Week twelve: JAN NAGEL: Entertainment Marketing Diva


Networking: The Art of Building Relationships

“The more you give, the more you get.”

Networking is a way of life. You do this every time you ask someone for the best restaurant, a referral to a dentist or which is the hippest nightspot. In return you give advice, give the name of a friend that has a service you think the other person would need or offer some other useful information.

Networking is a vital function for your career. In the entertainment business it is all about “who you know.” To make it work you need to know your goals and how to ask for what you want. This workshop will give you the tools that you can use throughout your career and your life. You will be exploring:

Networking: The Art of Building Relationships
“The more you give, the more you get.”

Introduction to Networking for the Creative Person

Networking is the Art of Building Relationships

The Creative Principles of Networking

Practicing the Principles

Jan Nagel’s Bio:    As an entertainment marketing professional since 1991, Jan Nagel has worked with recognized and award-winning feature and television production studios, including Dream Quest Images, Calico Entertainment and VirtualMagic Animation.  As a consultant and business owner, Jan brings her experience and expertise to clients such as Original Force 3D in Nanjing China, Maya Digital Studios in Mumbai, India, Santo Domingo Films in Mexico, Pandoodle in Silicon Valley, Morpho in Costa Rica, Rhythm & Hues and other animation and visual effects companies.

Prior to her entertainment marketing career, Jan worked for Fortune 500 advertising agencies, providing advertising and recruitment marketing for client, such as U.S. Army, Hughes Aircraft and Century 21 Real Estate, and served as associate publisher for four career magazines.

 As a founding member and president emeritus of the board of directors of Women In Animation International, a professional association, Jan participates as an active member of many entertainment organizations such as ASIFA-Hollywood and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

 Jan currently teaches the Business of Animation in the graduate animation program at University of Southern California.  As a Senior Lecturer at Otis College of Art + Design, she teaches a year-long course in business and career development to digital media seniors.  As an Adjunct Professor, Jan teaches an online course for the Academy of Entertainment and Technologies at Santa Monica College.  To support education, she serves on the industry advisory committees at Santa Monica College, College of the Canyons, Pasadena City College and others.

 Jan has also published numerous articles on the topics of animation, co-production and the pitch.  Her blog, “Behind The Deal,” is featured on http://www.AWN.com.  She is a noted speaker and frequent guest lecturer on the worldwide business of animation and entertainment careers.  She has presented at the International Forum on China Cultural Industry in Shanxi Province, China, KidScreen Summit, UCLA Extension, USC Master’s Program and has moderated panels for BAFTA, Visual Effects Society, Los Angeles Central Library and Women In Animation.

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50 Responses to Week twelve: JAN NAGEL: Entertainment Marketing Diva

  1. Dustin Reno says:

    After suffering the recent and unexpected loss of my dear roommate, I decided to take a chance on an invitation to a party I had received. Upon my arrival, I was immediately whisked away on a Gatsby-esque evening by Mr. Gotrocks himself. He soon had me in the palm of his hand with promises of fame and fortune using my graphic design skills to bring life to promotional poster art for his upcoming feature. He was a man of high demand and had to leave, but I soon found myself in the company of famed child actor Johnathon Taylor Thomas, a student named Eric that was desperate for an internship to remain in his collegiate studies, a recent father and storyboard artist named Francisco, and a group of delightful people named Lindsey, Randolph, and Yizhou that found us making agreements on housing arrangements and mutually beneficial, professional opportunities. The clock soon chimed midnight, and we all parted our separate ways. I’m not sure what became of Mr. Gotrocks, but a man with that much passion and confidence will most certainly remain a steadfast part of the entertainment industry.

  2. Yizhou Li says:

    Well, I thought the talking with other people was kind of fun. I was a little bit confused at beginning, but I understood it in the end. Jan told lots of stories, and she said some few things that could be useful for talking with people.

  3. Wow, I don’t think anyone can top Dustin’s experience!

    The virtual cocktail party was amusing but it was not good practice for how to network at a real party, yet I still had fun laughing and talking with everyone.

