Category Archives: About Networking

WRITING: On Bravery

Recently, a friend did something that I would never be able to do: she got up on stage and did stand-up comedy for the first time. Not only that, but she did another set only a week later, giving herself no room to retreat if the first didn’t go well.

And of course, she was great. I didn’t see her first performance, but her second was hilarious and unique, standing out from the crowd at its very foundations of tone and performance. Instead of the typical bonding with the audience in a chummy performance that was more about fighting anxiety than anything, my friend used anxiety as a performance, offering awkward silences, tentative readings and scrambling through note cards to double the effectiveness of the jokes. A risky idea that could backfire in a show aimed at showcasing newcomers – and yet it was a roaring success.

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NETWORKING: Keep in Touch

Networking is huge in screenwriting. Who you know can be the thing that launches your career. Chatting idly on Twitter can lead to your first big writing job. It did for me. So, it’s important to always be networking.

There’s a lot written about initiating new professional relationships, but just as absolutely crucial is maintaining them. It’s tempting, when not working on a project with someone, to let them slip out of view. To only get in contact when you have work to talk about. But this ignores a key to networking: that, by keeping in contact, even casually, you have more opportunities to create work with someone.

When someone has a new opportunity come up, pop them a one or two line email to congratulate them. Not because you want something, but to remind them that you are wishing them well. Friends in your field can easily slip out of your mind if you don’t bump into them for a few months, so keep an eye on your friends list every few weeks to see if there’s somebody you should message, just to say hi or grab coffee. Yes, there’s cynical reasons to do this – keeping yourself fresh in their mind in case opportunities come up – but it’s also just a strong way to remind people that they matter. Which isn’t just a networking skill, but a social skill – one that many people often forget about as their busy lives distract them. Don’t be the one who loses people to the sands of time. Keep in touch.