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"They say it's all about whom you know. Here's how to know them."

Paul Buscemi's Column for Monday June 18, 2001. Buscemiarts@hotmail.com

We've all heard that old axiom: it's not what you know; it's WHO you know. This is certainly true for the entertainment industry. Don't get me wrong - there is no substitute for knowing your craft. However, that alone, is not enough. You need a strong base of industry relationships to launch your career and keep it thriving. Building on existing industry relationships and creating new ones has been a large part of my work this year. For the past three weeks I have been attending a relationship building class through the Flash Forward Institute (www.flashforward.com). It is a five-week course that teaches one, not how to network - in traditional terms - but rather, how to build relationships. I wanted to share with you just some of the concepts and skills this class has focused on.


When making new business relationships, the course has stressed getting to know people for WHOM they are, not what they can do for your career. One of the ways to do this is by researching the person before you meet with them. Research their credits AND their interests outside of work. You want to find something in common with them, if possible. If they have an assistant, get to know that person as well. Assistants are a great source of information about their bosses. They have very difficult jobs and are not always acknowledged for their hard work. Treat them with respect. Let them know you appreciate their efforts on your behalf and be sincere.


Mystified lately by how others act when you meet them? Maybe you need to examine how you present yourself and how others perceive you. Focus on your image by creating a statement (for yourself) that defines who you are. In Flash Forward, this is called a declaration. This is not a list of skills. This is WHO you are and what makes you tick. There is an element of sanctity here. It is also a declaration of who you are to all people - not just industry folk. Give it some deep thought. Personally I suggest not using the word "passion" in your declaration. That phrase is so over used in this business. For me, I'm passionate about using words other than, passion to describe my passion.


Sometimes we are meeting someone so out of our league, our tongue becomes this brick in our mouth and shoes suddenly stick to the floor. You know, we can choose how we want to present ourselves to the world. If we take the time to do some soul searching and really think about who we are and what we represent, then we have done the groundwork for our own ?self-presentation.' Sometimes you still might feel unease with a new meeting. If this happens try telling the other person how you're feeling. It can be very freeing and the discomfort may even disappear.


It is time to give those relationship muscles a workout. First, make sure your clear on the following:

1. Your own declaration.
2. Have given great thought as to who you are.
3. Have researched those you want to meet.

Go meet somebody. Anybody! Practice your relationship building skills with them. Consider this a dress rehearsal. The more run-throughs you practice, the better the actual performance will be.

c. 2001 pdb.


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