As an event organizer you may be faced with the prospect of securing some top talent for your event and if you simply look up their agent and ask for availability and a cost quote, you are almost certain to end up paying “rack rate” or several times more than you would have if you had been able to take advantage of that elusive “contact.” When it comes to booking talent you can save yourself an inordinate amount of money (as well as time and aggravation) by nurturing contacts in the entertainment industry who can open doors you never even knew existed.

Barricades to keep the unwashed masses out

If you have any questions about how open the entertainment industry is to new inputs from outside their backyard, just look at the statistic that if all of the unsolicited movie scripts which are returned unopened by studios and producers every year were stacked up, they would be taller than Mount Everest. There is no industry anywhere in the world that is more closed up and surrounded by tall castle walls than the entertainment sector. The reason behind that is simple: There are literally millions of people with little or no experience who want to be the next big thing, the next celebrity, the next superstar. As these numbers continue to grow, the barrage which the producers are faced with grows as well, and so do the barricades set up to keep the unwashed masses out.

Create a contact network in all the right places

The entertainment industry runs on two factors: Money & Contacts. If you have a lot of money to spend, then you can open doors and make things happen. But unless your event’s investors include people with surnames like Slim, Gates, and Buffett, you don’t have unlimited finances, so your event stands a much better chance of succeeding in securing the talent you seek by leveraging contacts. This creation of a contact network in all the right places can be critical to your event’s success so you should seriously consider focusing an inordinate amount of your effort there.

The largest group of honchos is on LinkedIn

In the olden days there really wasn’t any way to break through the entertainment industry’s walls to start your contact network building efforts. Fortunately with the advent of social media just about every major producer, agent, celebrity, and the rest of the Hollywood top ranked infrastructure is available to be contacted somewhere online. There are countless specialty social media which cater to producers of this or producers of that, but certainly the most comprehensive and largest group of entertainment industry honchos can be found on LinkedIn.

Be an active participant but not too active

When you try to approach one of these moguls through LinkedIn, the traditional caveats apply in spades. The last thing you want to do is to message them outright with your request. First try to create some form of relationship with the individual based on shared interests. Read what they post, familiarize yourself with their viewpoints, and become an active (but not too active) participant in their LinkedIn presence including the groups they’re in. Be very aware that these people have a very finely tuned sensor for people who are trying to muscle into their circles so you really have no choice but to try and establish a form of online friendship with them first.

One hand washes the other

When the time is right for you to make your request, you have to do so in a way which maximizes “what’s in it for them.” Nobody is going to make an introduction to Beyonce or J.Lo. just based on the fact that you requested one. There is always a one hand washes the other form of reciprocity in entertainment industry relationships, and you are best served by integrating into your offer a measure of value to the person doing the introduction.

This process may seem roundabout and inefficient, but it is a time-honored way to get things done in Hollywood, and the amount of money your event may save could be palpable!