How To Network In Hollywood (Or anywhere, really)

The other night, I was at some party. I didn’t know a lot of people, but this is nothing new.

Learning how to network in Hollywood, or anywhere really is one of  the most important skills you can refine. Besides, meeting new people is fun. It leads to new ideas and new opportunties.

But every so often, you will meet a jerk or two .

That is exactly what happened when I walked into a conversation where this guy was bragging about his shoes. Something about Italian leather or some crap.

Anyway, as the conversation shifted from shoes to the movie industry, I started to chime in about video on demand distribution.

And do you know what?

This guy…

He totally looked down at my shoes. He noticed my low top Converse and literally cut me off mid-sentence.


(I promise this is not a segue into a fashion blog…)

But here’s the fun part. Later in the evening, I guess somebody tells this guy that I’m connected… That I know people. That maybe I can introduce him to people who could help him in his career.

So this filmmaker comes up to me and actually starts talking about a movie idea.

Pretty silly. No thanks.

I don’t think him and I will ever do business together.


Frankly, because I don’t like him. He made a poor judgement on how to treat me.

This is an example of BAD NETWORKING

Here is a video on how I thought about Hollywood before I got into the game.

A lot of filmmakers visit LA, wondering how to network in Hollywood. Before I get too far into some awesome networking tips, let me clarify something.

You don’t have to be in Hollywood to make movies!

But if your goal is to make movies, you are going to need a way to raise money. And unless you have a rich uncle or an awesome hookup, you’re going to have to do what most unknown filmmakers do… They get out there and they hustle!

Which begs the question:

“How do filmmakers meet and network with rich people?”

Good question.

You will meet rich people through your ever expanding network of awesomeness. In other words, you’re going to make lots of cold calls, take lots of lunches and network!

The following principals will reveal how to network in everyday life. But importantly, they will show you how to network in Hollywood.

Here is the reason you need to learn how to network in Hollywood:

Odds are good that if you make movies, sooner or later you’re going to end up in Hollywood.

Makes sense right?

how to network in Hollywood with Jason Brubaker

How To Network In Hollywood

As you can probably guess, the guy in our previous example needs to learn how to network in Hollywood. (Or anywhere, for that matter.)

And maybe you’ve experienced this type of crap too.

It happens all the time. I mostly see it at film festivals. Somebody approaches you 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.

Avoid becoming a walking business card dispensary”

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.

Focus on 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.

Here is what I learned. Help enough people, and enough people will help you.

Simple, right?

Action Steps

  1. Build a network of like minded individuals.
  2. 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.
  3. Consider taking weekend trips to film festivals and screenings within your proximity. Strike up conversations.
  4. Consider helping as PA for movies in your area.
  5. 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?”

Get Movie MoneyOne 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.

If you’re still trying to find out how to network in Hollywood, or if you are looking for strategies on how to meet and mingle with prospective investors or Hollywood Heavyweights – I recommend you check out my guide focused on: “How To Meet Rich People So You Can Fund Your Movie.”

Who Needs Traditional Distribution?

As a filmmaker, selling your movie usually involves traditional distribution – film festivals, schmoozing, phone calls, follow up and a whole bunch of NOs and crappy distribution offers. And even when you get your movie into the market, there are still no guarantees that your movie will be a success. This can be discouraging.

Earlier today I spoke with to David Branin and Karen Worden of the popular filmmaking resource, Film Courage. After completing their feature film, Goodbye Promise, they decided to forgo film festivals and avoid the typical filmmaker distribution path. Instead they decided on a simple distribution strategy that involved YouTube and the popular crowdfunding site called IndieGoGo.

In the following interview (which was unplanned and unscripted), we talk about our filmmaking backgrounds, the projects we are working on and case studies – Pay special attention when we start talking about case studies related to crowdfunding. We highlight the good and maybe more important, the not-so-good realities of trying to raise money

You can check out the interview here:

After watching the interview, you can contribute to the Goodbye Promise Indiegogo campaign.

Was this video useful? Comments are welcome.


Why Filmmakers Fail At Film Festivals

Do you ever wonder why filmmakers fail at film festivals? I have been speaking at quite a few film festivals. And what I find is, many filmmakers are still stuck in an old paradigm that no longer exists. In the past, most filmmakers dreamed of getting their movies seen and sold at festivals, followed by a 3 picture deal. But the reality is, these types of deals are rare.

What is more likely to happen? Nothing.

The biggest reason filmmakers fail at film festivals is because they are waiting for someone else to give them permission to start marketing and selling their movie!

I know this type of filmmaking article is not as sexy as telling you: “You can do it!” Or “Go make a movie and get rich!” If you want that sort of thing, you should probably just ignore me and tune into the gazillion other  filmmaking websites that outright fib to you. I would rather see you make a movie and actually have a shot at quitting your day job.

The truth is, there are nearly 50,000 feature films made each year. Out of those titles, only a very small hand-full get picked up by a traditional distributor. And many of those traditional deals promise iTunes, Hulu and AmazonMarketplaces that you can access yourself!

