This week's guest blog comes from my dear friend Doug Shapiro. Doug is a career coach with The Savvy Actor who loves helping people and making connections and he has some great advice for you all about networking and mastermind groups. Take it away Doug!
Fellow Roderick follower Doug here, sharing with you a little something I wrote from the set of 30 Rock. A little business lovin’ from me to you for the new year.
Because I take pride in sharing information and opportunities.
But perhaps you’re familiar with the fear that other people are going to steal your information and therefore your opportunities.
“If I let this girl next to me take a look at my audition book, she’s going to steal my songs.”
“If I tell this guy about the great Cartoon Voice Over class I’m taking, he may become better than me.”
I get it.
It’s the New Year, we’re in competitive industries and we’re feeling huge pressure to have that edge. But imagine, my friends, that when you walk into that audition or class or workplace, that you’re not walking into a room packed with rivals, but entering a room filled with supportive colleagues.
Recently, I was listening to a TED Talks podcast “Where Good Ideas Come From” with Steven Berlin Johnson , an author of six books on the intersection of science, technology and personal experience. In this lecture, Johnson challenged the notion that good ideas come from a single person sitting alone in their study having a “Eureka!” moment. Instead, he says, they flourish in a coffee house environment—
“where you have lots of different ideas that are together, different backgrounds, different interests jostling with each other, bouncing off of each other. That environment, is in fact, the environment that leads to innovation.” Johnson calls this fluid exchange of ideas The Liquid Network.
So, fellow Roderick followers, how can we create this liquid network for ourselves? Well, one excellent way is by putting together a mastermind group of your colleagues. I’m on a call with fellow Voice Over artists every two weeks and we discuss industry trends, how to turn non-union work into union work, how to keep ourselves on our agents’ radars, and much more. We voice actors on the call are all in the same field, but have different enough goals and levels of experience to become that crucial “Universal Mind” for one another and offer ideas we would not have discovered sitting by ourselves.
Who would this group be for you? Entrepreneurs? People who practice film copy? Musical Theater women? Off-Broadway Stage Managers? Get in there, LISTEN TO and learn from your colleagues, and help each other achieve your goals!
Time for a bit of practicing what I preach, because when I wrote the first few paragraphs, I was sitting in a room full of fellow actors, working alone on my laptop on an article about exchanging ideas. So, I stepped out to meet a few people and, in the spirit of sharing information, I asked a few of my fellow 30 Rock cohorts to share their best pieces of advice:
Only you can bring to any experience what you can bring. Also, if you want union information, go to the union. – Brendan
Even though there’s some validity to “It’s all about who you know,” most of the time, you’re your own best agent. Have fun with what you do and do your best not to take rejection personally. – Michael
Gain as much experience as you can outside of theatre. As actors, we are capable of gaining experience from ALL things. Also, become curious about everything that happens with the technical side of things. It will give you an appreciation of the technical staff as master artists in their own right. – Colin and Burton
Be nice to others. Put good faith into the world and it will come back to you. – Remy
Do as you would be done by. – Liz
These are only snippets from great conversations I had that day. Had I stayed alone with my iPhone and my e-mail, I would have missed the opportunity to get to know the dedicated artists that were right next to me. Stage Managers, Actors, Gaffers, Orchestra Musicians, Stitchers—none of us would be here if we didn’t share a driving passion to transform people’s life experience through our work, so reach out! Create your liquid network in the 2013.
Help each other and you’ll come up with the next great ideas.
Feel free to visit me at
And at The Savvy Actor