Ahhh….my TAN peeps,
We hope you had a tremendous Holiday weekend…
We are cruising into a crazy month…trust me on that.
No matter what our contract negotiations lead to…the reality is after the writer’s strike there are a lot of productions finding themselves behind …and now if there is any real hint there would be even a brief strike…many many shows will be pushing. Additionally, there was the typical 6-week dead spot in the Commercial world but it has rebounded with a vengeance and that industry will be looking to ensure they get all of their Fall spots cast and inked before any strike.
Now what does this all have to do with the subject line of this email…
Well, as it is with The Actors’ Network, we’re looking for you to alter how you look at things…which when you do in life…you HEAR differently.
Remember, The Actors’ Network, was the first (back when there was like 14 of us) and still ONLY organization with an on-going Guest Speaker series. No one else offers 6-10 industry speakers per month…every month of the year…for the last 17.
Now, that means a lot of people over the years, and a lot of varied members…including you. Every one is looking for something different and yet something similar regarding their career. With this the fact remains…there are no right or wrong guests…but there certainly are folks in this profession who are not necessarily in it for the same reasons as everyone else.
It is imperative that you find the value in all types of people that you hear speak at TAN. If every guest was at the top of this industry…it would be cool, but you would feel that they’re all out of reach. Additionally, if they were all just receptionists or assistants…you may feel that they would not have any leverage in their position yet.
The bottom line is gang…that all of the guests we have come in…have a perspective. You gotta take advantage of the Q&A time…so as to not ask that same ole questions…in the same ole way. In order to extract a gem, a little morsel, just a wrinkle more out of them that many won’t even notice, requires you to really ponder some good questions. Remember the more you can get a similar answer with a slight level of clarity or qualification, then the more you know about them, how they think and work…the better off you are.
If you do not begin to discern and learn how to discern a goofball from a legit person, or be able to see through someone’s thinly veiled line of BS…then you’re not using TAN at its fullest. I have found that a lot of our community is uncomfortable being out in many great networking opportunities because they’re unsure of conversing with “other people” in Hollywood besides actors. Anyone can see an obvious goof and an obivous expert, but I’m talking about the subtle truth.
We WANT you to spend a little more time creating great questions. Push your mind….because just a word or two in a question …can make all of the difference. And when you encounter someone, be it at TAN or otherwise, who clearly is at a certain level…or is great…or is a goofball…don’t be bothered by it. You’ve just been given the gift of eyesight, and the more you seek out where people are really coming from the more you’ll get from them
Sometimes the most valuable thing you need to hear…is not what you thought you needed to hear, nor what you were expecting…but if you stay so subconsciously LOCKED in to what you think THEY are saying…or are going to say…then you’ll never alter how you talk, what you say, or more importantly what you ASK them…and you certainly will not hear a difference in any answer. And at the end of the day, it is the little subtle differences in individuals (especially in a subjective profession) that makes all of the “likeability” difference in the world to you.
So when you come to guests with us…remember this…THEY came by choice for free, but you need to challenge yourself…and challenge them by asking the most intelligent and specific questions you can…so that you just don’t “phone it in” and get the same results. In any Q&A process, there are little gems to be heard, and found, if you’re asking the right questions with the proper alignment of words and then hearing what the answer is…as well as the answer between the lines.
We encourage you to take advantage of our TIP program…and as often as you can, refer folks out there to speak at TAN. We have a tremendous long list of great Guests in our history and you never know how proud someone will be to join that list and history. When you finally sit down to hear them, whether you know who they are or even if you referred them yourself, that you gotta start to hear guests, assess them differently. When hearing differently becomes normal, you will begin to extract more subtle info…be it good or not so good…and you will have a finely tuned skill of great value.
Have a great “short week.”
My best always,
Kevin E. West