Updated: Dec 19, 2018
Have you ever felt like people are trying get you to do something for free by name dropping? So have I. I've ran into this many times. I'm in a conversation with someone, an actor or band member, and all of a sudden, a specific name drops followed by a pause. Am I supposed to react? Am I supposed to want to work with you more? Am I supposed to drop my price for you? The answer is No, I'll tell you why.
I'm in a business where I meet a lot of people and even more people of significance. During my time in this business, I've talked with a lot of big names and was able to ask for advice, ask for opinions and criticisms and left the conversation with my head held high because I was able to talk with these people. I won't say who they are because it's irrelevant and I'd be guilty of trying to make myself into a person who does nothing but name drop to get my point across. In these conversations, I was able to learn from them certain things, without them teaching me. One of the main things I've learned is when someone is lying.
Body language and eye contact is the main thing. I remember recently I was talking to someone who was interested in my services and as soon as they were able, they started name dropping, saying this is who I’m working with, this is who mastered my stuff, this is who shot my last stuff, you get the picture. While that may be impressive, it also may not be true. I have friends that are deeply connected in the music business, so name dropping doesn't do anything for me because I've already went through the whole "No way!!!!!" phase. I'm now in the, "Oh yea? That's cool" phase, basically meaning that if I hear a big name drop, I'm not going to be impressed unless I see or hear what you're talking about and even then, chances are slim that I'll be impressed. It may be harsh to read that, but it's true.
With all that being said, when someone is name dropping, am I supposed to respond with, "I'll do it for free!!!" or "I must be your friend!!!". No, I'm supposed to be professional and respond accordingly. If you tell me, "This person shot my last video..." am I supposed to be competitive or lower my price to outdo the last person? No. I'm supposed to represent my business the way it's supposed to be.
Basically, I'm not going to compromise my business reputation just because someone tells me that they know or have worked with certain people. If you want my services, let's talk. If you want to work out a deal, let's talk. If you expect me to do something for free because you know a guy in New York, then you're barking up the wrong tree. I've even had someone say, "If you do this one video for free, I'll connect you with the right people and you'll be set for life". When has that ever worked out? My personal experience, never. I don't believe in short cuts anymore and neither should you. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. I've fallen for that many times in the beginning of my career and I don't do that anymore.
I'm not a bitter person. I don't hold grudges against the people who do try this tactic every day. I just think it's sad that some people still try to get something for free when ultimately you end up being treated like you never did anything for them. If you want to run a successful business, don't cut corners. Don't take the shortcut that may lead you nowhere. Work as hard as you can and let your work speak for itself.
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