Just had a visit from a vendor selling service. Like all vendor presentations, it was nice and collegial. We traded cards, we drank coffee and they showed me a powerpoint presentationt that was reasonably well done.
There was nothing earth-shattering to commend this vendor over any other, but I may use them for work at some point.
It got me to thinking though that there has to be a better way to get business. Build relaationships before saying "Will you hire me?"
I think this goes for entertainment companies as well, but how to begin building a relationship?
I have always heard that an amateur artist copies, but a mature artist steals. Maybe that's true, but we all have a moral repugnance to imitating someone else's work. Imitiation, of course, is the highest form of flattery.
Flip this around for a moment though - what if, instead of imitation, you think of it as an homage to another artist's work. That makes it more palatable. Why would I say to do this? Well, unless you have a sigbnature style that people are going to seek out, then you have a couple of options. One is to work in a world the people already like (for example - take over drawing X-men or write a Forgotten Realms novel). This is a hard one to break into sometimes. The second option is to write/draw/produce something that feels familiar to people. The way Starcraft was familiar to Warcraft players and a million other RTS games were familiar to the same people. The same way Joe Abercrombie feels familiar to readers of George RR Martin. After the familiarity phase, people begun to trust the Joe Abercombie's to be as entertaining and satisfying as the Geroge RR Martins and the new relationship is good to go!
So don't imitate...homage! Build a relationship - then try and sell, but only sell stuff they want. Sell what they need, not because you need it.