You’re not alone if you’re wondering how to network in the movie business. I have mentioned this many times in my filmmaking courses, and the good news is that if you’re committed to meeting new people and learning new stuff, you can quickly grow your network in the movie business.
This may seem easier said than done. You probably had the experience of trying to get the attention of an industry executive or high net-worth individual, and they don’t return your call. This is nothing personal. It’s a byproduct of your lack of credibility. But you can fix that!
One way to gain credibility is by knowing someone who knows someone willing to make a warm introduction. An excellent way to meet these people is by attending film festivals and markets. These events allow you to meet and make friends with distributors, sales agents, and other industry executives.
Networking In The Movie Business
There are three film markets, and you’ll have the opportunity to make great contacts.
- The Berlin film market, the EFM (February)
- The Cannes Marche du Film (May-ish)
- The American Film Market, (November)
When you attend these markets, you can’t be shy. I’m not saying you need to be the life of the party, but you do need to introduce yourself and meet people. One way to do this is to focus on the other person. When you approach someone, say something like:
“What brings you to the market, Bob?”
Then Bob gives you his story. Your job is to listen and ask questions. Get to know Bob. And if you hit it off, Bob will likely ask you about your story. Assuming good energy is in the conversation, ask for Bob’s business card.
Sometimes I get cards or contact info, and I don’t know if we can work on anything together. But I follow up with every card, the top cards, all the way down to the bottom.
Relationship Focused Networking
I can attribute 95% of my success to my follow-up. It takes persistence to go through every single card and personally email everyone I meet, one by one. Even if I don’t know what 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 call and try to figure it out. There have been times when 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 Hollywood Network in the movie biz.
Here’s a quick video on building a Hollywood network:
Grow Your Hollywood Network
The remarkable result is gaining a more extensive and influential network as you meet more people. And people say to me, “Tom, you seem to know everybody.” I know many people because I’m friendly and outgoing, and, most importantly, I’m getting those cards and following up.
Another excellent method is to know people who are “connectors.” These people can connect you to someone in THEIR Hollywood network. So if you meet someone who seems to know many people, that’s great! Now you’ve associated with that person and are one degree away from everyone they know.
If you want more specific market training, 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 robust network in the movie biz.