– Not being prepared. Research who you’re meeting with and find out as much as possible about what they’ve done recently, who they represent, what they’ve sold, produced etc. Have a goal for each meeting.
– Not telling the truth. Don’t stretch the truth about who is interested in you or the extent to which any companies are interested in your work. If anything, be humble and matter of fact about your progress and status. Everyone wants to feel like they can contribute to a success story vs. having to vet a ton of hype and BS.
– Letting your work get exposed in the wrong way. Don’t let people who are significantly “in the business” send your material out. Send your work out directly to those who’ve expressed a real interest in reading you. In other words, don’t let a friend of a friend of a friend who knows an actor, agent, producer send your material to them. Also, if possible avoid posting your work on websites where anyone can download it freely and easily.
– Attitudes and Egos. Don’t be rude or try to be too cool in meetings, even if you’re meeting with people who feel like cartoon character versions of typical Hollywood personalities. Focus on your work and don’t get caught in the ego game of either feeling less than or greater than. If you happen to meet someone who is clearly not experienced or helpful don’t make them feel small, you never know what they may learn or how their career may advance in a short time.
– Being likable. Much of what I find people want is to feel comfortable with those they work with. It’s a tough business and when projects get set up there will be many long hours ahead and many tough situations to talk through… When you have something to sell, it always starts with selling yourself.
– Assistants. Always be nice to them. They may be rude. They may be short. It may feel like their sole purpose in life is to keep you from talking to their boss. Appreciate them for the work they do, even if fraught with mistakes and a less than stellar attitude. Find something they’ve done right and compliment them when appropriate (when their boss is on the phone too). Many of them don’t last but some of them will become successful agents, producers or studio heads and you’ll be selling to them.
– Schedule: Don’t get too caught up in playing the schedule / reschedule game. If you want something from them then make it easy. Accommodate their schedule and expect to meet in their office (or wherever is most convenient for them). Also, know that they’ll probably reschedule with you a few times. Make sure you reach out a day or two before to confirm and let them (or their assistants) know if you’re traveling a big distance to meet them.
– The obstacles you can’t control: Try not to worry about them. They’ll resolve themselves over time. Besides, there’s too many other things that you can work to improve so keep the focus on your goals and you’ll prevail eventually.
Don’t forget THE GOLDEN RULE. Yes. You know the one… It applies in Hollywood too.