by Emily Grace
All of these celebrities are doing it: Pitt, Clooney and Damon. Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler. The Coen Brothers. Judd Apatow.
Why aren’t you?
What are they doing, you ask? Working with the same people again and again.
In business it’s what is called the Know-Like-Trust Factor. And it’s the secret sauce to going from auditions to offers.
World renowned speaker and best selling author Zig Ziglar says,
“If people like you, they will talk to you. If people trust you, they will do business with you.”
Professionals at every level of the entertainment industry, when given the choice, will hire someone they know, like and trust – from a-lister’s all the way down to a first time student filmmaker.
When it comes to your acting career – it’s time to stop chasing after random audition opportunities just for the sake of getting into the room. Create long-term relationships to establish the know-like-trust factor, and you’re well on your way to being hired over and over.
The know-like-trust principle is simple to understand. The more people know, like and trust you, the more likely they are to hire you when you’re a good fit for the project. No rocket scientist required.
The biggest question actors tend to struggle with is where to find the people to connect with in the first place. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think.
So let me walk you through how an internet connection and a little bit of detective work can get you started on the road from auditions to offers.
Get clear about the kind of work you want to be doing
“I just want to work.” You’ve said it. I’ve said it. We’ve all been there. It’s a lot like saying “I just want a boyfriend.” Without some standards, you’ll end up with a real douche that makes you miserable. Girlfriend (boyfriend?) you deserve way better! Don’t be so desperate you’ll take any old acting job that comes along, no matter what. Get yourself some standards!
What kind of work do you want? Is it indie film? Do you want to be paid? How about an imdb credit? If you’re looking to book tv credits – what kind of shows are best suited to your strengths? Sitcom? Single camera comedy?
Spend some time getting clear about the work you are most passionate about. When you know what you want to be doing, it will lead you to the people who can hire you for it.
Just like the gps in your car – you need a destination before you get the map. Know where you’re going in your career in order to choose the best plan of action to get there.
Do your research
Great, you’ve got a direction! Now it’s time for some detective work. Who hires for the kind of work you want to be doing?
In the entertainment industry directors, producers and casting directors often refer to their “wheelhouse.” Meaning they are attracted to certain kinds of projects. Your job is to begin identifying specific people who’s taste, style, body of work, and projects are similar to your own “wheelhouse.”
Great tools for this research include:
- Film festival websites – what better place to research independent filmmakers, directors, producers and casting directors?
- Casting about – this is a fabulous research tool for finding who is casting what in both New York and LA (that includes tv, film and theatre)
- ImdbPro – The go-to database for pretty much anyone in the entertainment industry
- Social media – you can directly connect with so many filmmakers, casting directors, and other industry pros, it is truly mind blowing
- Google – never underestimate the power of a plain old google search
(Want to see exactly how easy it is to find filmmakers online? Get this free video for step-by-step instructions)
Make a list of specific people you want to work with
Once you’ve done your research, you want to choose a handful of people to build long term relationships with. Your best bet here is to choose people who are accessible to you. Sure, working with Judd Apatow or George Clooney may be a viable goal for you, but neither of these guys are readily available to build a relationship with. Focus on people who you can find current contact information for – that can be an active social media profile, an office address, or email.
Keep this list small. The bigger the list, the harder it will be to manage. Start small. You can always expand once you get the hang of it.
Connect with your people
The key here is when establishing a relationship, focus on how you can help the other person, not the other way around. Shoving your headshot in someone’s face is going to be a turn off.
Is the filmmaker you want work with doing a kickstarter campaign? Help them spread the word. Did a casting director contribute a great blog post? Let them know how helpful it was to you and then retweet it. The more you focus on being of genuine service to someone else, the better know-like-trust factor is established.
There are various ways to begin long term industry relationships with specific people. Here are a few possibilities:
Film Festival Screenings
This is a powerful way to connect with specific filmmakers. You know they are going to be there, and you can bet they will take kindly to someone who appreciates their work. Plus that in-person connection is a big plus.
Everyone is on social media, from celebrities to casting directors to filmmakers, producers and agents. If the people on your list are on social media, connect with them there.
Can’t make it to the film festival to catch that screening? I bet your filmmaker has a twitter account. Connect with them there. In fact, help them spread the word about their screening or trailer or kickstarter campaign. What a great way to begin a relationship – by being of service to someone else, rather than asking what they can do for you.
Workshops, events and panels
Is someone on your list giving a talk, having a class or sitting on a panel? Go there! Meet them! Afterwards, tell them what you enjoyed about their presentation.
Follow that in-person interaction up with a thank you card in the mail. Check them out on social media and tweet about what a great talk they gave.
These are all great ways to begin that first connection.
Follow up consistently
Once you’ve started the initial relationship, you have to keep it going. Communicate consistently with the people on your list to build the know-like-trust factor.
In addition to continuing to support your new industry relationships, be sure to keep them informed about what’s up in your career too. Remember that a relationship develops over the long term. Know-like-and-trust doesn’t happen over night. It is a process. Be persistent in your efforts.
Focus on the stuff that gets results
Many actors put their attention in the wrong place. They hear about an audition, then they push-push-push trying to get seen for it. If your first interaction with a casting director, filmmaker or producer is you trying to land an audition, you’re probably too late. They are going to give auditions (and offers) to actors they already know, like and trust. The likelihood of someone taking a risk on an unknown talent when they are on a tight deadline to cast an important role is very small, if it happens at all.
The more time you spend focusing on building strong industry relationships and upping your know-like-trust factor, the better off you will be. When the people you want to work with know very well who you are and what you are capable of as an actor, soon enough you will be the actor getting called in, and in some cases getting a direct offer without having to audition at all!
Want to learn how to find filmmakers online? This free video will show you the exact step by step, so you can get on the road from auditions to offers. Hurry! It’s only online until April 9th.
Emily Grace helps actors get in the driver’s seat of their career with marketing plans that get results. She is an award-winning actress, a writer and producer. Want to hear more from Emily? Be sure to sign up for her weekly newsletter full of useful tools to navigate the entertainment industry at www.emilygrace.tv