Following on from my Top 5 Social Media Mistakes, today’s tips focus on REAL LIFE networking, both in creating relationships with others (and doing your research), as well as investing in yourself.
I hate networking. If there was anything I could change about the film industry, it would be that. But, unfortunately, networking is vital in getting known and recognised. Because I know what it is to be an introvert in an industry of extroverts, here are a couple of tricks for easy networking.
1) Don’t be afraid to talk and ask questions
I finally have accepted that I don’t have all the answers, nor do I know everyone. In order expand my own knowledge and meet people, I have to ask questions no matter how stupid they may seem. They can be as innocuous as, “what is the difference between visual effects (VFX) and special effects (SFX)?” to “how did you get your role at X company?” By starting a conversation, you create a dialogue and; therefore, a professional relationship.
TOP TIP: So, talk! Don’t be afraid to approach people! You never know who you’ll meet. And if you make a complete fool of yourself, the worst that can happen is you’ve made an impression. MORE: Why Writer Luck Is More Than Throwing Spaghetti At The Wall
2) Never forget business cards
It may come off as pretentious to whip out little pieces of cardboard, but why else did you order them? It doesn’t come across as pretentious. It comes across as prepared, and the person you hand the card to has no excuse to forget you or your name. Just make sure to get their contact information, too.
If you are lucky enough to receive a business card, always email them with a “pleasure to meet you” note or the like to establish a relationship.
TOP TIP: Whip it out! Stock your wallet with business cards and hand them out. At the very least, the sooner you run out, the sooner you can redesign your card. MORE: 7 Writing Reminders
3) Go to any and every event you can
You heard it here first: no one is going to even know to hire you if you stay home and not go out schmoozing. I know it can be quite an undertaking to drag yourself to an event after a long day at work, but I have never regretted meeting someone new even if I have dreaded going out.
If you see a meet up or party for filmmakers, you know that you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people, and even if going out isn’t your thing, events are never short of creative material. As a writer/producer, I have heard countless gems that have weaved their way into scripts, stories, and short films.
TOP TIP: So strap on your party shoes and rub elbows! MORE: The Dos & Don’ts of Networking At Events Like LondonSWF
4) Don’t be afraid of social media, but don’t be reckless!
The world is getting much smaller with the use of social media. If you can effectively maneuver in the labyrinth of the internet, the world is your oyster. Social media has a deep impact when putting together a new project whether it’s collaborating, crowdsourcing, or crowdfunding.
However, always make sure if someone wants to hire you via Twitter/Facebook, etc, you vet them and research the other side. Some people out there use the computer screen as a shield to take advantage of people or manipulate. Trust your gut when this happens.
TOP TIP: Get clicking and researching! MORE: 3 Quick, Useful And FREE Ways For Writers to Stay Up-To-Date
5) Be prepared to invest in yourself
The film industry is not a cheap one, and it is a long term investment whether it’s working on set for free, giving your time, or paying for copious amounts of coffee.
Being a production assistant (P.A.) is far from glamorous, but there is no better way to get your feet wet than “learning by doing.” When starting out, don’t shun work just because it’s for free if you can get an education. You’re learning tips, tricks, what to do, and what not to do.
If you’re a writer, screenplay competitions are a great way of getting exposure.
TOP TIP: The more you invest in yourself, the more it will pay off.
I hope these quick tips and tricks help you network in an industry that is all about presence and exposure. Good luck out there, fellow filmmakers.
Thanks Alison and everyone at CrowdSource Studios!
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