Hollywood Networking Secrets That Will Get You in Any Door [Video]
Breaking into any industry is difficult, but Hollywood has to be one of the toughest of all. Career Expert Susanne Goldstein believes that if you can make it in show business there, you'll make it anywhere, and she's willing to let you in on her success strategy, so you can break into any field that interests you.
She calls her method "Carry a Paintbrush -- How to be the Artistic Director of Your Own Career, she calls herself a 'Career Artist.'
"For 25 years I've been designing my own future, creating opportunities for luck to happen, and inventing jobs where none have previously existed," she says.
Her unique career history proves this. She began by creating her own programs at Cornell, from which she received degrees in mechanical engineering, theater, and film studies. After graduation, she headed straight to London and created a job for herself, although she had no relevant experience, at the National Theatre of Great Britain, which is the mother of all theaters, and no place for beginners.
Creating a Big Break in Hollywood
From there, she's done everything from Hollywood movie producing to dot.com design and development, working for companies as diverse as Microsoft, the U.S. Marine Corps, Boston's Museum of Science, Walt Disney Studios and Evite. She also managed to get her Master's in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School, where she was a Center for Public Leadership Fellow, taught a social enterprise leadership study group and served on the Alumni Board of Directors.
Her book is full of relevant tips and advice for becoming gainfully, and satisfyingly employed in just about any field you're passionate about. And Networking by Fives works in any of them. Here's how she used it to crack the Hollywood big boys club.
After two years in London, Goldstein decided she'd give herself six weeks to "make it" in Hollywood, and bought a round-trip ticket. When she arrived, she crashed on a friend's couch and, resume in hand, made an appointment to see the only person she knew in the entertainment industry. While in the office for her appointment, she struck up a conversation with another guy who was also waiting. Goldstein advises chatting with anyone, anywhere, anytime. When he asked for her resume, she was prepared to oblige.
A Call From Steven Spielberg's Office
Imagine her surprise when, a few days later, she received a call to come in for an interview in Steven Spielberg's office! Seems the guy she'd given her resume knew an executive with Spielberg's production company, and this executive was looking for an assistant. Goldstein's recently made contact made the connection.
But Goldstein didn't get the job. It was all about reading scripts and writing summaries, or "coverage," and, after trying it out for one night, Goldstein decided that wasn't for her. In her second meeting with the executive, Goldstein decided she would be better off if she made the executive her friend rather than her boss, and asked her for brief introductions to five of her colleagues. She then met with each of them for five minutes (she didn't want to be burdensome), and asked them each for five more contacts.
After five weeks in Hollywood, she'd met with 54 people. Then one day she received a call from Disney telling her that they needed a prominent director's assistant for a film they were shooting, and 11 people in town had independently recommended her for the position and submitted her resume. She got the job the second she walked in the door.
Goldstein stresses several important points about Networking by Fives, whether you're trying to get a job in health care, high tech or any other industry:
1. When calling to make an appointment, just ask for a five-minute meeting. Almost anyone can spare that.
3. Just listen.
"The funny thing is that by being a good listener and letting people talk about themselves, they end up thinking that you're wonderful," she says. "By showing genuine interest in them without asking for anything in return, you are giving them the affirmation that all humans need. And because of this, they will take an interest in you."
Goldstein also advises not to get discouraged if all your contacts aren't willing to meet with you. Concentrate on the ones who will, knowing that those who don't have the time or inclination for a meeting would not be on the same page anyway.
"Networking by Fives can be a blast," says Goldstein. "Even if you consider yourself shy, this simple technique can put you in front of people who can be of great help to you, in an environment where you can talk about things you're passionate about."
You can find out more about Goldstein and Networking by Fives in the video below, in her book, or at her website, carryapaintbrush.com.
Next: What Job Will Bring You The Most Success? Your Contribution Style Will Tell by Susanne Goldstein
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