I have a pet peeve and I need to vent!
If you’ve ever been to a reading of a new musical, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Here’s the scenario:
As people arrive for the musical reading, half the guests will find people they know, followed by the inevitable air kisses and hugs and that’s all great. The OTHER half of the people will quickly scan the crowd, see that there’s no one they already know and will immediately take out their phones, engrossed in the latest from twitter or Facebook (though trying to disguise it as “real” work).
While a few of those people may have real work to do, I have no doubt that most people are just trying to “look busy and important.” Heaven forbid they – GASP! - put their phone away and meet the 5 people sitting near to them who also don’t know anyone.
If you are one of those people, you’re missing out big time. There’s gold in them there hills. Consider this…if someone is attending a reading in the first place, it’s highly likely that, like you, they are a.) in the industry, b.) a huge fan of musicals, c.)attached to someone on the project. Any or all of the above could be an interesting contact for you or at the very least an interesting conversation to kill a few minutes before the show starts.
I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of hauling out the iphone at my fair share of readings in the past. However, I made a commitment to myself a few months back to go sans phone. And you know what? I’ve had rewarding experiences each and every time I’ve taken the time to meet the people around me. I’ve met investors, writers, new business contacts and even people who I’ve talked to by email but not yet met face to face. Many with whom I remain in touch.
I challenge you to do the same. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. And guess what, Facebook will still be there later when you don’t have a goldmine of new people sitting to your immediate left and right.