Network Naturally: It’s not who you know but who knows you

A great way to build your platform in the community, locally, nationally, both on & off line is to collaborate on events, shows and productions.

After all it is not who you know but who knows you!

The word Network has the word ‘net’ in it, it is this idea of casting a large net and gently encompassing interesting people towards you and is a far more attractive concept than ‘stalking, bombarding, bambozzling, hassling” and possibly the scariest idea ‘cold-calling’

I am an actress and we are always told to write specific letters eg ‘I know you are casting..’ or ‘i really liked your work on..’ as opposed to ‘I am desperate please, I will act even as a flea for you’. So networking may take a while or indeed years to do in a positive circle building way but the results can be satisfying especially when you can write a letter saying ‘I met you at the show I did with …’ and far more likely to get a response back.
Can you get together & collaborate with fellow actors, singers, artists or painters & put on a joint show?

The advantages of a shared event over a one woman show are:

Sharing of costs from venue hire, posters, rehearsal space and marketing
Sharing of ideas and all the positives from co-creation, make the show better
Sharing of skills from graphic art to event management, people skills. Most creatives are multi-talented and have skills in more than one area.
Sharing of tasks from preparing the venue, hassling press together or the cucumber sandwiches for the after-party!

Enhance each others skills, so a writer, director, choreographer and a choir can make a production or event slicker.
Cross promotion.
Bigger impact on the world in terms of the people you reach.
More interest to the press as if more than one artist, they can often build a story around this.
More likely one of your fellow collaborators has contacts with the press, and another with say directors.
More likely that movers & shakers in your industry will come, whether it’s Saatchi himself or a casting director, the more people & a variety of work to see the more ‘can’t miss this’, the event becomes.
More ticket sales & audience as everyone’s friends & family turn up to support.
A widening of everyone’s network , often work comes from your neighbour’s son or the friend of someone you want to class with, so the more you can naturally build a network the better.

This idea that all creatives are holding daggers at each others throats as they battle to get sales and press is yet another load of bunkum made up by the press & ‘society’ to further stop us creatives from fulfilling their dreams.
Van Gogh painted his famous Sunflower to impress Paul Gaughin, the artist who spent summers with him in Arles, South of France.
‘The Giant’ was a great play Sir Antony Sher wrote with Gregory Doran (RSC) directing about Michaelangelo carving the statue of David, with Leonardo Da Vinci wandering in and out to motivate Michaelangelo as he struggled with his homosexual lust vs his Christian faith. I am not sure how many liberties where taken with the history of these two artistic giants who were around at the same time 500 years ago in Florence but it does demonstrate a great underlying truth in the arts, that we need other artists, as generally only they understand the creative struggle in a way that friends & family often don’t.
Whenever I am doing a play or film, working with a company of actors I always learn great tips of what is happening, what new theatres and shows to look at and where to look for castings. We are all happy to help each other. Any film or TV set ‘Green Room’ is rife with advice, stories and us all taking notes into our iphones.

In the podcast interview I did with Richard Thomas, writer of ‘Jerry Springer the Opera’, ‘Anna Nicole the Opera’, ‘Shoes’ among others, I interviewed at the same time Aletta Collins the choreographer who worked with him on two of the aforementioned projects. They are now both working on the musical version of ‘Made in Dagenham’, I don’t know whether they were booked separately or together but they have obviously developed a short hand way of working well together. Richard Thomas also had worked on Jerry Springer for a long time before bringing in Stewart Lee to hone the final version.

Other examples are Johnny Depp & Tim Burton,there is even a wiki on their collborations from Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd and Dark Shadows, no doubt there are more to come.

Mike Leigh the director is renowned for his collaborative work, I went to see his ex-wife and long time collaborater Alison Steadman speak on acting recently ‘Improvisation is the key to acting’ she said.
Mike Leigh on collaboration and improvisation with his actors
“The world of the characters and their relationships is brought into existence by discussion and a great amount of improvisation – that is, improvising a character. And research into anything and everything that will fill out the authenticity of the character.” It is only after months of rehearsal, or ‘preparing for going out on location to make up a film’, that Leigh writes a shooting script, a bare scenario. Then, on the shoot, on location, after further ‘real rehearsing’, the script is finalised. “I’ll set up an improvisation ,… I’ll analyse and discuss it,… we’ll do another, and I’ll … refine and refine… until the actions and dialogue are totally integrated. Then we shoot it.”

My name is Marysia Trembecka and I am an actress, singer and I blog and podcast on about us all dreaming up, creating and bringing to life our creative visions whether we are writers, painters, directors or dancers.

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