For media producers, writers, directors, actors, and others in Hollywood, understanding what I call the “professional ecosystem” is absolutely vital for success. The dictionary defines “ecosystem” as “A biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.” Transplanting the term to your career, it means “All the people, companies, institutions, and rules (written & unwritten) that govern your industry.” In Hollywood that means answering questions like:
Who’s in charge of the production companies, studios, and networks?
Who’s the person accepting pitches?
Who are the key people you need to know to advance your project or career?
Which production companies would be open to your ideas?
Who should you be networking with?
There’s a professional or career ecosystem in every industry and whether you’re a film producer, pastor, business executive, writer, realtor, or something else – you have an ecosystem all around you that you need to understand.
For pastors and church leaders it may be the denominational structure and it’s leaders, or it might be other leaders in your network, or outside donors who can make your dream happen, or it might be other pastors who you should be affiliated with right now.
Stop and think about it. Who are the people in your business, industry, or calling that hold the power? Who can help you grow or advance? Who can connect you to people you need to know? What are the companies, nonprofits, or churches I should have a relationship with?
Everyday in Hollywood, opportunities are lost because a studio executive changes jobs, and producers who spent years building that relationship is now out of luck. There have been numerous times our team at Cooke Media Group spent years in a great business relationship with a nonprofit or ministry leader, only to see that person leave or retire. Suddenly that professional relationship was over when a new leader stepped into his or her place. Then the relationship building starts all over again.
Knowing who pulls the strings, makes the decisions, and calls the shots in your professional world is critical to your success. Just as important, learn the production companies, businesses, guilds, unions, donors, or denominational groups that influence your world.
Spend some time this week learning who those people are and how the organizations operate. Because outside of a miracle, no matter how gifted and talented you may be, if you can’t open the next door in your career, you won’t get very far.