In Hollywood, networking consists of breakfasts, lunches, coffees, or drinks. Some executives (including agents and managers) are booked weeks in advance and much of their assistants' time is spent managing and scheduling these networking moments. Whenever I check in with an executive about scheduling a meeting, I am often directed to the assistant who scrolls through the executive's calendar in search of an opening. I may call in September but not get something on the books until November.
When I first came to Hollywood and started working as an assistant in the studio system, I was amazed at the intensity of the networking system. Some assistants, executives, agents and managers build their whole social life around their networking. Their days and weeks and years are filled with meetings and parties. I found that every night could be filled with one or two or even three meetings over drinks. So if you love meeting new people all of the time and filling your days with running around to various meetings then this industry is for you!
Many working in Hollywood are juggling overfilled schedules of meetings. They may like running around to meetings all day, but more often than not, their jobs demand it. Hollywood is built on relationships, talent, and trends. In order to stay on top of it all, you must figure out how to tap into this incredible networking machine that runs Hollywood. It's not hard. Just reach out to others and ask if they would be up for a coffee or a drink.
When starting out, don't aim too high. Schedule meetings with your peers at your level, i.e. if you are an assistant, meet with other assistants. Then work your way up as you gather better and better intel about Hollywood. Never be discouraged if someone blows you off. It's their loss, not yours. And over time, you will figure out what kind of networking system works for you. Personally, I found it difficult to be constantly taking meetings day and night so after a number of years, I slowed my networking down to very essential gatherings. But it took years of me running around to get to the point of feeling comfortable to pull back a bit. Hollywood can enhance your life or it can be your life -- it's your choice.