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Mind Your Business: Face to Face

In this month's "Mind Your Business," Mark Simon goes face to face with the value of the face-to-face meeting in this virtual world.


The world is changing. Cocooning is a term that was coined years ago as people stopped leaving their homes and many virtually ceased interpersonal communications. No longer are the masses taking to the streets to show their joy or vent their frustration.

Now, people text and e-mail each other. They post their most inner secrets on MySpace and blogs and share their home movies on YouTube. Remember when asking a friend to sit and watch your home movies usually meant the end of that friendship?

The problem many creatives are running into is that business is still a face-to-face enterprise. Texting, blogging and e-mail alone will not land jobs and make you successful.

At the 2007 Comic-Con convention in San Diego, face-to-face contact between artists, writers, fans, retailers and publishers was abundant and successful.

Sending a blind, unsolicited e-mail will never have the same effect as meeting someone in person. Many connections and deals are made on the floor at conventions. I picked up two new retailers for my books while walking the convention floor.

Deal-making happens elsewhere too. The success of face-to-face meetings was clear at the Hyatt Hotel bar, next door to the convention center. Thousands of people connected at the bar each night after the conference closed. Artists, like Mark Sparacio, bought drinks for publishers they were both working with and those they wanted to work for. Other publishers bought them drinks. Deals were made over drinks and conversation.

You may not like the idea of shmoozing, but that doesnt mean it doesnt work. People hire their friends and people they know and trust. Trust and friendship dont build over blind e-mails and resumes sent to Human Resources. Friendships build by having an old-fashioned thing called a conversation.

Talking to your friends and asking for introductions works well too.

Years ago I found out that Steven Spielberg was bringing his SeaQuest DSV series to Universal Studios in Orlando. This was a project I really wanted to work on. Science fiction. Spielberg. High-profile NBC series. Whats not to like?

The problem was I didnt know anyone on the production. Luckily I was already working on the Universal backlot at Nickelodeon. When I heard that the SeaQuest production had moved onto the lot, I called a friend of mine, Patty, who was officed in the same building as the production. I knew that Patty talked to everyone and was likely to have met someone from the production.

Sure enough, Patty had lunch with the construction coordinator of the series, Mike, just the day before. That was perfect, as I had started in the industry doing the same thing and I would have a connection with Mike. I asked Patty if she would introduce me to Mike. Before she could say No I ran over to her office.

Thriving Artist helps artists earn more money, avoid common mistakes and more.

With a small amount of begging, Patty walked around the sound stages with me until we found Mike. Patty introduced us, I told Mike we shared the same background and I told him I wanted to work on the production either as a set designer or storyboard artist. He told me that I should talk to the production designer, Vaughan Edwards. I asked Mike if he would introduce me to Vaughan and off we went to Vaughans office.

When we walked into Vaughans office, Mike introduced us and I sat down. Vaughan and I talked for a few minutes, I told him what I wanted to do on his production and pulled out my portfolio. (I never go anywhere without it.) He liked both my set designs and my storyboarding. He told me that the supervising producer, Oscar Costo, made all the final hiring decisions.

I asked Vaughan if Oscar was around (are you starting to see a pattern here?). Off we went down the hall to Oscars office. Vaughan introduced me and told Oscar that he liked all my samples.

Oscar reviewed my portfolio and offered me the position of storyboard artist. It took just a couple of minutes to discuss rates, I signed a deal memo and started the following Monday.

I landed my dream job in only 15 minutes by talking to people and meeting them face to face. There was nothing magical about it. Anyone can do it if they just get out there and meet people. If I had only mailed or e-mailed my resume, I never would have landed that gig.

Get out there, be willing to ask for help and introductions, talk to people, and land your dream job too.

Mark Simon is the co-founder of His audio CD set, Thriving Artist, which helps artists earn more money, avoid common mistakes and more, can be found online at Mark can be reached at