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How To Build A Powerful Hollywood Network

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!

hollywood network,networking in the movie business
How To Build A Powerful Hollywood Network

One way to gain credibility is to know someone who knows someone willing to make a warm introduction.

An excellent way to meet these people is to attend 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.

  1. The Berlin film market, the EFM (February)
  2. The Cannes Marche du Film (May-ish)
  3. 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 tells you his story. Your job is to listen, ask questions, and get to know Bob. 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 always reach out to everyone who gave me a card, from the top 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 figure something out”. 

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.” 

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.

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 reaching out to people.

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 it is specific to the AFM, it contains secrets for navigating all markets.

Follow the steps, and you’ll be well on your way to building your robust network in the movie biz.

Questions About Movie Biz Networking?

Networking is key to making it in the movie business. Whether you’re new or experienced, knowing how to build and maintain connections can open doors for you. Here are some simple questions and answers to help you better network in the film industry.

Why is networking important in the movie business?

Networking is important because it helps you find job opportunities, meet collaborators, get investors, and learn about what’s happening in the industry.

How can I start building my network in the film industry?

Start at film festivals, industry events, and markets like AFM or Cannes. Use social media to connect with film professionals and join online groups.

What should I do at film festivals to network effectively?

Be friendly, introduce yourself, exchange business cards, and follow up after the event. Have a short pitch ready about your projects and goals.

How can social media help with networking?

Social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram help you connect with film professionals, share your work, and stay updated on industry news.

What are some tips for maintaining professional relationships?

Follow up with your contacts, offer help when you can, and be genuine. Keep your network updated on your projects and progress.

How do I add value in my networking interactions?

Share your skills, give useful information, introduce your contacts to each other, and show real interest in others’ work.

What mistakes should I avoid when networking?

Don’t be too self-promotional, forget to follow up, or fail to listen and show interest in others. Also, don’t ask for favors right away.

Glossary

Here are some key terms about networking in the movie business. Knowing these terms will help you build a strong network.

Networking: Connecting with industry professionals to find opportunities and work together on projects.

Film Festivals: Events where filmmakers show their work, meet other filmmakers, and attend talks and workshops.

Social Media: Online platforms to connect with others, share your work, and engage with a wider audience.

Follow-Up: Contacting people after meeting them to keep and strengthen your relationship.

Pitch: A short presentation of your movie project idea to get others interested.

Business Cards: Small cards with contact info you give at networking events.

Industry Events: Gatherings of film professionals for networking, learning, and showing their work.

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ARTICLE BY Tom Malloy

Tom Malloy is a film producer, actor, and writer. Over the course of his career, he has raised over twenty-five million dollars to produce, and distribute multiple feature films. If you're ready to "level up" your film producing, make sure to check out Movie Plan Pro. The video training and downloadable film business plan template will provide you with the same tools Malloy uses when approaching prospective film investors.