    While Jan has some valid things to say, the tactics she presents often come across as insincere, and I was put off by how she painted the act of networking as this scheming thing. In my experience, connections happen more naturally if you really are interested in something, and you don’t need to consciously go into a conversation trying to be curious – you just ARE curious.

    I really appreciated when Lisa and Kurosh made a point of saying that networking/talking with curiosity to people must be genuine, because after being in Jan’s class for more than half the semester, I feel she often forgets to emphasize that.

  4. Maggie Harbaugh says:

    This is a “safe place” right? If I may be brutally honest, all this seminar did was make me dread taking Business of Animation. She is a bit of a tough pill to swallow. Maybe I was just exhausted that day and couldn’t really handle her energy, but one thing I know for sure: I was much more exhausted after the seminar. I felt like I had witnessed a live-taping of an infomercial marathon. I wish she hadn’t been so forceful on “selling” me her stories and information because, truthfully, I wasn’t buying it. I didn’t find this seminar very useful, other than the question that is covered in the class about what to ask when in an interview (which Joanna so eloquently answered.) There have been much better seminars in my opinion. I’m glad she liked my red hoodie though.

  5. The evening was somehow interesting, talked to some amazing people at the reception and must say, what a beautiful place is Los Angeles, so much talent and shine. Using the words of our Guest speaker, Success cannot be repeated, or , as said Hegel, All facts and characters of world importance happens two times in history, one as tragedy and other as farce. So let’s go forth with this Journey!

  6. Ryan Gillis says:

    Thesis has isolated me, so I’m a big fan of any seminar that involves being able to form a large mob and talk to my classmates. I was Rowsdower, a VFX specialist that’s just trying to get into the movie racket, and I collect books. Gotrocks ended up being a real nightmare, but I guess that’s just the nature of the industry we’ve chosen.
    IRL, I’ve always dreaded the idea of networking. Something about it feels real insincere. But so far, everyone I’ve met in the animation industry is funny, smart, and interesting. It’s been a much more natural experience of making friends rather than seducing people into giving me jobs.

  7. Josh Weisbrod says:

    I thought Jan had some really great advice about networking, and her stories helped to illustrate it, but I particularly enjoyed the virtual cocktail party, which was a lot of fun. It is difficult to be on the inside of school only to worry about what will happen on the outside, and anything we can do to help prepare us for this eventuality is certainly appreciated.

  8. Christina Brous says:

    I agree with Maggie on this one. I felt that Jan had some great advice to share with us about networking and getting yourself out there which I enjoyed, but wish there was more of. Her stories, however, which took up a large chunk of seminar, seemed a little antiquated and self-absorbed. The stories about how she got her start don’t really seem to apply in today’s world full of social media and email and though they were mildly entertaining, I couldn’t relate to them. The virtual cocktail was fun and energetic, but because we all already know each other, it became more of a joke and I couldn’t take it that seriously.

  9. earnason says:

    I was very happy to have Jan Nagel come and speak to us. She has a very exciting personality and is a lot of fun to listen to. I found it easy to focus on her and her advice was valuable. The game at the end was fun as well.

  10. Joanna Barondess says:

    Jan has really good advice on networking, but this really felt like another Business of Animation class. Not that it’s a bad thing, but a lot of what Jan went over, we have gone over in class. Additionally, I felt that the networking exercise did become a joke because we all knew each other. It became a big waste of time, more than anything. I get a lot out of Jan’s classes, but after a certain period of time, it all becomes repetitive.

  11. Jake Zhang says:

    Jan gave us some really great information and skills on how to network with people in the industry. I like her saying “the fundamental of networking is Being Curious About People”. Really helpful to me.

  12. Evan Harbuck says:

    I agree with Ryan’s comment, I normally dread the idea of “networking”, at least in the way the Jan presents it; there’s a stigma of insincerity about it. However, the animation professionals I’ve met in the real world don’t come across in this “schmooze’y” manner. They’re just normal people. That being said, it never hurts to practice networking, or talking to people, so we can all be more comfortable for the next time we bump into some animation hot-shot at a cocktail party, or one of Tom’s Academy events.

