Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why networking is not working

I know people. I like those people I know. Why do I need to meet more people? Oh, for my career, right.

As an actor, I have to go out and meet people and be seen. Not something I should do, but something I have to do. Every single week, a bunch of actors and major(ish) players in the Portland film community (including the casting director in town) have drinks at the MoHo. Tonight was my first night there. I was surprised to see I knew about a third of the people there. I even liked most of them, which is always a bonus. The problem is when I wonder why I am there. To see people I haven't seen in a while is nice, but I think the reason people go there is to be seen. This is the biggest thing I do not like about actors, we are needy. Yes, we need attention, but these weekly social gatherings make good career sense in that you are seen by your peers or whatever, and you get to know people in the community, so when you walk onto a set or into an audition, you already know a bunch of the other people there. You are in.

I know that it's not who you know, but who knows you that counts in this career, this city, this world. What if I'm just tired of meeting new people? I'm sure I would enjoy them once I got to know them, I am earnestly positive that they are mostly intriguing people, but why do I have to meet them all? I already have too many friends and family to keep track of. I've wanted to catch up with so many people and just not. I feel no urge to go out and meet more people I won't have time to follow up with. I have connections with people I've known since before I could grow facial hair, heck, even before the hair on the top of my head started to recede. Now that's history.

Am I a stick in the mud, an old man who wants to stay where he is comfortable? Yes. I'm okay with that. Should I go out and meet all these people working in the industry, or at least wanting to get further ahead in the industry? Probably, yeah. Would I create a weekly routine where I would catch up with these people on a regular basis? it makes sense.

Flip side of the coin for me is the question of what I want. Do I want to be a Portland actor? I think I do. That's what I say my goal is...but when I analyze my dreams...I really want to be a Hollywood actor. I want to work with my heroes, Mitchell Hurwitz, Joss Whedon, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Gus Van Sant...well, that last one was Portland, but he really is a Hollywood director who lives in Portland.

If I am honest, I really want to be a huge-ass fish in a small pond. It is ridiculous. I want to be an LA guy, but I do not want to ever live there. I want fame...which is not something people find in Portland. I guess one reason I find the P-town socials droll is that it's really getting to know the people also stranded on the same island while you are looking across the ocean imaging what wonders lie beyond the horizon. How impossible a dream it is I have. I don't know how to change it. I don't control my dreams, and yet they fuel me. Am I afraid of shrinking my impossible dreams into something based more in reality...Yes. Who wouldn't be? Am I going to do it: acknowledge that I need to climb every step of the ladder? Maybe. Will I hold on to the notion that I can skip a few rungs based on luck, tenacity, ignorance and even more luck? Damn right I will. This is still my adventure.

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