THE DIRECTOR'S PAGE

From time to time, this page will feature an article from Jimi on various topics, usually about the Network, but sometimes we may just let him ramble a bit! Take the time to read this, enjoy, comment, etc. - Thomas, webmaster

SHARKS IN THE WATER

Sometimes reality isn't.

Back during the original OJ trials, I was visiting Disneyland when out of nowhere someone came up & asked to take a picture with me. I had no idea who he was, never saw him before, & was puzzled by his request.until he motioned to the blonde standing nearby to "come join your husband". She looked at the guy, looked at me, & we grinned at the same time realizing the mistake in identity.

"Sorry", I told the guy, "I'm not Judge Ito, & that is not my wife."

"Close enough!" he replied as a friend snapped the picture.

Somewhere in Wyoming, there is a picture of me & an unknown woman, & a guy telling a story about his trip to L.A.

Harmless fun.until the dude puts it up on ebay for a hundred bux. (not that it would ever happen.right?)

It happens all the time. There are scammers who tell you they're connected, & will string you along 'till they get what they want. Sometimes, it's just a game & you wind up disappointed. Other times, it could lead to much worse.

In the film industry, most people know the term "casting couch".  This actually applies to all facets of the entertainment industry, & the lessons learned can be harsh.

A good friend bought a guitar from me & asked me to deliver it to an "industry party".

There were many celebrities present, & plenty of wannabees too. They were the ones handing me demo tapes (yeah this was a while ago) without asking who I was. They figured I must be important to even BE at this party. I found my friend, & someone came up & introduced himself as being a guitar player for a famous artist. We stepped outside together & the three of us engaged in checking out the instrument & swapping stories. The "famous artist's sideman" was very charismatic & shared some great stories before walking away. A few minutes later he returned, saying the famous artist he played with just arrived, & "can he borrow my friend's guitar" to play a set. Before I could say "Uh, wait." the instrument was handed over, & the guy was lost in the crowd.

Sure enough, the famous artist was introduced, but when the band took the stage, our new "friend" was not there. Apparently, he was no longer at the party either.

Yup. We were scammed.

Back then, there was no internet to check, so tracing back to find the guy was difficult & in fact, impossible at the time. But in an ironic turn of events, the guitar showed up for sale, & my friend managed to recover the guitar & have the scammer arrested.

He was one of the lucky ones.

As artists, most of us dream of making a career changing connection. Sadly, some are so star-struck or desperate they get blinded by supposed celebrity. If you've been to some of the seminars & workshops, you know that celebrities themselves often don't have ANY control over their OWN careers, & cannot really help you at all.

Here's a couple of tips that may prevent YOU from being a victim:

1)      People with REAL cred are ALWAYS available. A business with locked doors will generally not succeed. They will provide an opportunity for YOU to contact THEM if there is a real interest in transacting some business.

2)      People with real cred know other people with real cred. Generally, at a party or conference, you can find someone you know & trust that can help check things out. Sometimes you can bluff a lil' bit. Like, "Hey! I think my friend over there opened/recorded/knows the manager for your band! Let's say hello!" If they suddenly get shy, hedge your bets. Often a conference official or the person throwing the party wants to know who's there. Know who those people are & try to get an opportunity to introduce 'em.

3)      Look for the obvious. A real engineer will usually NOT have a nice tan 'cuz they're in a studio all the time. A business person (label exec, promoter etc) will NOT need to borrow a pen to jot something down. A guitar player will always have a pick, or grown out nails if they're a fingerstylist.

4)       Ask the right questions Ask about their most recent gig/project. Get specific. Ask for names. If they can back it up, they won't mind you being careful. In fact, it tells 'em you really do mean business.

5)      People with real cred are searchable. You can quickly find them online, & often find a picture. If you get a chance, borrow a sidekick or check a public computer @ the hotel or venue. You can excuse yourself to go to the bathroom to do it discreetly.

Sometimes you can do all these things & STILL get scammed. Other times you may actually offend an important person. There's no perfect way to absolutely weed out the bad ones. But generally, you will find people are here to help. The artist community is really just that. A community is all about the common good. & if you go to recognized legitimate events to network, you'll generally do just fine.

No need for paranoia. Just remember that whoever you meet is also a PERSON, & is NOT just a stepping stone, key or path to the next step. & a good RELATIONSHIP takes some time to build.

& grilled shark is some mighty fine eatin'.

:)

- Jimi