Take the General Meeting
These days, I wonder what people are thinking when they take a general meeting. Sometimes it’s just about taking a meeting to get to know the person a bit better. but oftentimes, I think people take them so that they can pitch their idea. That’s not what a general is mostly about. Yes, it’s okay to pitch something, but I think it’s only really good when that person is. I try to never pitch my projects to anyone unless they ask.
I think it’s always good to take a general meeting with someone so that they can pick your brain, and you can pick theirs. I don’t think there always has to be an ask or that it needs to lead to s something. sometimes a general is just nice to have cause you think you’ll meet that person in the future. It’s also good to have vibe checks with people. I’ve had great generals with people who I can always vibe with and they’re good people, but other times I have a general with someone who don’t vibe with at all and maybe I’ll never hear from or reach out to that person again. The person I just got off the phone with, I’ll probably never reach out to them again cause even though they have money, they don’t pass the vibe check. Nice guy, but doesn’t seem like he understands why someone would do something for the community in the arts.
Look, money is a real thing that we all want and need to live or to make our art. But that doesn’t mean that every conversation we have with people needs to be “strategic” or be an ask for money. I’m of course always asking people for donations, but I’ve only ever got donations from community members who are supporting. Big companies haven’t donated to us yet. maybe one day they will but until they see the value in us, I just want to have general conversations with them.
A general meeting is just a quick moment to get to know someone and hear from them a bit more. I didn’t go into that meeting with an ask and others will maybe say that I needed to have an ask, but my ask would always be the same, ” I need money” but that sound s like begging for money, I don’t want to do that and overall, everyone does that. I don’t want to make money, I want to build relationships. That’s what generals are about. I try never to go into a meeting asking for money. I always go into a general meeting just lookin to introduce myself and let them get to know me. Maybe that’s my fault for never asking for money, but how would you feel if someone walked up to you and asked for money? That’s why relationships are important. More important than money.
Whatever your stance is on general meetings, I think it’s always a good idea to take the meeting. Hollywood is all about relationships and building them based on trust, not based on if they can do anything for you. I’ve taken tons of meetings that lead to nowhere. Those meeting might turn into something, somewhere down the line maybe even a year down the line. But I’ve also made good friends with generals. Even some of these friends, I never see again. I hope to see them again, but most of the time, I never see or hear from them ever again. And that’s okay too. In this industry, we’re all bound t run into each other at one point or another. And maybe one day you’ll do a favor for someone, and they’ll do a favor for you. But in my opinion and experience, it’s never a good idea to go into a meeting where you expect something from someone. If anything, go in with the idea to see how you can help them. And if there’s nothing you can help them with, then that’s fine too. No reason to be a jerk about anything. Whether you can help them, or they can help you, there’s never a reason to be a jerk.
I think some peel think it’s weird that I go into a meeting to see how I can help them when all they’ve ever been asked is how they can help the person they’re speaking to. In the last call, the guy kept trying to see how they could help me, but he had already established that they only work with big nonprofits, not small ones, so what’s there for me to ask for his help? I wanted to see how I can best position ourselves to help him and it kinda confuddled him. Sometimes the vibe isn’t there. These people with big money don’t understand why hoping for a young nonprofit is important, and for me, I can’t wait on people with money to help us. And neither should you.
My last point is don’t wait on the money. The money isn’t coming. No one wants to help you. They want to see you’re helping yourself first and then they might want to support you. But even then, we can’t poseur artwork, or goals just to wait on them to help us. We have to do what we want to do outsells. Otherwise, we’ll be waiting a long time.