Today’s topic is going to be a bit esoteric. It has more to do with getting jobs than writing. And in today’s economy, that’s a BIG topic. I’m talking about networking, making contacts, gettin’ in the door. Sure, sure, there’s all the obvious stuff like attending Hollywood mixers and sending your resume around. That’s all good business sense. But I’m talking about a more ephemeral way of connecting that has only just become apparent in my life. I call it “Spider Webs.”
A spider often starts making its web by anchoring itself to a high location, then spinning out a long strand. It dangles there on its lone thread waiting for a breeze. When the breeze comes, it pushes the spider to another location – where the spider forms its first connection. The spider then moves from that location to another – and another – and another, until it has a strong web that can catch sustenance. And it all started from a single thread.
Business relationships are like that, too. You start off knowing one individual, who introduces you to someone else, who turns you on to a new opportunity, which leads to a major corporation, etc. Spider webs… all stemming from one single source. And that source often has NOTHING to do with your goal. Let me give you a real example.
From local picnic to Canada
A religious-minded friend offered to take my son to her church’s Bible school which offered a lot of fun activities followed by a “graduation” picnic for the whole family. I rolled my eyes, cuz I didn’t particularly want to go, but I told myself to reach out, be supportive, be open (totally against my computer-hermit nature). My son made friends with a boy whose father was a filmmaker from South Africa. We got to chatting, and he shared a movie opportunity with me. Ultimately, the deal fell through, but the filmmaker introduced me to an exec at an architecture firm that had an animation division. After a nice chat with the exec, he introduced me to a Canadian animation firm and to a game designer. Naturally, I followed up with these new contacts, but nothing came of them for many months. In the mean time, I started my webinar business – and while drumming up business, I sent a courtesy invitation to the Canadian firm. Well, that email coincided with a project they were developing, and they offered me two pilot scripts. Whoa! That was random. Ultimately, those scripts were shown to another company doing business in the Middle East, and yet another new avenue opened! I, in turn, introduced the Canadians to several other companies and projects, which are now being pursued. Nice web, huh?
Going back to the game designer, we had only met ever so briefly – it wasn’t even an official business meeting. But I had made a passing comment about a Beatles poster he had, and that created a connection. We emailed off-&-on for months, and finally he said, “I’ve got a series I’m developing. Want in?” And that was that! Another pilot script! Out of the blue.
And all because I didn’t dodge the Bible school picnic. I’m not saying there’s a religious karma involved – but there is something “mystical” about it. At any given moment, at any given choice, this web could have collapsed. But each slender thread (though nearly invisible) was strong enough to swing me to the next connection. If you want to hear a similar story about a lady who turned lemonade into helicopters, go to Tina Seelig’s video at: http://video.aol.com/video-detail/turning-lemonade-into-helicopters/3789233557 She talks about “making your own luck.” And that’s what creating a spider web is. You get out there, dangle yourself from a thread, then open yourself to where the breeze takes you.
I could tell you several other similar stories, but it would take too long. Let’s just say I have a spider web that stretched from UCLA… to an Australian classroom… to two Australian TV shows & a film… to new contacts & business partners in the Far East… to a show development deal in Korea. And all because a writing class I was teaching in Los Angeles fell through!
CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SPIDER’S SOUL
So start chatting! Be open! My theory is that everyone in Los Angeles knows at least one person connected to the Entertainment Industry – so everyone is a potential “web anchor.” (And don’t get me started about the limitless internet connections!)