Yesterday I sat down for a meeting with an aspiring playwright. These are the meetings that I love the most, because the level of passion someone starting out has is something that really can't be matched. As is often the case with new playwrights, we talked about the hope of having the play produced and the steps to make that happen. It occurred to me while I was chatting with this individual about possible avenues to move his piece forward, that there was a very specific lesson about networking that I haven't really been able to articulate until now. And of course...
I'm going to use a metaphor.
Your career in the arts is a glass that is half full of water. The water represents what you have currently. It could be money, talent, your own space, etc. Right now, each of those things is limited in some way. There are people that you cannot reach, there are things you cannot afford, there a spaces you cannot rent. So you have just enough water to reach the half way mark on your glass.
So what if I told you that in order to be a success, you had to have the glass overflow
You cannot add any more water?
How do you make this work? Come on, Science people.
The explanation's here.
Pretty cool right?
Back to the metaphor. The artists who you meet and work with every day give you the pebbles. Every person has something to offer that will help you and you have something to offer them, so if you take the time to get to know more people doing the same thing as you, and you work together to help each other reach your goals, your each metaphorically dropping pebbles into each others' glasses. That means eventually both of you will make the water rise.
Now imagine the industry as one giant glass and each of us are pebbles, the more we jump in and help each other, the faster the water will rise and when that happens..
None of us will go thirsty.
So look around and start reaching out to people in your field. Build a tribe and support each other.
I'll see you all at the top of the glass.