Monday, December 14, 2015

5 Industry Networking Tips by Actor ALEXANDER RAIN

Wendy Alane Wright is a Hollywood Talent Manager with WAW Entertainment. Her clients have appeared in numerous national commercials, movies, webisodes, short films, and on television networks such as ABC, NBC, Comedy Central, BIO, Lifetime, plus many more. Wendy clients have booked TV shows including MODERN FAMILY, BLACKISH, EXTANT, THE COLONY, MY HAUNTED HOUSE, and HENRY DANGER, as well as hundreds of Commercials for major spots including Shutterfly, Mercedes, Visa, Taco Bell, Honda, Legos, Hot Wheels and many more. Previous to being a Manager and a Talent Agent at Burn Down Entertainment, she assisted many high profile Managers, Agents and Publicists in the careers of Neil Patrick Harris, Johnny Galecki, Sarah Michelle Geller, The Four Tops, The Bee Gees, Meatloaf, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Guttenberg, The Cranberries Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, and Neil Diamond. Wendy is also a Recording Artist, Actress, Author and Music Producer all  giving her a 360-degree perspective of the industry.

HEY FOLKS! TODAY I HAVE A GUEST BLOGGER JOINING ME:) HIS NAME IS ACTOR ALEXANDER RAIN. I am so impressed with Alex's resourcefulness and professionalism. The other day we were talking about his career. He was telling me all of the things he has been doing to develop relationships with casting directors, writers and producers. These techniques have really been paying off and leading to great opportunities for him. I asked him to write 5 Industry Networking Tips he could share with my "Secrets Of A Hollywood Talent Manager" Blog readers and 1/2 million viewers. Here is his amazing contribution. Thanks Alexander!

    A L E X A N D E R   R A I N
5   I N D U S T R Y   N E T W O R K I N G   T I P S

Have you ever heard of the term, “You'll never know if you don't ask?" One of the biggest struggles I had to overcome as an actor was my shyness. As a child I was very timid, always hiding behind my mum’s skirt. It wasn’t until my second grade teacher, Mrs. Rhon, who I’ll never forget, assigned our class an assignment. We were to pick our own plays and perform them in front of the entire school, but it was all on us. As per usual, no one was picking the shy kid in the corner and it was in that moment that I took it upon myself to walk over to the play books where I pulled out a cute story about barnyard animals who ate the farmer’s wife's birthday cake and in their distress, attempt to bake a new one. My next move, honestly shocked me. I simply walked up to a few students in class and asked if they had a group yet and if they wanted to be in this play with me. To my surprise, they all said yes! It was with that simple action that I realized people were actually interested in me and would give me what I asked for if I simply just asked. Adults work a little differently obviously, especially in Hollywood, but the same basic principals apply. I have grown my industry address book exponentially over the years which has led to more castings, more bookings, more referrals, more meetings and more friendships. 

T I P   1 :   U H . . .   D O   I   K N O W  Y O U ?
            My first tip, I like to refer to as “The Social Media Trap.” How do you react when a stranger blindly approaches you on social media? It’s a little off putting, right? If you want to make new industry contacts you have to start getting out there in the real world. Make time in your calendar to go to event parties, screenings, acting classes, casting director workshops, even birthday parties and other non-industry related events. These are all great places to actually meet industry professionals IN PERSON. This doesn’t mean to shy away from adding your favorite industry professionals on social media, by all means, ‘like’ their fan pages! If they offer exclusive videos or newsletters, sign up immediately and only comment or respond if what they’ve posted actually interests or triggers a light bulb in your head. Do your research by looking at their social media profiles along with IMDBPro credits and at their websites. Watch the projects they are working on. Take note of the personal things they post on social media and share their content. Ask the people you already know if they've heard of them. Slowly building a relationship in moderation is key and people are more likely to respond to your social media friend requests, comments, tweets and private messages if they begin to recognize your face. 