So what can you do to create a solid plan for your own filmmaking success? That was a question asked of me by Nic Baisley at the First Glance Film Festival. Here is the video of my interview:

My ongoing goal is to help you help yourself.  Due to increased competition as well as the demise of retail distribution, the world of indie filmmaking has changed. There are a lot of movies competing for eyeballs out there. As a result, you have to change the way you make, market and sell movies.

Repeat after me: “My audience is my business. Without an audience, I have no business. As a serious filmmaker, I am responsible for sourcing my own audience.”

Also – if you know a film festival director, ask him or her to invite Jason Brubaker to speak.


Film Festival Directory

Film festivals provide an invaluable way for filmmakers to get movies in front of an audience. Additionally, garnering acceptance to the various film festivals can provide avenues for networking, career promotion and a rare, but possible a three-picture deal.

A few months back, we reached out to our Filmmaking Stuff Newsletter subscribers and asked them to recommend their favorite film festivals. The response was overwhelming. In the film festival list that follows, you will find links to over 200 of the the top film festivals in the world.

One more thing – CLICK HERE TO TWEET

Film Festivals | The Filmmaking Stuff Top Picks

$100 Film Festival
168 Hour Film Project
3 Americas Film Festival
AFI Dallas International Film Festival
AFIA Film Festival
Alice’s 3-Minute Film Festival
All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival
American Black Film Festival
Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival
Ann Arbor FIlm Festival
Armenian Film Festival
Ashland Independent Film Festival
Aspen Shortsfest
Atlanta Film Festival
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
Atlanta Philosophy Film Festival
Austin Film Festival
Avignon Film Festival
Barcelona Asian Film Festival
Bare Bones Film Festival
Berkshire Film Festival
Berlin And Beyond
Berlin International Film Festival
Bermuda International Film Festival
Beverly Hills Film Festival
Big Screen Symposium
Boston Underground Film Festival
Boulder International Film Festival
Breckenridge Film Festival
British Film Festival, Los Angeles
Brooklyn International Film Festival
Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival
Byron Bay Film Festival
CA Independent Film Festival
Cancun International Film Festival
Cannes International Film Festival
Cape Winelands Film Festival
Celtic Films and Television Festival
Charleston International Film Festival
Chicago International Documentary Festival
Chicago Latino Film Festival
Cincinnati Film Festival
Cinema Science Festival
Cinequest Film Festival
CineVegas Film Festival
Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Crossing Europe: Film Festival Linz
Culture Unplugged Film Festival
Culver City Film Festival
Dance on Camera Festival
Dances With Films
Deauville Asian Film Festival
Disposable Film Festival
DIY Film Festival
Downbeach Film Festival
Downtown Film Festival
Drive-In Film Festival
East Lansing Children’s Film Festival
East Lansing Film Festival
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Edmonton International Film Festival
Era New Horizons International Film Festival
Estes Park Film Festival
European Spiritual Film Festival
Fantasia Film Festival
Fantasporto – Oporto International Film Festival
Fantastic Planet: Sydney International Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival
Festival du nouveau cinema – Montreal
Festival International du Film d’Amour de Mons
Festroia- International Film Festival
Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights
Film Series at Cine Gear Expo
Film Skillet International Short Film Contest
Fipa – International Festival of Audiovisual Programs
FirstGlance Film Fest Hollywood
Flickerfest International Short Film Festival
Florida Film Festival
Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
Fribourg International Film Festival
Future Film Festival
Gasparilla International Film Festival
Gatlinburg Screenfest
Gen Art Film Festival
Gene Siskel Film Center’s Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video
Gerardmer Fantasy Film Festival
GI Film Festival
Glasgow Film
Glasgow Film Festival
Goteborg Film Festival
Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival
Helsinki International Film Festival
Hola Mexico Film Festival
Hollywood Black Film Festival
Hot Docs
Houston International Film Festival
Independent Film Series
Independent Television Festival
Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles
Costa Rica International Film Festival
International Family Film Festival
International Film Festival Innsbruck
International Film Festival Rotterdam
International Istanbul Film Festival
Dresden Film Festival
International Wildlife Film Festival
Istanbul Film Festivalil
Jackson Hole Film Festival
Jacksonville Film Festival
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival
Japan Film Festival
Jerusalem International Film Festival
Jewish Arts and Film Festival of Fairfield County
Jewish Film Festival
Kansas City FilmFest
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Keswick Film Festival
Kristiansand International Children’s Film Festival
LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival
LA Shorts Fest
Lady Filmmakers Film Festival
Lake Arrowhead Film Festival
Lake Havasu International Film Festival
Latin American and Caribbean Film Festival
Little Rock Film Festival
London Screenwriters Festival
Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival
Los Angeles Harbor International Film Festival
Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival
Los Angeles United Film Festival
Los Angeles United Film Festival
Madison Horror Film Festival
Malaga Film Festival
Malibu International Film Festival
Maryland Film Festival
Maui Film Festival
Marina del Rey Film Festival
Metro Manila Film Festival
Mexico City International Film Festival
Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
Miami International Film Festival
Milwuakee Film Festival
Minneapolis International Film Festival
Molodist International Film Festival
Mons International Love Film Festival
Moscow Int’l Film Festival
Mountainfilm in Telluride
Nantucket Film Festival
Nashville Film Festival
New York Asian Film Festival
New York International Children’s Film Festival
New York Jewish Film Festival
New York Television Festival
Newport Beach Film Festival
Nile’s Diaspora International Film Festival
Nokia Mobifest
Oberhausen International Short Film Festival
Ohio Independent Film Festival
Omaha Film Festival
Oostende film festival
Open Air Cinema Festival
Open Air Filmfest Weiterstadt
Oslo International Film Festival
Ozark Foothills FilmFest
Palm Beach International Film Festival
Palm Springs International Film Festival
Pan African Film & Arts Festival
Pesaro Film Festival
Philadelphia Independent Film Festival
Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Phoenix Film Festival
Polish Film Festival Los Angeles
Portland International Film Festival
Provincetown International Film Festival
Queens International Film Festival
Reel Time Film Festival
Reel Women International Film Festival
Reel World Film Festival
Rhode Island International Film Festival
Riga Nordic Film Days
River Run International Film Festival
Riverside International Film Festival
Roger Ebert’s Film Festival
Rome Independent Film Festival
Rushes Soho Shorts Festival
S.F. Frozen Film Festival
Sacramento International Film Festival
Salento Fear Fest
San Antonio Film Festival
San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival
San Diego Latino Film Festival
San Francisco Black Film Festival
San Francisco Independent Film Festival
San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival
San Francisco International Film Festival
San Joaquin International Film Festival
San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Santa Clarita Valley Film Festival
Santa Cruz Film Festival
Sarasota Film Festival
Savannah Film Festival
Schermi d’Amore
Science Fiction Short Film Festival
Scotland Intl Horror Film Festival
Seattle International Film Festival
Sedona International Film Festival
Short Horror Filmmaking Competition
Singapore International Film Festival
Slamdance Film Festival
Sofia International Film Festival
Solothurn Film Festival
Sonoma Valley Film Festival
South by Southwest
South East European Film Festival
Spokane International Film Festival
Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
Sunscreen Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival
Syracuse International Film Festival
Tampere International Short Film Festival
Taormina Film Fest
Telluride Film Festival
Temecula Valley International Film & Music Festival
Texandance International Film Festival
The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival
The European Independent Film Festival
The Just For Laughs Film Festival
The Los Angeles Film Festival
The Method Fest Film Festival
The Palm Springs Film Noir Festival
Tiburon International Film Festival
Topanga Film Festival
Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival
Tucson Film and Music Festival
Udine Far East Film Festival
Utopia Film Festival
Vail Film Festival
VCU French Film Festival
Verzaubert Int’l Queer Film Festival
Video Festival Imperia
Virginia Film Festival
Visions du Reel International Film Festival
Viva! Spanish & Latin American Film Festival
Warsaw International Film Festival
Washington D.C. International Film Festival
Waterfront Film Festival
West Chester Film Festival
Whistler Film Festival
White Sands International Film Festival
Williamsburg Film Festival
Wisconsin Film Festival
Women with Vision Film Festival
Woods Hole Film Festival
Woodstock Film Festival
World of Comedy Film Festival
Worldwide Short Film Festival
Zoie Film Festival

