With hundreds of hours of television in the rearview mirror, you’d imagine that it would get easier for me, this business of promoting myself among my peers. Truth is, it can still be tough.
I’m very big on gentle reminders… the occasional email here or there, a lunch invitation between shows to catch up with those I’m often too busy to connect with in person or those who are hard to connect with unless it’s over a quick bite near wherever they’re working.
Others in the business go big. A successful Executive Producer pal of mine threw a birthday party for herself this weekend at a trendy venue designed to hold about 35 people. Many multiples of that number showed up to pack the little space, invited guests including company owners, network execs, and other busy colleagues who knew it would be a fun opportunity to reconnect with each other as well as wish the birthday gal a great night.
However you choose to stay in touch with colleagues, do it. I moved to the outer edges of Los Angeles last year, so I find it more important than ever to remind people that I’m around, as individual gigs can take me out of social play for months.
There are plenty of ways not to keep in touch. Bulk emails letting people know you’re available for work actually breed resentment much of the time. If you want to let people know you’re available in social media, do it in code. I might announce that I’m “wrapping a project for some really terrific people” and let those I’m connected with put two and two together rather than straight hit them up for work. If there’s something coming up, I’m sure they’ll call.
A personalized (not bulk) email with an updated resume attached is also a nice way to go. Let people know you have an out date coming up and you just wanted to be sure they have an updated version of your resume in case anything’s brewing where they’re working.
No matter how you approach keeping your name in play, don’t just drop in digitally when you need work. Cultivate those relationships. The continuity of your employment depends on it.