DOs and DON’Ts During the Industry Shutdown
While the industry remains shut down and it feels like we’re stuck in an infinite time loop a la Lonely Island’s new Hulu movie Palm Springs, I’ve received questions about outreach/marketing/general business etiquette, and wanted to address a few of them here.
Bottom line: There are still (always) things you can do to drive your business, but make it a priority to maintain your sanity during these crazy times. Tackling the industry once it’s fully up and running will be a lot easier if you’re healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally!
Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to keep in mind during the shutdown:
Send snail mail
Most people aren’t in the office to receive it. If you have something to share, do it via social media or email.
Unplug if you need a break from the internet
This one seems self-explanatory. The news is bleak. I’m all for being an informed citizen, but know that it’s ok (and probably even necessary) to give yourself a break and recharge before hopping back in to stay up-to-date with this week’s developments.
Beyond staying in communication with close friends and family, don’t be afraid to send out an e-newsletter to your business network to share an update. It could be career-related, but it doesn’t have to be. One tip I share with my clients is to keep a running Google doc of shareable announcements throughout the year. It can be hard to come up with this kind of stuff on the spot. Besides being an easy resource once it’s time to send out that bi-annual email blast, it’s also encouraging to look back and realize you have more exciting, newsworthy material than you thought. Jot them down as they happen- you’ll find more good things happen to you than you can think of at any given moment!Topics that are a great excuse to reach out to your business (or non-business) contacts:
- Upcoming Zoom table read
- VO/commercial booking
- Film bookings! Some are being (re-)written so actors can tape in their homes on their phone, so they’re still happening!
- Whatever video you last posted to social media (“just wanted to share!”)
- Pandemic survival tips
- Materials to support and encourage activism on social causes
Engage on social media
Staying on the topic of keeping in touch, social media usage is up more than ever. It’s a great time to stalk some IG profiles and learn about what people you want to connect with value and respond to. Go ahead - respond to some IG stories and slide into some DMs. If they don’t follow you back (or even if they do), you might not get a response, but what’s the loss? There’s only the potential upside of forming a new relationship.
Note: not everyone is on every format of social media, so if there’s someone you’re dying to connect with, search them on multiple platforms.
The most effective outreach happens when you make it about the other person. Even though pretty much nothing’s been filming over the past few months, people still have projects filmed a while ago that are airing for the first time.
“How do I find out if someone has a project airing for the first time?”
Refer to the above section - the producers, writers, and directors are probably excitedly posting and reposting about it all over their socials.
Also, Emmy Award nominations came out July 28th. Did your industry contacts work on any of the nominated shows? Either way, congratulating someone on such an exciting career achievement is a great icebreaker and excuse to reach out to any producers/writers/CDs/directors/showrunners you’ve been wanting to e-meet!
Continue to engage with people who were awful humans before the lockdown
The quarantine didn’t magically transform them into enlightened, compassionate beings. Assuming they don't live with you, what an amazing opportunity to purge any unhealthy relationships!
Collaborate on a new project
There’s never been a better time to finally start or finish that project you’ve had on the backburner. Since people have time now, reach out to someone you’ve been wanting to collaborate with. Taking on a partner and setting project goals as a team is also a good way to hold each other accountable.
Take care of yourself!
If any of this seems overwhelming, that’s totally ok. This list is meant to spur activity for anyone spinning their wheels thinking of ways to be productive with their downtime. However, it’s completely understandable to need more time than usual to unplug and unwind. Some days we have more energy than others. Do what you need to do to take care of you. On some (or, let’s be honest, most) days, that might mean not doing very much at all. And that’s absolutely perfect.
-- Coach Melody