Filip writes: I was wondering if you could offer any advice on strategies for staying in touch with people over long periods of time. I mean, it's one thing to send them a follow-up email after you've just had a meeting with them, but six, ten, fourteen MONTHS down the line, it's a little more difficult to send a legitimate "Here's an innocent advice-question-and-by-the-way-how-are-you?" email. I understand you've been keeping in touch with people - any tips on how to do so in a polite, professional, and memorable way?
It's tough, especially when the person is a former supervisor or some kind of higher-up writer or exec. I've definitely struggled with how to do this. I think it helps to focus on successes: keep up with what the person's done, what their company has set up, scripts that have sold, movies that have come out, shows that have gotten picked up, that sort of thing. Who doesn't like to open an email of congratulations? I guess if the people don't have a lot of press about them or their companies, it's harder...but you can maybe ask what they've got going on. Also try to keep it short, maybe just a couple sentences. People in Hollywood sift through hundreds of emails a day and definitely don't want to read novelistic ones.
If they don't answer, they don't answer - not every contact you make is going to come through for you. But it's worth a shot.