In an industry where so much networking is done (and so many decision are made) after work hours and outside of the office, professional boundaries can easily be blurred. Mixing a personal relationship with professional relationships may be a requirement on at least some level, but being able to balance them successfully is often a challenge.
We’ve all heard or seen an entertainer and thought/shared the fact that they aren’t the most talented at whatever it is they do. Great musicians, great actors, and great directors aren’t always the most successful in their field – and frequently it is because they are unable to balance relationships as successfully as less talented individuals. After all, success in any field is about more than just our individual efforts!
Actors and models are told to attend any and every party and meet as many people as possible. The key to balancing these relationships is to just keep them personal on a safe level, and always professional. Personal on a safe level means not sharing your deepest darkest fears, secrets, or dislikes. It means having the restraint to not really tell the director you hated his/her ideas while on set. It also means not sharing your opinion of another actor/model’s performance.
There are a lot of pitfalls that a talent should avoid when building lasting relationships with other professionals in the business. It might be easier to remember the things you should discuss, though. Talk about the latest movie or advertisement you saw (and enjoyed). Focus on the positives and ask others what their take was on it. If they steer the conversation to negative talk, hear them out, but don’t join in. Talk about personal things that are interesting, but not private. Again, focus on positive things happening in your family, home life, or with your kids.
You can’t avoid developing these relationships, so do it wisely! Choose to discuss positive industry related events and positive personal events. After a friendship starts to blossom, don’t be tempted to share anything additional. Everyone is human and has an emotional reaction to certain subjects. Avoid putting yourself in a place where your sharing might cause a negative reaction on someone else’s emotional life while being connected to your name. And save those venting sessions for your best friend who works in another field!