If you would like more info on this and other aspects of filmmaking, click here to grab your free filmmaker checklist.

Download The Modern Moviemaking Movement

If you are looking for filmmaking information, make sure you download your free copy of the Modern Moviemaking Movement. In this guide, ten of Hollywood’s most innovative filmmakers provide insight on how to navigate the ever changing world of Independent filmmaking.

Topics covered in this book, include how to write your script, how to raise the money and also, how to implement modern movie distribution strategies.

Here’s an overview of what’s included in this FREE Filmmaking Book! Download here.

  • Uncover Successful, Modern Screenwriting Tips with Jurgen Wolff
  • Find Out How To Make the Most of Movie Money with Norman C. Berns
  • Discover Six Ways to Finance Your Feature Film with Gordon Firemark
  • Bankroll Your Movie with Tom Malloy
  • Get The Inside Scoop On Crowdfunding with Carole Dean
  • Plan Your Production For Maximum Success with Peter D. Marshall
  • Modern Guerrilla Filmmaking with Gary King
  • Navigate Film Festivals and Do Them Right with Sheri Candler
  • Sell Your Movie Without the Middle-Man with Jason Brubaker
  • Know The Producer of Marketing and Distribution and Utilize The New 50/50 with Jon Reiss

This filmmaking book is 100% FREE of charge. Enjoy!

[Download Here]

Seriously. Add this one to your collection of filmmaking books!