Building a powerful network in the motion picture industry is essential for you to push your filmmaking career forward. This is something that I’ve stressed, multiple times.
If you are in the right places and you meet the right people, and then you follow up with those people, that can lead to an incredible career and success for you.
So let’s talk about where you’re gonna meet these people. Film festivals are a great place to meet people that are working in the business. But if you want to go one level up from film festivals, that’s when you go to markets.
Which Markets Should You Attend to Build Your Powerful Network?
There are film markets peppered throughout the year and you’re going to make incredible contacts at all of them. That said, there are three major film markets:
- The Berlin film market, the EFM (February)
- The Cannes Marche du Film (May – normally)
- The American film market, the AFM.
You can’t be shy. Now, you don’t have to be the life of the party, but you do need to introduce yourself and meet people. Say things like:
“Hey, tell me about what you do, Bob.” Then Bob gives you his story and you give your story to Bob. After that, you say, “Let me get your card.”
Here’s a quick video on building a powerful network in the film biz:
There are times when I get cards or contact info, and I don’t know if there’s anything we can work on together. But what I do then with every card, the top cards, all the way down to the bottom is I follow-up.
Relationships Are Built In The Follow-Up
I can attribute 95% of my success to my follow-up. And while it takes persistence to go through every single card and personally email everyone I met, one by one. Even if I don’t know what I’m going to do with that person, I say, “Let’s talk. Maybe there’s a way we can synergize”.
Then I’ll set up a meeting or I’ll set up a call and try to figure it out. There have been times where I’ve even gone to lunch meetings and we sat and we even say to each other, “I don’t think that we’re doing the same kind of stuff, but maybe we will find something in the future.”
Then six months down the road, some specific type of project comes up and I go, “Oh my gosh, I should call Bob.” That’s the benefit of having a Powerful Network in the movie biz.
The Result Of Your Work
The great result is that the more people you meet, you should gain a bigger and more powerful network. And people say to me, “Tom, you seem to know everybody.” I know a lot of people because I’m friendly, I’m outgoing, and, most importantly I’m getting those cards and I’m following up.
Another great method is to know people who are “connectors.” These people can connect you to someone in THEIR powerful network. So if you meet someone who seems to know a lot of people, that’s great! Now you’re connected with that person, and you’re one degree away from everyone that he or she knows.
If you want more specific training on the markets, check out my video series on the AFM Action Plan. Though this is specific to the AFM, it contains secrets to navigate all markets. Follow the steps, and you’ll be well on your way to building your own powerful network in the movie biz.