In a profession that is so largely reliant on our networking skills and knowing the ‘right’ people, we sometimes forget that our friends can often do as much as anyone else in the business. I know I’ve overlooked my friends as industry contacts in the past and was recently (and rather pleasantly) reminded what a wonderful and powerful resource they can be.
In the never-ending hunt for audition material and in an increasingly frazzled state I sent a plea to my friends asking for any handy hints they may have as to where to find that million dollar monologue. And my oh my did they provide! In particular I must recommend Bushgreen (Bush Theatre’s New Writers initiative) for fresh ideas, though there were a number of other useful sites specifically for monologues including www.arthurjolly.com. Having been thoroughly excited by Bushgreen I have now passed on this little nugget of knowledge to a writer friend (and you lovely people), reminding me that I too am a useful networking tool to my friends. What a lovely little resource circle!
I’m always doing a little bit of research here there and everywhere, and regularly e-mail friends and colleagues when I come across something that I think would be of use to them or an opportunity that they would be perfect for. It’s great when you hear that a link you’ve sent has led someone to receive funding or put them in touch with a new creative collaborator etc. It’s also wonderful when they do they same for you. I’ve had quite a few opportunities through this casual exchange of knowledge, and it goes to show that when you start sharing information a real resource pool emerges and people actively think of you. In an industry as competitive as ours it’s a marvel that people are so mutually and unconditionally supportive of one another. But then again, creatives are sociable people.
In addition to the opportunities and experiences I’ve gained through lending a hand to a friend, the little nudges I’ve sent them have meant that I now have a great database for myself too. For example, last year I came across several funding links which I passed on to a company of friends. So, when it came to looking for funding for my own projects, I had a ready-made list of places to look.
It’s amazing to see how small deeds can snowball and by chipping away with friends at your side big things can start to happen. Sure, things take time, but doing the groundwork with a few helpful shoves from elsewhere gives you a broader foundation to build your career on. If it’s true that we are only ever six introductions away from anyone else on the planet then I guess in the long run our friends are the people we are trying to meet. And if you think about it like that, the battle is nearly won.