Yesterday I covered what an industry party actually is. Today, I’ll assume you made your way in the door. Now you’re looking around the room asking yourself, who the hell are these people? Don’t be ashamed. After seven years in the music/media/entertainment business, I still ask myself that every time I walk into an event.
Truth is, most people at events don’t know more than a handful of folks. And the ones who do seem to know everyone, well, that’s not always the sign of a winner. That’s just the sign of someone who goes out too much.
In my experience, you’re going to meet different types of folks at every event you go to. They will most likely be one of the following:
1) The Networking Jerk– I borrow this term from the book Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi. This is the type of person who talks to you with their eyes darting around the room, looking for the next important person to introduce themselves to. They’ve always got their blackberry out, pretending to send important emails (nobody’s sending important email in a club, particularly mid-conversation), then they’re handing you their business card before doing their 1, 2 step like Ciara on to the next person. This jerk will leave the event with 100 new contacts, and will most likely never get a return phone call or email from any of them. Think of this person as the email address that keeps spamming you with MP3’s and invitations to an event you wouldn’t attend even if your own mother was being buried at it. I’m not saying you should ignore them, just don’t let it be you!
2) The Industry Chick– this is pretty self explanatory. These are chicks who work in the business. They’re typically attractive, dressed cute, with a nice smile and a “happy to meet you” attitude. Industry chicks are bubbly bastions of beauty, and they know everyone! If you get in good with them, you’re home free. They will introduce you to all their pals. Just give them the rhythm they give you. If it looks like the chick’s trying to make it more than a casual thing, then take it where it needs to go. You remember how Tom Cruise lucked up with that broad in Cocktail, right? That could be you. Just don’t brag about it. This is a small business and word spreads quickly.
3) The Do Nothing Guy- this person is sort of an oxymoron. In fact, it’s not that he does nothing, it’s that he does everything. He’s the 30 year old guy who started out in the business as a rapper, then became a manager, then an A&R, then wound up in marketing. Now he runs his own company called Get Bucks Entertainment (or something equally as silly), which is sort of a multi-tiered company with artists, producers, recording studio, marketing company and event production all in one. Not one of these ventures yields income, so that’s why he’s at this event, handing out free Vista Print business cards, in hopes of landing a client. Hey, a sucker’s born every minute!
4) The Aspriring Artist– *sigh* It’s not that you don’t want to talk to artists, it’s just that they rarely approach in a respectable way. Instead, they try to shove mixtapes in your pockets. That said, some aspiring artists are great to talk to. In five or ten minutes, if you’re asking the right questions, you can get their whole story and the reason why they do what they do. A lot of times artists who are “on their grind” wear their hearts on their sleeves, and for industry folks- generally a pretty jaded bunch- it can be rather inspiring to see the fire in their eyes, to see the passion with which they’re selling themselves, and to feel the energy they’re expending just trying to get in the game. This is not just limited to rappers or singers. It can be anyone trying to make it in entertainment. When it’s coming from an organic place, their energy can be very contagious. Embrace those moments.
5) The Employee- what, you thought everyone at this event was going to be LA Reid status? Get real, there are regular people who work in the industry too. It’s an industry like any other, filled with accountants, HR folks, plain jane sales and marketing people, tech support… etc. Don’t believe that everyone in real life wants to get rich or die trying. There are people in this game with real jobs, who go to work 9 to 5 (ok, more like 10 to 6), have significant others and families. They just want to let loose, shoot the shit with their coworkers and grab a few drinks at an open bar. They’re not looking to network or connect or really do anything other than chill the f*%k out. Because of this, they are some of the best people to party with. When in their company, just relax and let the good times roll.
Part 3 “How Do I Act?” coming tomorrow!!!