T I P   2 :   T E L L   M E   A B O U T   Y O U 
I personally hate when I hear that. Me, I'm a little shy and my private life I like to keep on the down low. If I wanted you to know all about me I would be a reality star but I'm an actor, therefore, I would rather you get to know me over time. When it comes to meeting a casting director, agent, manager or maybe even another actor that you are interested in connecting with, stay away from “Me, Me Me, I, I, I!” Never start off by asking for anything or talking about yourself straight away. Honestly that’s very rude. Be more interested in them and what they have to say and listen. LISTEN. LISTEN. LISTEN! You will make great industry contacts by taking an interest in their day. Make it personal for them rather than for me. Ask how they are and how their day has been. "What did you do today? Oh, you had lunch at Simplethings! That's my favorite place. I always order the roasted chicken salad and the mini banana cream pie! What do you order?!" Turn the conversation back around to them while only giving away a small piece of information about you. Keep them guessing! We all know how to have a conversation. A meeting with an industry professional should be no different. It's not a job interview! Hollywood is fun and again, people want to work with fun people that they like who also happen to be very talented, which you are! They will find that out while you find common ground and bond over silly thinks like your favorite hiking spot, your dogs and even favorite restaurants. Don't force a connection. It takes time and be considerate of their time and recognize how busy that person you're trying to connect with actually is. 

T I P   3 :   I   A M   F R I E N D S  W I T H . . . 
We all have that one friend in Hollywood who seems to know every celebrity, every agent, every manager, every casting director, every director... But do they really? And why are they throwing out these names to you so freely? Why is it relevant? Most times I find that it's not and that whoever I'm talking to is simply trying to "impress" or "one up" me. And more importantly they don't actually know that person. In honestly, it doesn't matter. Don't be a name dropper, especially when meeting an industry professional. It's great that you have contacts and are maybe even good friends with a certain celebrity. But discretion goes a long, long way! Unless you are in fact having a conversation with an individual who actually needs to know that you have a friendship with a celebrity, keep it to yourself. It's just not professional to be a name dropper. Instead, have a list of your industry contacts with the directors, agents, managers and casting directors that you do know and only share that list when meeting with an agent or manager for representation. They will also know if you're lying. Don't lie. Never lie. This shows your professional discretion and that you are actually doing the work to become a real Hollywood actor and that you're not getting swept up in the glitz and glam of Hollywood celebrities. After all, these people are going to become your co-workers and as actors, we have to give a huge amount of trust while working together on set. Your agents and managers need to know that you're not going to "fan boy" out when meeting a celebrity or that you're going to run around town bragging. Keep it classy.

T I P  4 :  I T ' S   B E E N   A   W H I L E  
You've done the work. You've gone to the social events. You've mingled. You've put in the social media hours. But now what? Staying connected I've found is where most actors fail. This is where your list of industry contacts pays off to your benefit. Before we get into staying in contact, let me just drop a few tips on how to get the contacts to begin with. Most people don't have business cards anymore, so once you make that personal connection, it's okay to simply ask for their email address or to be friends on a social media profile. ALWAYS, follow up with a simple email or direct private message in the first 24-72 hours. Simply say how nice it was to meet them and that you look forward to getting to know them in the future. Again, this is not the time to ask for anything. Remember, you have to put in the time and build a relationship first. A rule of thumb is to have had 3 social encounters, be it in person or online, before asking for anything. 

Personally I like to send out a random message to a contact once a month or even every other month. Make it personal and share your success stories that you have had since your last correspondence. If they played any part in that success, tell them about it! I always share my success stories with the people that helped me achieve it even if they had no idea that they have. Also share your failures and hard times. It makes you more human when you share that a family member is sick, or that your dog has died or maybe you're just struggling with why you didn't book a gig you thought you were perfect for! Our industry contacts want to see us succeed and to see the human side of us good and bad. One last tip, always send your emails on Sunday evenings/nights. It's Sunday, most people are at home preparing for that dreaded Monday morning. For example, I sent an email to an industry contact on a Sunday night and I received a response in less than 5min! Trust me, Sunday nights are where it's at! 

