Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Listen MORE & Talk LESS

Acting Tip of the Day:

Listen MORE & Talk LESS.

Talking = Socializing = Networking

Talking is a key element to Networking. However, it's very important that you learn to recognize when you have said enough.

I'm trying to think of the nice way to say this.... and forgive me for being tactless, but I can't tell you how many actors have lost a callback or perhaps even a role because they talk too much. Or how many times an EXTRA leaves set and someone from crew says "Please don't have that person back, they are distractive because they TALK TOO MUCH."

From the Production point of view. You talk alot... you socialize.... you will probably end up costing us money if we put you on set, because you may end up socializing with the crew (instead of them working) or socializing with other actors (when they want to be studying) or you may be talking and miss an important cue. It's just basically disruptive, may cause the scene to run longer than expected, and it's ultimately costly to the production. You may get jobs, but they more than likely won't be ones that have you on set for many days. Some productions think they can "deal" with a big talker for a single day or two. But wouldn't it be nice to just avoid that "big talker" stigma altogether??

So here is a simple tip I offer you in regards to networking functions/events/on set ...

The 5-minute rule.
Meet someone. Talk 5 minutes. Make sure you have let them talk 3 of those 5 minutes. Unless the person is actively asking you genuine questions, then close the conversation and move on. Even when the person is seemingly interested in you and what you have to say, unless the other person keeps the conversation going, you should close the conversation and move on after 10 minutes max. Any amount of time after that you begin creating your negative impressions... so stop while you are ahead!

Remember, if you are at a networking event, people are there to meet lots of people, not just one.

How do you END the conversation? "I've enjoyed meeting you, I am going to let you visit with others, but look forward to seeing you again. "

And if you do see the person again throughout the evening don't ignore them, but give a friendly guesture of some sort and that will help create a positive impression. (That you are a pleasure to be around, talk to, and are respectful of my time)

Yes you may have a very interesting life story to share, but unless we ask, we probably don't have time to hear about it. Even if we ask, keep it short and sweet. When you end an audition, just say THANK YOU. That's all that's necessary. Don't hang around in the waiting room, and don't talk to everyone that's there.

If you attend a class that allows you to ask questions, make a list of your most important key questions and ask those. Don't be a "question hog" but allow everyone else adequate opportunity to ask their questions. And perhaps they will voice one of your concerns. If you have a million questions, space them out over time, don't expect to get them all answered the first time. That can be overwhelming for the teacher as well as the other people who feel that they didn't get their own personal time to ask questions.

I have talked longer than 5 minutes so it's time to end this conversation and move on :)