Building a powerful Hollywood network is essential if you want to film producer. I have mentioned this many times in my filmmaking courses, and the good news is that if you’re dedicated, you can build one. The bad news is it will take time, especially if you don’t have many industry connections.
When you reach out to industry executives and high-net-worth individuals, many will be slow to respond. This is because they don’t yet know you or know of you. And if you’re able to get their attention, they will look to see what you’ve done. They may even check out your social profiles to gauge the size of your network and credibility.
One way to gain credibility is by knowing the right people. An excellent way to meet people who work in the film industry is by attending film festivals and film markets. These events will allow you to meet and make friends with distributors, sales agents, and other industry executives. And the good news is, there are three film markets, and you’ll have the opportunity to make great contacts at all of them.
Major Film Markets:
- The Berlin film market, the EFM (February)
- The Cannes Marche du Film (May – normally)
- The American film market, the AFM.
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 most likely ask you about your story. Assuming there is good energy in the conversation, make sure to ask for Bob’s business card.
There are times when I get cards or contact info, and I don’t know if we can work on anything 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. 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 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 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 Hollywood Network in the movie biz.
Here’s a quick video on building a Hollywood network:
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, outgoing, and, most importantly, I’m getting those cards, and I’m 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 a lot of people, that’s great! Now you’re connected with that person, and you’re one degree away from everyone they know.
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 powerful network in the movie biz.