benefit. Upon consideration, I thought there might be some growth in looking at the word “networking” anew to see exactly what it holds. Networking is so much a part of our business language; building positive associations is an important part of building your business.

Take networks apart and it says, "net works." If you have a religious bent, the net image might evoke “the fisher of men,” Jesus Christ. Add or subtract the religious significance as is your want – Jesus was a man who believed he had a gift to offer and cast his net for those who were open to receiving it. That is what we're up to as actors: declaring our gift and offering it to those who are ready to receive it.

Another association is the safety net below the trapeze artist. Though our work is not life and death, it IS about creating extraordinary lives, filled with joy and creativity. In this difficult endeavor, our net(work) can provide invaluable support for the challenge of "flying high."

Lastly, a net is a web of connections, a fabric woven of our community of fellow actors, film, and theater professionals that is stronger, and more effective than any single strand. We come together to acknowledge the six degrees of separation, the power of many working together for mutual benefit.

And it works! “Works” (meaning succeeds) is the last word in networks. As a career and life coach for actors, I call my group of associates “Creative Seed Network” because of its success in building both personal and professional support. The lucky breaks that every actor dreams of and depends on -- when we meet an agent at friend’s cast party, when a director we worked with years ago calls out of the blue -- these aren’t luck; they’re networking. So cast your nets and catch the success that awaits you.

Sow Yourself Like a Seed

 

2007 BIGBreakNY, LLC. No material may be reprinted without permission.