Tips for Film Networking

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“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” – Just about everyone

Nothing too earth-shattering about that quote. You’ve probably heard it a hundred times while trying to find work in the film industry, or any creative industry really. You may have a great voice, an incredible eye, or a tremendous wit. But if you can’t get in front of the right people, you may be stuck entertaining friends and family while working a “real” job.

It’d be a shame to waste that talent, right? But if it was easy to get in front of the decision-makers, sell your movie, and get it made in time for Oscar season, everyone would do it! It takes time, determination, a thick skin, and time. Yes, we mentioned it twice because it takes time to build the connections you need to gain a foothold in the entertainment business.

Film Networking 101

Film Connection students and mentors at Dances with Films film festival project: Doucheaholics | Guerilla FilmsBuilding relationships is rule No. 1 when you’re trying to start a film career–it is definitely not an introvert’s game. If you find yourself blending in with the wallpaper at parties, you’ll need to learn how to break out of that shell. At least in short bursts. Taking advantage of networking opportunities is how you can make your own luck.

We understand that not everyone can be a smooth operator when it comes to literally talking with strangers. But the more you make the effort, the easier it’ll get–just remember to be yourself (another cliche we know). Maybe your quirkiness will hit the right person the right way.

There is no hard and fast way of meeting people, but there are a few things you can do to make the experience more pleasurable for you and the person you’re trying to network with.

  1. Read the room – Learn to take visual (and verbal) cues. If you’ve worn out your welcome after a few seconds, take the L, move on, and try to learn from it. But if you’re getting a nibble, it’s okay to linger.
  2. Let the conversation breathe – There’s no reason to go for the jugular from the start. If there’s someone you’re coming to see specifically, do a little research and lead with anecdotes that play to their interests. And let the conversation grow organically.
  3. Listening is just as valuable as talking – There’s a general ratio when it comes to talking to others you’re trying to influence: listen twice as much as you talk. And this doesn’t mean waiting for your turn to talk. Really listen to what they’re saying. You may learn a thing or two.
  4. Make the most of your opportunities – When it’s your turn, talk yourself up without being conceited. Don’t drone on about your accomplishments, but how your skills may be of use to them. Getting technical can work if you’re feeling that vibe. Then give them the opportunity to take your business card (have plenty on hand) and ask for one in return.
  5. Help them out – If it comes up in conversation that they’re in need of a good camera operator, and you know of one, share that information. You’ll help them, your friend, and yourself by showing you’re a team player–and maybe they’ll return the favor. It’s also another way to trade contact information.

Film Networking Events

So where can you go to meet the movers and shakers? From Portland, OR, to Portland, ME, there are literally millions of search results for “film networking events” online. Producers, writers, filmmakers, and others get together to talk about film projects they’re working on, trying to sell, or trying to get made.

Or maybe they just want to stay in touch with those they’ve developed strong relationships with. These and other film related events (film festivals for example) are a great way to remain in touch with others in the industry. This includes getting online and joining social media groups and other online gathering spaces to keep you in the know.

These are the places where you can start building your own solid network of valuable connections. Show up, make yourself visible, and really make the effort to meet someone new. These are also great opportunities to find those who could help you make your movie, or offer solutions to difficult problems you’re having.

The point is to immerse yourself in the industry whenever you can. You may not be living in Los Angeles or New York, but people are making movies, documentaries, TV shows, and videos throughout the U.S. Find those people and start making connections. Or let Film Connection do the heavy lifting for you.

We Bring Film Networking to You

Film Connection places you in the middle of a production company where you learn one-on-one with a mentor in a fully immersive environment. You’ll be learning from inside a studio, on location, or wherever your mentor needs you. You’ll learn how films, shows, and videos get made today and make many connections along the way.

It’s something film schools just can’t offer. Sure, they may bring a guest speaker for an hour or two or let you sign up for a lab once a week. But they’ll also cost you up to four years of your life and entirely too much money. And when you’re done, how many connections will have you made?

With Film Connections, those networking opportunities are built in. And after 6-9 months, you’ll have the experience and skill set producers looking for. The film industry can be notoriously difficult to break into–we give you a seat at the table from day one. Are you ready to make connections in the film industry? Apply today.

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