  13. Jiexi Wang says:

    Networking is important, but learning ‘how to networking’ with others is exhausted. I think what she said was right, in this world people need to know others in their field to get a better job. However, as an artist, let our work speak for us is something we should take as a ultimate goal – this is something I appreciate in this field.
    While most people seems liked the in class “virtual cocktail party”, I didn’t enjoy it that much. We already knew that’s fake before we stepped into the building. Thus, what we did was not “networking” but “performing”. I think the lecture/stories is better way to present the idea of ‘networking’.

  14. Ivan Sayon says:

    I also felt that the seminar seemed pretty much like another business of animation class. Networking is definitely important, but I personally dislike “schmoozing” and selling yourself like a “product.” I personally prefer a more genuine/casual approach to making connections (echoing Ryan and Evan.) Acting makes me incredibly nervous. During the presentation and the cocktail party exercise I wondered about nightmare situations like how do you deal with an arrogant/bigoted/condescending/bullying/abusive co-worker or boss in the industry? Given that this industry is very small and almost every professional guest seems to stress the importance of being nice to everyone you work with, what happens when another person disrespects you in the workplace? Would you have to grin and take it, or would sticking up for yourself jeopardize your reputation/potential to get work? I would’ve loved to hear more of the dark side of animation as I think it may be helpful for people to hear more of “What NOT to do or THIS will happen” type of scenarios.

  15. linhui wang says:

    Thanks for Jane sharing us many interesting net working stories. As some one said before, we are living in a net. Especially after the time changed in to big industry, no single person can live by itself with the internet, toilet, computer, the achievement connects each other together. Probably because I came from another country, when I talked to people here I was always curious what’s the difference, why made it different, and the common which will be the link.

  16. Tim says:

    I agree with Maggie and Christina, a lot of what was offered tonight seemed more like a cathartic exercise for Jan than an exercise in sharing her knowledge with the students – there were a lot of stories, that I couldn’t keep track of or find relevance in.

    The networking exercise seems like something that might’ve been fun with actual cocktails! Perhaps it would have made more sense if we didn’t all know each other already. But I do think it possibly offered something valuable to anyone needing pointers on social interaction.

  17. Brian Rhodes says:

    This seminar stressed an important topic but in a more formulaic way, which makes it seems like something you have to memorize to do correctly, vs something you already posses, which is simply communicating with people. I think networking is more about communicating and building authentic personal relationships, however your personality.

  18. joseph yeh says:

    Business of Animation was a decent class because networking and finding jobs is so crucial to life. Unfortunately I’m so much better at sitting in front of my computer then talking to people, which I’m not sad about because hey everyone does it.
    I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to this one, but I heard the party at the end was awesome and I’m sad I missed it. I like chillin’ with people, but I definitely get nervous and awkward at times and default to hiding from people.
    In a way, this is why I choose animation over everything. Because animation has infinite possibilites and freedom. Nobody can stop you from making beautiful work and you can’t stop anyone from appreciating your message. Uhh… that was awkward- see?

  19. Andrew Malek says:

    Despite the seeming silliness of game we played at the end, Jan’s point about the importance of social networking hit home. Particularly in the entertainment industry knowing how to approach, talk to, and get along with people is perhaps the most important thing, even more so than talent at times. I appreciate that Jan also emphasizes that being your honest curious self is the best way to network, and who knows maybe you’ll even have a good time. It was a good night.

  20. Extroverts will always have an advantage over introverts and why wouldn’t they. We live in an overcrowded world with tons of talented people, very few people are going to come knocking on my door. So selling myself as a creator or artist is as important as the work I do. That will make a difference.

    However, I don’t like when networking skills are taught as a thing that overshadows talent or craft itself. It perpetuates the Hollywood system of “It´s not what you do, but who you know”.

    This brings to mind the email that was sent for students to attend Ron Diamond´s oscar party as waiters and get the opportunity to meet people with decision making power while providing free service. It´s not my intention to judge anyone´s choices, but it made me wonder about how effective that entry would be for a person that would chose to position itself in that role.