T I P   5 :   I  C A N ' T   H E L P   Y O U
You've put in all the work and you've finally built that relationship with an industry professional. They like you, you like them and you feel it's time to ask a question or maybe for a favor. So you simply ask. Remember, "You'll never know if you don't ask." No one likes to be rejected but the sad reality is, as actors, we hear "no" more than anyone! The best way to handle rejection is to remain positive. Never take a "no" personally. It doesn't mean that you somehow failed in your attempt to connect or that you're even a bad actor. It simply means that you're not ready. I have found that "no" in Hollywood doesn't actually mean "no." It means "not right now." Maybe you're just simply not ready for what it is that you've asked for and that's okay! Hearing "no" is a good thing. It simply means that you're putting in the work, you're making progress and you're still learning and it's time to better yourself and go back to your actor tool box. Always keep in contact even if someone has rejected you. "No" is not indefinite. It's simply means "not today." Keep commenting and sharing your success with the people that have told you "no." One day, they might just say "yes!"

I want to share a story with you before I go. Someone once said to me, "...from the outside looking in I would have never of guessed that you struggle with anything in life." 

Wow! What a statement that blew my mind! Of course I struggle! I can say that the only reason this person thought that was because I keep a very positive attitude. I have bad days sometimes but I always count my blessings and people recognize that. Honestly, all of my tips can be taken with the grain of salt, as does every piece of advice you obtain in Hollywood. The best advice I can ever give an actor for networking is that you have to just do it. Go out and meet people. You have to put yourself out there in order to be seen and heard. Always remember to stay humble, be nice, friendly and confident. Don't be arrogant or entitled and always stay away from "me, me, me, I, I, i". Be fretful for the opportunities you do receive and always say "thank you."

ALEXANDER: Hi (Directors Name anonymous)! I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving! I was actually wondering if I may ask you a question? I've created a TV show (lot of time and effort put into this story and the characters) and was wondering if you would take a look at the first episode or 2 for me? At your convenience of course. I would just like a professionals opinion as its a supernatural show and I feel it is up your ally.

TV/MOVIE DIRECTOR: Hey, thanks for thinking of me. Sure, send it over as a PDF and I'll put it in my "to read" folder.

ALEXANDER: Thank you again for the phone call, (name). I look forward to hearing back from you, you're such a joy and so full of knowledge. I learned so much just from our conversation haha.

To sum it up, be genuine. These techniques simply work for me and I hope they do for you too! - Alexander Rain


He recently booked the new LEE DANIEL Pilot (EMPIRE) shooting in January 2016.
Alexander Rain was born on December 18, 1988, in the large northeast Hampshire town Basingstoke, in south central England. His father was on the American Air Force promoting Xander to be raised in Glenwood Springs, Colorado where he took his first step toward acting at the age of seven. Singing and acting lessons soon led to stage performances in "Les Misérables", "Rent", "Hairspray" and the cult classic, "The Rocky Horror Show".

In 2008, Xander relocated to Los Angeles where he began his modeling career appearing along side The Used in Alternative Press Magazine. Independent films soon followed, including Darren Stein's "G.B.F." (2013), Jack Henry Robbins "Opening Night" (2014) and James Franco's "Memoria" (2014). He appeared in a scene along side Kristy Swanson in the Lifetime TV movie, "Merry ExMas".

He has also been busy with castings! Alexander shot a fashion print ad for local LA brand Proverse, had an editorial photo shoot, played the ex-boyfriend to an indie artist in his first music video, filmed a romantic film about two sisters who fall in love with their next door neighbors, two brothers, set in 1969.  He is recording his first single for a New Year's Eve promo this week and has a table read for his next film - a thriller about an accidental murder. My film "The Moment I Was Alone" which was accepted at the Carmel Screen Festival!

He has also been keeping active in short films such as "Police State", "THEM" and most recently the syfy thriller, "The Door Best Left Shut". He recently booked the new LEE DANIEL Pilot (EMPIRE) shooting in January 2016.

He is repped by Impression Entertainment Group for Runway Modeling and WAW Entertainment in LA for Theatrical and Commercial.


A L E X A N D E R   R A I N
Actor . Model . Screen Writer 

I.E.G.   I M P R E S S I O N S   E N T E R T A I N M E N T   G R O U P
Commercial Rep:

Runway Rep:

2034 Cotner Avenue, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90025  
Phone: 310.473.4200

 I hope you enjoyed the article. We have more guest bloggers to come with great tips!
Keep coming back.
Wendy Alane Wright
Talent Manager

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