I never believed in networking. Hollywood parties, functions, etc. weren’t my thing. I’m kind of an introvert by nature, so meeting new people, smiling because you’re supposed to and hyping myself up have never been my strong suits.
I know people who have mastered the art; they light up a room and can get deals just from bullshitting their way through a pitch. Then, often times the project that was so hyped falls flat because the “hyper” lacks that one fundamental component that cannot be hyped—talent. But, I’ve learned that Hollywood is a people business. Executives and producers often hire people they “like” because as creators we spend LOTS of time with the people we work with. Who would choose to be around someone they don’t like? That brings me to an unusual opportunity that came my way in 2010.
There is a high profile gathering of African American creators that I’ve had the honor of being invited to for the past few years. I remember being intimidated my first year because I knew the names of 90 percent of the people in the room, they were people I had admired from a far for years and was now sharing their space. They were polished and professional, I was insecure. Just as those feelings started to overwhelm me, I started talking to Allen Hughes of the Hughes Brothers who happened to be sitting next to me. We started to talk that first day and ended up speaking consistently over the next three days. When the conference ended I figured that was it, we’d had our time and now it was over, I was wrong. A week later I got a call from Allen who expressed interest in my working with him on a drama pilot he was developing. I jumped at the chance and over the next six months I worked harder and learned more than I had in years. Had I not reached out of my comfort zone that opportunity would have never presented itself.
So, the lesson in my opinion is to network, but do it with focus. Align yourself with people who inspire you, who demand your best effort. “Network” with folks who demand the most of themselves, speak their language and you will find yourself amongst a community of folks with a singular goal – doing great work. Anything else is a waste of time.
Allen and I are still working on the Drama but we did collaborate on the video below. I had never written a music video treatment before, but once I got into it, it was like everything else I had ever written — a story. Hope you like it.
?Dr. Dre ft. Eminem, Skylar Grey – “I Need A Doctor” (2011)