    Personally, I think there are many venues that allow people to connect with peers and colleagues as equals and share honest conversation about the craft. I think festivals, conventions and even our own cubicles are examples of these spaces.

    I think if we focus on making good work that speaks for itself and we get to know people through shared interests, we may not have to go to cocktails looking for that douchey Gotrocks and beg him to give us a job.

  21. Caress says:

    While I did enjoy the fake mixer at the end of class, I have to admit that the presentation was redundant for all of the second years currently taking her class. But I do feel a lot of positive information was taken away from Jan’s lecture.

  22. Sophie Xing says:

    I enjoyed Jan’s lecture. She is a very charming lady who has a lot of energy. The ideas she showed us how to find a job and how to express yourself are great. I love the game we played!

  23. Tristan says:

    I found this seminar to be quite relaxing. During the role playing game I was fortunate enough to be the head of production. I think I hired 5 or 6 people in effigy. The pretend drinks were pretty strong though, so I was glad to see the real fire department show up to help Robert with his affliction. I think he was doing some really effective method acting. Bottom line though, what Jan had to say is pretty accurate as far as I can tell. People don’t want to work ding dongs no matter how great you are, skills can be taught, but being a painful person to be around is forever.

  24. Yifu Zhou says:

    I like Jan’s lecture. Just like what I learned in her class. Listen to her lecture makes me feel more confident going into the industry. The role play game is fun, never did this before.

  25. Fernando Rabelo says:

    She had some good points about the relationship we should create with peers in the industry, however, I believe she lost most of us while trying to tell us an never ending story that was not very interesting. If she had gone to her point faster, she could have caught our attentions in a better way. The second half of the class was kind of an interesting group activity, however it would be good if we had received more preparation for that. In sum, with all my respect, not a very good seminar.

  26. jrronzani says:

    Jan brings lot’s of fun to the table which relieves some of the pressures we go through everyday. Jan is full of personal stories that all have great life lessons. The cocktail party was very silly but it was a great exercise. Every gathering I attend from now on I’ll be having flashbacks about this night and maybe I won’t be so stressed out when I’m in a big crowd of important people.

  27. Ms. Nagel’s experience in Networking can not be matched, but perhaps it is that experience which makes her advice seem dated to my fellow students. Her basic advice is still sound. Interpreting it and applying it to today’s market is our job (not hers.) So start making professional friendships, and make sure you are genuine in how you represent yourself, your interests and your skillset … so you don’t end up taking the first job, but holdout for the right job. It’s like a Love in that the quicker you fall in, the quicker you’ll fall out.
    BTW – Ms. Nagel’s in-class exercise never had a chance. Once the ambulance arrived students were just not able to focus on the pseudo cocktail party scenario.

    • elisabethmann says:

      Well, I don’t know why that couldn’t have been worked into the role playing conversation…life happens….

  28. Sijia Huang says:

    I enjoy Jan’s seminar a lot. She is a great speaker. I learned how to present your idea in public. Her voice and body language is professional. every one will be attracted by her speech.

  29. Zheng Kang says:

    It was a great and helpful seminar I think. Jan is a very charming lady who has a lot of energy. She share lots of stories, and inspired me a lot about building relationship with others. The ideas she showed us how to find a job and how to express yourself are great. I believe I learned something new about network from this seminar.

  30. Amelia says:

    I completely understand where Jan Nagel is coming from because this business is very much about networking, while it should be more focused on craft (as a few of my classmates have stated). That is just the sad truth. I can’t say I truly enjoyed her seminar, though. The mixer was interesting but it actually would have been a better networking experience had I gotten to talk to some of the people in my class about who the REALLY are instead of the names on a card. That would have been interesting, especially if prompted to ask questions I never would have thought about.

  31. Eric Cheng says:

    This seminar is a crazy and fun one. specially the part we get into a fake party with our fake identity and fake objective. I never think a class could be like that.
    I think the most useful stuffs I study from Jan is her manner nor knowledge.
    Frankly speak, At first, it’s a little bite hard for me to handle Jan’s energy, while, I know that if I want to work in big studio, those enthusiasm is something I need to study. I am currently doing an internship, and the atmosphere in company is very different with school. And I feel the most effective way to “get into” that environment is keep being enthusiasm to everyone, every missions.

