No this is not a Blog about your Facebook page or how many friends you have. It is, however, about the concept of the degrees of separation we laughingly fool around with in terms of Kevin Bacon and how we often view our “place” within our given location and being important to that domain based on “who we claim to know.” A lot of times folks like to take me the “wrong way” because it pleases them to do so.But my goal is never about being negative it is always about perspective, success and efficiency so please stay focused on that. Certainly we want to always “track” those with whom we work, audition, socialize and encounter because the BIZ of show business is very subjective, it isn’t math, and the “being likeable” concept does come into play…in terms of opportunity. Sometimes folks literally get hired in this business because they’re marginally talented but the folks in charge simply “like having them on their set or stage.” It is true, ask anyone who has ever cast or produced anything, and they’ll ALWAYS be at least one actor who isn’t exceptionally talent that got a job because they’re enjoyable to have “on the team.”
One of the mistakes that I made early into my time in Hollywood was “mistaking” a degree of friendly or a moment of commonality for “being a friend.” And yes, it is still a HUGE factor today in Hollywood, in your town and it always will be. I would even tell you that in smaller cities and marketplaces all over the world that it is even MORE important to handle this properly the smaller the town because ultimately there are less folks to meet but also less folks to mess up this scenario. Begin this coming year to practice using some of these phrases: “Yeah, I’ve met them. Yeah, I’ve hung out with them with my pal so and so. Oh yeah, I know who they are. Oh hey, yeah, great to see ya…you’re friends with so and so. (and my favorite) Yes, I am acquainted with them on a casual professional level.”
I say all of this because when we suddenly decide, inside of our minds, that because a decent friend of ours took us to a party and we met someone who then introduced us to a third level…and we had some laughs or even a poignant conversation…it does NOT make your “friends” with them. My reason for saying this is that IF those people or that person “could be” of value to you in your career going forward then it is a large mistake to try and function or believe from one meeting or encounter that THEY would see you as part of their “inner circle.” Trust me, when someone “above you” in the business wants to invite you into their inner circle you’ll know it. If they don’t it isn’t a bad thing at all it just means that they’re a “new connection” that I simply define as a Professional Acquaintance.
Then what you want is for them to eventually become a Professional Association and perhaps one day even a Professional Friend…but a true friend would typically take much longer. Also be VERY careful about “connecting” with friends of friends of friends who are mutual professionals in the industry if you meet them in a “tough time or tough moment” of their lives. We are people and it is human nature to reach out to someone who likely “looks up to us” and seek solace there when times are tough. ALL successful people have “tough times and rough spots.” But if you’re a new or young actor and you happen to encounter this scenario…I URGE you to remain fun, casual, conversational and distant from getting too close on those first few encounters. Sure it makes us feel needed and wanted and close…but in the end…when “this tough time passes” they’ll likely discard you because you’re not truly their friend yet.
In the end, value the connections you make via friends of friends of friends…but keep your real association in perspective…especially when it comes to folks who are at present “above you” in the business or in an element of it that pertains to YOU wanting them…to eventually “consider” you. At the end of the day, or more notably over months and years, you’ll be glad you did.
Always on your side, @TheKevinE