Written by Julia Stier
Ah, closing night. Curtains close, cords are recoiled, and the time comes to say good-bye. Working on a show introduces you to a whole host of talented artists – actors, directors, playwrights, designers – and these are (hopefully) people you will want to stay in contact with, either as friends or as future collaborators. But once you no longer meet each day in rehearsal, it can be hard to know how or when to reach out. Here’s some simple ways to keep the connection alive.
Maintain a Contact List
The most basic step in maintaining industry relationships is to keep a thorough contact list. An easy and free way to do this is to start up an Excel doc, with columns labeled NAME, EMAIL, PHONE NUMBER, ADDRESS, and NOTES. In the “notes” section, jot down what project you worked on with this person, how you met, or a fun fact about them!
Add to this list every time you’re in a show. You never know who you’ll need to get in contact with! However, privacy is very important, so out of respect to your fellow artists, never give out their contact info without permission.
Thank You Cards
Courtesy counts a lot in this business, as well as giving credit where credit is due. A great way to show gratitude to your fellow artists is with hand-written thank you cards on closing night. Try to find something specific to thank them or praise them for. Be personal and genuine – the extra effort will be remembered. Slip a business card inside of the notes to make it easy for people to keep in touch.
Support Others’ Work
Continue the conversation by seeing your colleagues’ latest work! Keep tabs on when the people you’ve worked with have a new show opening. Attending gives you an excuse to reach out again, and to show that you believe in their artistry!
The Los Angeles theatre community is a tight-knit one. Immerse yourself in it. Supporting the work of others allows you to network in a genuine way, and may help you create a support system to boot. Anytime you see a show, follow up with a congratulatory email.
You can also create an account on onStage.la to stay up-to-date with the artists and companies you love!
Engage on Social Media
Let your colleagues in on your successes with a weekly post. It’s an easy, simple way to give them a peek into your life (and to remind them that you’re still around!).
Also, almost every theatre company will promote their stuff online. A great way to stay connected is to engage with (and share) their posts!
If someone you worked with gave you advice that led to another job, let them know! Send an email thanking them for their contribution to your success.
Offer a Service
Everyone could use a helping hand. A great way to stay in contact with someone is to offer your assistance. Volunteer to work the concessions bar, pass out programs, or maybe even help out with social media. The simple act of helping shows a commitment to the person and their work. It’s a great way to network without coming off as needy.
Be a Connector
It’s simple – people like people who help them find opportunities. Guess what? Directors need playwrights, who need actors, who need designers, so introduce your network to each other!
Artists are always looking for others to collaborate with, and if you become known as the person who connects people, you’ll always be kept in the loop.
And if you help someone land a new job (especially a paid one!) chances are they’ll think of you when you’re right for something down the line.
Speaking of networking…
Join us Saturday, October 12th for Connect and Collab: Building community amongst Directors, Playwrights, Dramaturgs, and Literary Managers. Admission is $5, click here to register today!