Not So Networking
Business is winding down as the holidays are approaching, but some eager beavers are already thinking of the year to come, while others celebrate the end of the season, so I still had a lot going on this week.
Monday morning I had an agent meeting in Toronto, which was really awesome, whether I get signed with them or not, because in addition to asking me questions and having me share why I could be an awesome member of their team, she also went through my resume with me, giving advice on what should stay and what should go, what classes I am missing, what casting directors are looking for in certain situations…if nothing else, it was really enlightening, industry-wise, and gave me stuff to think about.
Which is good, because as soon as the meeting was over, I had a nice long drive back to Montreal. I didn’t exactly drive there just for the YEAA Holiday Mixer, but I did leave a day earlier in order to attend.
I stay with my parents when I am in Montreal, so since the mixer started at 6, I told them I would be home by 9, 10 at the latest. I am getting better at networking, but I am still really good at finding valid excuses to go home early, cuddle up with a tea and catch up on work. Especially given that I wasn’t sure how invited I was, since YEAA, the Young Emerging Actors Assembly, is an ACTRA committee, which I am not a part of.
Still, I showed up just as it was starting, before most people had arrived, and started talking to the people that I knew, as one does at networking events. Before long I was invited to sit at a table, and then before I knew it, I was not self-consciously trying to find people I could talk to in order to not look weird by myself in a corner; I was having fun, talking to friends, introducing people to each other. I was catching up with old friends, making new ones and genuinely having a really good time. So good, that it was 11 before I even thought of leaving. Maybe the secret to not being terrible at networking it to… not network? In the end, although I didn’t come back just for that, if I had, I think it would have been worth it.
The next few days I spent a lot of time with family, Christmas shopping and doing all kinds of self tapes. I find it really funny that after moving into a house full of actors, I still end up doing most of my self tapes with my dad. He may not be an actor, but he is a trooper, and amazing. From self tapes and keeping my car clean and safe, to putting up Christmas lights because he knows I love them. No news yet, and they all film in the new year so I’m not holding my breath just yet, but it feels good to be constantly submitting myself and putting myself out there.
On Thursday I had supper at my cousin’s, where she decided we would celebrate her birthday by her giving me all kinds of gifts. I know she is very into clearing out her clutter in recent years, but I feel like I am making a killing off of it.
On Friday, I went to work at McGill, for a scenario I do almost every month and really enjoy. A few people did ask what I was doing there (I am sure I have friends who still don’t believe I moved away), and though I assured them I was already in town so it made sense to say yes, the truth is that the trip got planned around this booking, and that I am sort of constantly looking for reasons to come back. More to justify family visits with work events and opportunities, but I am starting to realize that if I really want to make things work in Toronto, I may have to stop spending so much time in Montreal. My goal is to be working in both markets, and my family is still in Montreal, so the visits will never stop, but I think I am currently spending as much time in Montreal as in Toronto, if not more. Something to look into and figure out after the holidays.
That afternoon, I went to see Star Wars with my brother, which I really enjoyed. We could dissect it and nitpick, but I was entertained, I laughed, the popcorn was good, the company was great, and it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon before driving home to Toronto. Through a whiteout. Which was a new experience, in that they don’t usually last that long, and I am usually more familiar with the roads that I am not seeing. But I made it home in time to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the Holiday Party Saturday morning. Though I also learnt I should coordinate and establish leaving and arrival times with people in advance. I used to have an OCD-like compulsion to make a schedule and stick to it, which I have been working on this past year or so, and living with roommates and going places with them is definitely teaching me to be less fixated on my plans and more willing to just go with the flow. Like a lot of things, I am working on it.
It turned out to be a day of Christmas parties, and I got an impromptu at-home salon day from my roommate, who straightened, cut and curled my hair. I was basically her Barbie doll, and she made me…not quite me. Or at least not the me I am used to. But I like her. I think we can be friends. At the party, I met some cool people; actors, agents and entrepreneurs alike. I was also touched by the kindness of not entirely strangers, but pretty much. Since coming to Toronto, I have been slightly scrambling to get all my stuff together (not that I really had that in Montreal, but new town, new me, right?) and it is overwhelming how many people are willing to help. To give advice or support or even help you achieve your goals. Acting is a lot of competition, yes, but it is also community. And I am finally finding mine, both here and in Montreal.
Sunday morning I woke up early for an audition, which luckily was set the morning after a work Christmas party, so I was right in the proper mindset. I considered keeping last night’s makeup, but decided that might be a bit much. And they might not realize it was a costume choice and think I’m just…weird? We did the scene once, with them cutting right before the end, where I would have had a bit of power moment, then they gave me a few notes about backstory and had me go again. From their reactions, I think I played it differently than the others who had auditioned so far, which could be awesome, or it could just not be what they are looking for. But, I made a choice, showed them that I could act, and take direction. So no matter what happens, I’m putting this one down as a win.
By the time this gets posted, I will have been on set for hours with my 4:30 am call time. And as much as I love sleep (a whole lot), I love acting and being on set way more. Even for background.
“To nurture the sort of relationships that will truly help propel you towards accomplishing great things, you need to forget transactional networking and focus on having in-depth conversations with fewer people about subjects you really care about.”
“I’ve met so many who have opened doors for me and remained in my life both personally and professionally. After a while, networking doesn’t feel like ‘networking’. It’s both serendipitous and unpredictable, and something that just naturally becomes part of your work life and your personal life.”