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.

WTF?

(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.

Why?

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.”


Networking With The Film Lobby

If you want to make a movie, you can’t do it alone. Networking – Creating and cultivating relationships within the filmmaking community is essential for your success. Today’s guest article comes from Jonny Morgan, owner of the new online community called the Film Lobby.

Networking With The Film Lobby

Listening to any podcasts, reading any articles or taking advice from others there is one thing that raises it’s head time and time again. The importance of networking. The old adage “you only get one chance to make a first impression” is as important when networking through online social media as it is when attending face to face networking events.

The image you present of yourself should be professional, succinct, consistent, thoroughly up to date and showcasing the best of every talent you possess. Yes there are a myriad choices of social platforms out there, some that can be used personally, some professionally. My advice is to keep the two separate. You don’t wear a suit going to he gym!

My friend Melissa Cantatore is an actress working and living in LA and she strives relentlessly in the pursuit of securing continuous work. Melissa promotes herself as much as possible through her management, agent and by searching out and responding to casting calls herself. Together we designed a website for her, printed up business cards and created a profile on www.thefilmlobby.com.

Remarkably soon after that, two time Oscar winner Ron Judkins saw her online, auditioned her via Skype and she landed a roll in his new film which he wrote and directed, “Neighbours”. With online social networking combined with persistence and professionalism you, like Melissa, can succeed.

So what are your choices? What are your skilled areas and what is the best platform for you? Some may think “well IMDB is great if you’ve made it, MySpace is best for music, Facebook is good for friends and fan pages, Twitter lets me follow my heroes but what is best for me as an establishing OR established professional artist?”

The Film Lobby is an intuitive, free, easy to use platform on which you can showcase your image, photographs, music, reel, shorts, podcast, blog, audio all in the same arena. A platform where you can learn and contribute through forums, search through castings in your area, post castings to help forward your project and mingle with like minded professionals. Join free at www.thefilmlobby.com, professional networking for film makers. The very best if luck to you.

 

How To Make A YouTube Channel

Logo YouTube

YouTube Image via Wikipedia

I often receive emails from filmmaking subscribers  asking how they can get their work produced and seen. My response is – grab a camera and find out how to make a YouTube channel.

The reasons I emphasize YouTube is because, it’s global, owned by Google (making it a huge search engine) and because the site has a social networking component built in.

Here are the steps on how to Make a YouTube Channel:

  1. Go to YouTube
  2. Click on  “Create Account.”
  3. Once signed in, Click: “Upload”

Start uploading your short movies. Also, if you already have a YouTube channel, feel free to share your YouTube links in the comment section below.

Source Your Audience

Given the changes in movie distribution and the fragmentation of audiences around the globe, you are now responsible for sourcing, engaging and building relationships with your audience.

While sourcing and engaging your customer is a new process for filmmakers, most traditional businesses have been managing their own marketing, sales and distribution for years. So the good news is, the model is already out there. You just need to apply it to your filmmaking business.

Here are five tools you should utilize to help you market and sell your movies.

  1. Website for your production company.
  2. Separate websites for each movie.
  3. Opt-in form to capture visitor info.
  4. Social networking profiles for your production company and each movie.
  5. An awesome trailer, complete with a call to action title card.

If you don’t have a website, check out my affiliate (they pay me to promote) at www.MovieSiteHost.com. If you do have a website, but you have no way to get visitors on your list, check out my other affiliate at www.AudienceList.com

And in the event that you forget everything else about filmmaking success, you must not forget the importance of you audience. Your audience is your business. Without an audience, you have no business.

If you want more info on any of these topics, you might want to download your free filmmaking tools.

Why Do Filmmakers Need A List?

Like it or not, many social networking sites run the risk of going out of vogue. So as a filmmaker, if you are working to build a relationship with your audience – From day one, you will want to migrate your fans off the social networking sites and get them into your own email, mailing list.

For this, I recommend using a reputable third-party email marketing service such as www.AudienceList.com.

In full disclosure, the company does pay me to promote, but it is the company I utilize for my own business.

With this tool, as soon as you sign up for one of their inexpensive accounts, you can easily create ways for your movie fans to connect with you. For an example of how this works, STOP: If you would like over $47 dollars in useful filmmaking tools for FREE, sign up below:

 

If you just clicked that link, you probably got an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Assuming you clicked, you were then redirected to a “Thank You Page.” And on that page you were able to download all sorts of premium filmmaking tools, for free. This is what legitimate email marketers call the “double-opt-in” process.

While I am obviously utilizing list-building to create a more meaningful relationship with filmmakers (and YOU), this model can be (and should be) applied to your own movie business.

The major difference between email marketing and traditional movie marketing methods is that members of your target audience find you, and give YOU permission to email them. This is important, because unlike traditional movie marketing methods, with email marketing, you will only communicate with people actually interested in your movie.

To make this easy, your audience list is simply a collection of email addresses. Most filmmakers will also collect the person’s first name with the email address so that they can personalize the email. So instead of saying “Hello Zombie Movie Lover”, you can say “Hey, Jason!”

While I usually stick to just collecting a name and email address, www.AudienceList.com also makes it easy to collect information such as the address and phone number of your site visitor. While this extra information may help refine your  marketing strategy – the truth is, most of your movie website visitors will not take time to fill out an extensive opt-in form.

An opt-in form is a little box that asks visitors to provide you with their name and email address. Here is an example:

 

With services like www.AudienceList.com, as soon as your visitor opts-in, the contact information is added to your database and managed for you, automatically! These subscribers are now part of your “list,” and you can email them with updates, deals and movie festival screening times – to name a few examples.

The other week I gave a talk at the UCLA film school. And someone asked me why I emphasize audience list building so much – So this is important. Given the disruption to traditional distribution sales channels, building an audience list for your movie and your career might be one of the most important decisions you ever make. Why? Because regardless of how the independent movie industry changes, one constant will always hold true. YOU will need to get people to sit down and watch your movie, and hopefully pay you for this privilege. www.AudienceList.com can help you get started.