How to Network in the Film Industry?

Working as 1st AD (Assistant Director) is Film Connection graduate Shaylah Conley (in green) and the crew of short film “Sweet Lemonade”

How to Network in the Film Industry?

Finding a foothold in the film industry, or many other creative fields, can oftentimes come down to who you know rather than what you know. This can make things pretty frustrating if you’re looking to make a career in the movie-making biz. And while we didn’t make the rules, we can help you play the rules.

Having talent will only get you so far, at least in the beginning. Before you can serve up a hot dish of excellence you’ll need to have a seat at the table. The film industry can be a very tight-knit community: Producers tend to work with certain directors, directors work with their favorite cinematographers, and so on down the line.

5 Tips on How to Network in the Film Industry

  1. Six Degrees of Separation
  2. Talk About Yourself (Without Being a Jerk)
  3. Make Yourself available
  4. Become Part of the Industry
  5. Keep Your Chin Up

Once you’re a part of that line, and you have the drive and determination to match your talent, that’s when you really give yourself a shot to succeed. The prime goal of networking is to establish a connection with an “insider” and prove you belong. The following tips will help get your foot in the door. The rest is up to you.

Working as 1st AD (Assistant Director) is Film Connection graduate Shaylah Conley (in green) and the crew of short film “Sweet Lemonade”1. Six Degrees of Separation

When you build a strong relationship with a professional, you’re also connecting with everyone they know. So they may not have work for you right now, but they might know someone who does. Take those jobs, gain experience, and impress everyone you meet along the way.

And don’t be afraid to try to branch out into other areas. If your goal is to make your own movies, the more gaffers, grips, and gofers you work with will give you a great start when it comes to building your own film crews. Use their experience to your advantage.

2. Talk About Yourself (Without Being a Jerk)

Although it might be tempting to keep your head down and just do the job, remember you’re working with the very people who can help you with your project. Choose the right time and place to bring up your ideas: Talking to a director about your short film during a scene will probably get you booted from the set.

But cordially bringing up your project at the craft service table? A proven winner. Jason Winn, an Atlanta Film Connection mentor, remembers a time when he was a caterer at Universal Studios in Florida.

“We’d ingratiate ourselves to the producers while we were serving them food,” Winn said. “So we were listing all of these ideas, and one of the producers overheard us and started talking to us, and then offered us a meeting. We went in and walked out with 30 grand to make a teaser for a feature.”

3. Make Yourself Available

You need to be with people to meet people. By volunteering at special film screenings, film festivals, and other industry events, you’re putting yourself at ground zero for mingling with others who can help with your film career. Always be ready with a business card, a resume, or links to your work.

Be respectful of others’ time and be responsible for doing the work you’ve signed on for. If the only reason you volunteered was to get the backstage pass, it won’t take long for organizers to realize this and pull your credentials. And word of your flakiness will spread like wildfire.

4. Become Part of the Industry

We understand that you may not be able to throw everything to the wind when finding work in the industry. But you can take the steps necessary to be part of the industry. Guilds, unions, and other such bodies will give you a sense of belonging as well as protect your work, whether it’s been seen or not.

The Writer’s Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild of America, and other organizations were created to help protect intellectual property, reform and prevent unfair labor and wage practices in the film industry. Following these groups and interacting appropriately on social media, as well as attending film networking events are good ways to find an “in” into the film and television industry.

5. Keep Your Chin Up

When it comes to the film industry, everyone wants to be discovered as the next big thing. And if everybody is doing it, that’s a lot of people to contend with during your own journey. We hate to break it to you, but the odds aren’t always going to be in your favor but one way to make sure you’ll never make it in the industry is to give up.

That’s the importance of networking, grinding, working, and never giving up in the film industry. All it takes is one producer, director, or other decision-maker to give you that break. Keep in touch with your network of contacts, keep applying for jobs, and keep grinding. Nobody said it was going to be easy. Even if you are stuck building connections and networking online. These industry connections can be a game-changer.

But Film Connection can make it easier.

With Film Connection Filmmaking school and cinematography school, nearly every training day can bring a new networking opportunity. We place you with a mentor in a production company where you’ll be working with industry professionals every week. Whether it’s being part of the lighting crew, a production assistant, or working any number of other jobs, every day is a new chance to impress and potentially connect with future employers. A four-year film school just can’t give you that kind of access and we do it in just 6-9 months.

Every time you build connections and build relationships, you‘re giving yourself a chance to prove your worth. How will you prove you’ve got what it takes?

Learn the skills you need to take your idea from paper to the big screen.

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