Last Friday’s post garnered this response:
— Michael Sullivan (@redrighthand) June 20, 2014
@redrighthand In my defense, I didn’t mean you should leave it to chance; just that there are other ways to meet writers.
— TAPA (@TheAnonymousPA) June 20, 2014
Michael makes some good points. Sturgeon’s Law applies to people as well as art, I guess. I’ll be honest, part of that post was born out of frustration, and comparing it to similar events I had been to recently.
I’ve gotten more involved with my school’s alumni association, and met some great people. I made friends at the live Scriptnotes event last month. And while there have been many people who just fell off the turnip truck at my TAPA events, A) that’s to be expected at a PA event and B) I still met quite a few working, knowledgeable, and experienced people there. I saw nothing of the sort at the writers’ group last week.
But apparently, I was standing in the wrong corner of the room:
So, mea culpa to the group’s organizer Derek, who also reached out to me over Twitter:
@TheAnonymousPA Sorry if you didn’t have a good time at the Meetup. Feel free to DM me if you have suggestions on how to make it better.
— Derek Housman (@DerekHousman) June 22, 2014
I actually wish I did have some suggestions for improving the event; I’d use those suggestions myself at my own TAPArties. When you invite the public to an event, the public will show up.
It’s hard for someone organizing a group like this to ensure that the experience is great for everyone. If you create an exclusive guest list, you’ll inevitably miss some diamonds in the rough. Let any rando in off the street walk in and, as Michael said, there’s going to be a lot of chaff.1
As an aspiring writer/director/whatever, you can’t leave it up to the organizers to do the sorting for you. You’ll have to do it yourself. For whatever reason, I had a hard time doing that last Thursday.
Let this be a semi-retraction to Friday’s post. Just because I had a lousy experience this one time (and honestly, I’ve had some good experiences with the same group in the past), that doesn’t mean you will next time.
No one meet-up is going to change your life. Sometimes you’ll meet a dozen great people, sometimes you won’t meet anybody. Alex and I had contrasting experiences on the same night.
The lesson to take away from all this is to keep getting yourself out there. Meet new people. Reconnect with old friends. Never eat alone.
Of course, whether you want to be a writer, a dolly grip, a casting director, or anything else in this town, you should also be practicing your craft as much as possible. There’s no sense in creating a network to help you in your career, if you can’t actually do the job. That’s why I write this blog.2
What do you do?