Picture this. You’re at a film festival party. Someone approaches you, asks your name and immediately asks what you do.
As soon as you tell the other person, there is a beat – A moment or two when the person decides if you are worth his time. If not, then the other person will feign a polite interest in you, look over your shoulder for someone more important to talk to and leave the scene, tossing you a business card on his way out.
Whenever someone mentions the word “networking” the mental picture that comes into focus, often involves an overly energetic schmoozer who hands out business cards like candy. These people typically have their own agenda in mind and could care less about you – unless they could potentially use you.
While this strategy may be utilized by many up-and-coming filmmakers, it won’t be ours.
NETWORKING (For Filmmakers)
In order to avoid becoming a walking business card dispensary, every time you think about networking, I want you to focus on one thing – and one thing only. The other person!
If you like the other person and think they are a nice human being, I want you to always focus on finding ways to help. By helping other people reach their goals, all the lessons we spoke about (rapport, reputation and building relationships) will work in your favor.
Help enough people, and enough people will help you. Simple, right?
- Build a network of like minded individuals.
- If you live in a small town like I did, try to find a local art scene and other local filmmakers.If your area is limited, then contact people through social networking websites.
- Consider taking weekend trips to film festivals and screenings within your proximity. Strike up conversations.
- Consider helping as PA for movies in your area.
- Once you make friends. Go to their screenings. Get business cards. Follow up. Always ask yourself: “What can I do to help this person succeed?”
One of the best parts about working in the movie industry is meeting other like-minded, creative people. If you go out of your way to help other people as much as you can (without allowing other people to take advantage of you), then you’ll be in very good shape when it comes time to create your own projects.
For further reading, I recommend: How to Make it in Hollywood. The book was very helpful when I first moved to New York and networked my way into a development office, working with an indie producer.