  32. I may be said that I had…other things…that I had to deal with during the seminar but I can appreciate Jan’s efforts to make us consider the approaches that someone from another career has to consider and how to potentially apply that with our own efforts to reach out and branch out.

    • elisabethmann says:

      No worries, Robert. We are one big happy family and we’ve got your back, and everyone else’s for that matter!

  33. Yawen Zheng says:

    After JAN’s presentation, I feel more confidence and positive. How to talk with people or present yourself is always a hard work for me. she tell us lots of stories and useful tips which is very helpful.

  34. Li,Xia says:

    In this game, everyone focused on the name of the card, however they ignore the most important thing. How is your craft?
    I think that is the most important thing in animation networking.

    By the way. I believe all the relationships is
    “to be known rather than to be validate.”

  35. Reggie says:

    I had the pleasure of being in Jan’s class and working as her SA for the undergrad class. Her talk brings up points that artists should think about when working in the industry. Pitching new shows, being marketable, and networking are just few among the lessons she teach and constantly preaches. It’s all about business, and when my classmates and I graduate, we have to be business savvy in addition to be creative.

  36. Ning Xu says:

    I find Jan’s speech useful but not entirely. I think we need the balance for our self-promote and the building craft. Network is a broad and yet deep topic. I think the most important is how to make general network more efficient.

  37. Ning Xu says:

    Jan’s comment is great, we took her class a year ago, I benefit a lot from her request of Informational interview, I get to interview the people I really want to get to know, and how they work how to break into the industrial. I think meet as many people as you can and keep good relationship with the one you want to keep is very important, but it is not that easy to keep in touch especially in Los Angeles this kind of big city. I also found follow up with the people you met is extremely important too, which is a part people normally ignored or don’t know what to do.

  38. lanzhujian says:

    I agree with Ning 100%. I think the “be there” is the first important thing as networking. Jan give us very good advice on how to “attending the event” and “approaching people”. Information interview is like you have a reason to meet and contact people.

  39. Simo Liu says:

    The game was fun and very practical. It helps me to think about how to communicate and contact people, especially the ones we first meet. I had Jan’s class before. And it really helped me a lot, especially for me,as international student, sometimes, the way of communications are different. Also, to write a properly CV, resume and build a website solve our practical problems to get jobs in the industry.

  40. Frank Gu says:

    We had Jan in our businesses class, and I know she is great. Networking is really important for our career. Especially for the international student like us. I feel we need spend more time with people and working on our networking skill.

  41. Emily Chung says:

    The presentation from Jan is super helpful! The game is fun ,too.

  42. Chaoqi Zhang says:

    JAN NAGEL, Long time no see, interesting speaking as usual, the network game is fun, a little bit embarrassing in the beginning, but see the power of the connection to achieve personal success.

  43. Fan Feng says:

    Networking is so important, but somehow the animators are living alone or in a corner doing animation. This was so good chance to get know more networking. I need to go out more not just drawing in cubical.

  44. I really enjoyed just watching her talk and presenting her charisma. It is fascinating to see people who work on their personality to conquer to world outside, and she seemed to me to be one of those. She reminded us about the importance of networking and having in general good relations with other people. I cant wait to have the classes with her in the third hear. Thank you

  45. Ruthie Williams says:

    Jan Nagel does have a very anecdotal style of teaching that can feel meandering, and I can identify with the other comments here that express feeling difficulty relating to them. But I do think she made a great point in saying that the key to networking is being able to take an interest in other people, to which I would add, even when it is challenging or you don’t have anything in common. I noticed when we played the networking game that even though it was a simulation and we are all in fact animators and students and have a lot in common, the diversity of job title cards in the game forced me out of my comfort zone of conversation. The game reminded me of instances when I have been with people outside of DADA and entertainment in general and I have to let go of topics that feel most comfortable to me and approach conversation more broadly. Overall this was a fun talk and it was nice to get out of our chairs 🙂

  46. elisabethmann says:

    Nice summary Ruthie!

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