I find it so interesting to track certain “landmark days” in my life. Y’know the days, right? When you look back at major positive shifts, you are able to trace them to a common event or a certain group of people? Well, for me, the event took place on a Sunday morning in September of 2005. Breakdown Services’ owner Gary Marsh had invited me to participate in a panel discussion at the Los Angeles Short Film Festival, specifically to address the transition new filmmakers need to make — eventually — from casting their own projects to hiring casting directors to do the heavy lifting in that department.

I had been casting for not quite three years at that point, but I had interviewed a couple hundred casting directors for Backstage of course. Doing panel discussions like this one was already common for me, and I always enjoy spending time with the Actors Access folks, talking shop.

Well, as I look at the dozens of casting gigs I’ve had in the years since that early Sunday morning, I realize I can trace nearly a third of them to people who sat in the audience for that panel discussion. And considering there were only about 50 people there (it was an early Sunday morning panel, after all), that’s pretty dang cool. (Certainly makes me happy I hauled my butt across town and gave it my all, even for that small audience.)

Even if you don’t have a particular day in your life like that — to which you can trace a ton of your work — I’d like to encourage you to do something truly powerful, and that’s track your repeat business. If you don’t maintain a Show Bible for your career, this would be a great reason to start one. Draw the lines between the gigs you got a few years ago and the gigs you’re getting today. That little student film you did? Did you notice that the DP became a producer and has since hired you for a low-budget indie? And how about the line producer on that project? Remember getting called in — without even having submitted on the breakdown — for the spec pilot he did for Comedy Central?

Mapping out these relationships and where they’ve lapped back around over the years is incredibly powerful. Even if you only have a few dots to connect right now, you’ll begin to see patterns that show you where to spend your energy, where to invest your time when networking events are going on all over the place and you have to choose between several (you go to the one where your “repeat business” folks will be).

I’m all about finding the shortest distance between you and the money you want to earn in this business. Often, your ability to track the work you’ve already had gives you a leg up on predicting where the next gig will originate. Nurture the relationships that are already paying off, and watch the opportunities start springing from your connection to other people on those same sets.

People love working with people they enjoy spending time with; that’s the bottom line. Think about the dots you have connected throughout your career. You are more powerful than you may know! So, when you’re wondering where the next job is going to come from, take a look at the jobs you’ve already had. Connect the dots between them and get back on the radar of your repeat customers. They will probably be thrilled to reconnect, if it’s been a while. And if it was just yesterday that you interacted? Good job! Keep it flowin’!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001339.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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