Reviving Old Contacts

R.O. writes in:

Love your blog! Please keep posting 🙂

I have a question that I haven’t seen being addressed. Since my situation is a bit specific, I wanted to go ahead and throw it out there.

I got a film degree and “worked” (a.k.a did a bunch of stuff for no pay) for 3 years in NYC until I decided I couldn’t subsist on nothing and got a non-industry job to pay rent. I made a handful of contacts during those 3 years.

Unfortunately, it’s been a very miserable 5 years since I’ve been doing non-film work. I’ve decided to pursue my film dreams full-time again. So, keeping in mind that I haven’t spoken to any of my old contacts since I last worked with them, is there a reasonable expectation that I can reconnect? What is the most tactful means of going about this? Or should I consider those contacts DOA and realize that I will be starting from scratch?

Your contacts may or may not be dead. There’s no way to know until you try and get in touch. All you can do is write an email or call (whichever you’re comfortable with).

Personally, I’d go with email:

Hi, [Name]!

You may not remember me, but we worked together on [show]. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I was wondering if you’d like to meet for lunch/coffee/drinks [or whatever you think works] and catch up?

Let me know what’s a good time for you.

[your name]

No pressure, no asking for jobs, no “networking.” Just catching up. At lunch/coffee/whatever, you can mention you dropped out of the business, and want to get back in. That’s weird thing to include in the email; at that point, it’ll be obvious you’re looking for something, and people don’t respond to begging very well.

Be prepared to not receive any responses, anyway. People get busy, people forget, stuff happens. Don’t be offended; how would you respond to someone for months ago writing you out of the blue?

In the meantime, yes, you should move forward as if all of your contacts are dead, and hope for the best.

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