Whether you're an enterprising young actor who's just moved to the City or one who's been here for years, you've probably figured out that the holiday season is the best time to network. Even those who hate networking can understand that a Christmas card is an appropriate, non-invasive reminder to people that you're alive, breathing, and willing to work. It's also a good time to thank the people who have really helped you and believed in you. This journey is tough and we need to spread the love when we can!!
So where to start? The first step is remembering that many, many people in this industry are not Christian, and the professional salutation is 'Happy Holidays' or 'Season's Greetings' or something along those lines. Keep Christmas or Hanukkah out of it, regardless of what you personally celebrate.
The second step is to figure out who to reach out to. The short answer is 'everyone you can think of,' or more specifically, 'everyone who knows you by name.' The third step will then be to figure out what is appropriate to send or give people. I'm old fashioned, so I'm going to go out on a limb and advise against sending an e-card to anyone. Unless the recipient knows you well, there's a good chance he or she won't open it at all. I also don't think gifts are necessary unless you have an exceptional relationship with a certain industry contact. However, if you absolutely adore your agency, go ahead and send flowers or an edible arrangement to the office. Stop by with holiday doughnuts or Starbucks. (Note: there is not a single person in this industry who doesn't appreciate a well-timed peppermint mocha.) If you would like to give out individual gifts, but can't decide what to give, guest blogger Katharine McDonough has crafted a list for you. I've put together a list of people to reach out to this time of year. Craft a plan. Execute it before the 25th. Even if you're not saying Merry Christmas, the cut-off date still applies.
Send Holiday Cards/Seasonal Greeting on a Postcard
1. Your Agent
2. Your Agency
3. Any Casting Director Who Has Called You In Repeatedly. (This is a good opportunity to thank them!)
4. Any Director You Worked With During 2016. (Assuming the relationship was a good one. Same applies for choreographers, general managers, producers, or any other relationships you built on that gig.)
5. The Pianist Who Saves Your Ass When You Need A Song Plunked Out Within 24 Hours
6. Anyone Who Has Covered a Shift for You and Likewise Saved Your Ass (include candy or booze with their card).
7. A Friend Who Pulled Strings (By which I mean, got you an audition, referred you to their agency, hooked you up with a day job, etc. The candy or booze rule applies.)
8. The Creatives on your Upcoming Gig. (If you're fortunate enough to have a gig lined up for 2017, go ahead and send them a card telling them how much you're looking forward to working with them. No, it is NOT brown-nosing.)
9. Your Cast! (If you're doing a show. Duh. Don't forget the SM and crew!)
10. Any CD's or Agents You Paid to Meet. (Like at Actors Connection or One on One. If you've had no other reason to reach out, this is the perfect excuse.)
Gift Ideas: If you do want to send a gift, where to start?
1. Movie Passes (L.A. folks: Cineopolis Luxury Cinemas is a fun treat!)
2. Theatre Tickets/Gift Certificates (N.Y. folks: TodayTix does gift cards!)
3. Bottle of Champagne or Nice Wine. (There is also no one on either coast who doesn't appreciate chocolate-covered strawberries.)
4. Coffee or Gift Card with a Box of Bagels or Doughnuts
5. Merch from your Current Project.
6. Fun office supplies! (Emphasis on 'fun.' Do not think you can get away with getting your agent paper clips for the holidays. That is, if you expect to have a single audition next year.)
7. Personalized Mug. (Include a movie quote, show, or a pic of the two of you from your last gig.)
8. Entertainment Subscription! (Think Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, etc. This is best if you're in a long-running show and can afford the monthly fees.)