“In acting, it’s all about who you know.”

Raise your hand if you just vomited.

Whether it’s from hearing that cliche a hundred times a day, or from the uncomfortable truth of it, many actors have a strong aversion to the idea that they need to “know somebody” to “make it” as an actor. I’ve spent the past few days uploading my contacts to PerformerTrack, and I’ve been reading up on the idea of theatrical networking as well. I have come to the conclusion that there are two simple truths that apply to every actor out there and will undoubtedly aid you in achieving your goals.

Truth #1: It IS all about who you know!

If you are an aspiring actor, you’d better get used to the idea of networking. As Robert Cohen notes in his book Acting Professionally: Raw Facts About Careers in Acting, “NOBODY makes it on his or her ‘own.'” And how could you? How would you audition? To whom would you be submitting? Who would your castmates be? The idea is laughable! You could be the most talented actor of the past century, but nobody’s going to know if you don’t get out there and show ’em the goods. This doesn’t mean you need to be besties with a high-ranking Hollywood producer, it just means that you should get to know the people in your business. Which leads us to…

Truth #2: Everyone you know in the industry is a potential contact of some kind!

Especially if you live in Chicago, where the market isn’t nearly as large as it is in L.A. or New York, you may be surprised what you discover! Just this weekend, as I was going over the names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of my contacts, I discovered that a friend of mine in the improv circuit actually works for a major Chicago talent agency! Whether it’s your crazy aunt who likes to shoot movies about her cats or the guy hanging around backstage wielding eight different kinds of tape, make sure you take a minute to get to know the people you meet during your pursuits. Who knows, the aforementioned tape guy might be writing the next great musical! Never be afraid to introduce yourself and make friends!

These are just a couple simple philosophies under the beach umbrella that is “contacts.” If you’re looking for a good resource for a realistic approach to life as a professional actor, pick up a copy of the book I mentioned above. It’s packed with some real juicy tidbits about the business!

Oh…and you can put your hands down now. 🙂

~JVB

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