Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Being Professional Part 1

There are thousands of us out there so how can we as scriptwriters make ourselves stand out from the crowd? By being professional, that's how.

Here is the first in a series of how to be professional starting with that must have tool of any writer, the business card.

A business card is essential for a writer because it's your point of contact. It not only holds your contact information, but it also tells the recipient that you're serious about writing and that your script wasn't written on the back of cereal packet during the breakfast the previous day (it might have been but we'll discuss presentation in another blog). It also tells the recipient that you're prepared to put yourself out there.

You don't have to have a fancy one like I do, a plain one, print on one side, with your name, occupation and contact details will do. Don't worry too much about cost because even if you only get a commission from one of those cards it will have been worth it. So make sure to get plenty printed. I found five hundred to be a good number.

I decided to spend a little more money on my cards and had a template designed especially for it. If you look closely at the card you can see that the script in the background is one of my own. No one will ever notice, but I know it's there and I get a kick out of it.

But having a business card is no good unless you're prepared to use them. Keep a small amount on you at all times (because you never know when you might bump into Russell T Davies or Ridley Scott) and hand them out when you meet people in the industry, or to people with contacts within the industry. I paper clip one to every letter or script that I send out. Most come back, but a few have been kept.

It's not uncommon in meetings for people to swap business cards. If someone gives you a card give them one of yours and keep their card in a safe place. If someone doesn't give you a card then give them one of yours anyway. Remember, you're promoting yourself here.

Use it, that's what it's there for.


Tim Clague said...

Dom - I'd go further. I like to challenge myself to hand out as many as I can. As you know I work with a lot of guys from HSBC - they hand out over 20 a week. We can't match that but they are so cheap as you say so hand them out to everyone you meet.

But I would say DON'T keep cards given to you in a safe place. Do something with it. My own method is to add that contact to my computer address book (now at 1200 entries), email that person with some feedback or thanks and then put something in your calendar to get back in touch in a months time.

Maybe its just me but if I don't do that I will forget to stay in touch. That then becomes a contact I might as well have never met!

Sal said...

want to swap fancy business cards some time then?

Dominic Carver said...

Sounds good to me.