Tips and tricks for filmmaking networking

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I’ve written a lot about what a collaborative medium film is. While it’s possible to make a film by yourself, most people work in tandem with a cast, crew, and creative partners. But how do you make those connections? Here’s a list of tips and tricks for filmmaking networking that will have people lining up to work with you.

Put yourself out there.

Filmmaking networking is just like building any other kind of relationship. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’re not going to be meeting people and forming connections. But how do you meet other filmmakers, especially if you’re not in LA or New York?

Depending on the area you live in, you may have to work hard or be willing to travel a little bit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t meet other filmmakers. Is there a film festival in your area? Even if you don’t have a movie to submit this year, buy a ticket, turn up, and introduce yourself to people. I wrote tips for attending your first film festival here. You can also look online to see if there are any filmmaker meet ups, interest groups, or classes in your area. If you’re a student, see if your school or university has a club. Search Facebook for local or regional filmmaking groups, then try to build connections there. 

You can also put yourself out there by building your own online presence so like minded people can find you more easily. Read my tips for social media and for DIYing your own website here. You’d be surprised how many great connections I’ve made just by putting my work out there and being public about what I’m working on!

Know what you bring to the table.

Knowing your worth is important. What makes you special as a filmmaker? What skills do you have and what resources do you have access to? Who do you know and what makes your work stand out? When you’re networking, you should know what you bring to the table. This isn’t about having an ego or overinflating yourself; this is about knowing what you can offer to others and, conversely, knowing what you might need help with. Are you an amazing DP but struggle with sound? You know who you need to be networking with! Are you a great AD and you’re looking for opportunities? Tell people that! Of course you should never aim to brag, but if you know what you bring to the table, filmmaking networking will be a lot easier and more productive.

Offer to help before you ask for favors.

A lot of times, when people find out you’re an artist, they start asking you for things. I have people approach me all the time asking for me to help with their film, finance their movie, or brainstorm ideas. Sometimes people straight up ask me to write their idea FOR them! While pitching is great, and so is asking for help, you shouldn’t kick off a brand new connection by asking for a bunch of help until you’ve offered to help them in some way. I’m not saying you have to work on set for free for every filmmaker you want to connect with. Supporting them could be as simple as sharing their GoFundMe campaign on social media or showing up when they have a public screening. 

Remember that offering to hire someone and pay them to work on your movie isn’t asking for a favor. It’s giving a new connection a good opportunity. 

Be someone people want to work with.

When I say “be someone people want to work with,” I don’t mean you should pretend to be someone you’re not. I also don’t mean to deny the reality that straight white cis able bodied men have a serious advantage when it comes to getting work in this industry. Unfortunately, that’s the reality of the film industry, and while we can all work together for change, there is nothing you can do about individuals that are not going to hire you for bigoted reasons.

When I say “be someone people want to work with,” I’m talking about the things that are in your control. You can be hardworking, honest, kind, dependable, and respect boundaries. You can commit to following through on your promises, showing up for people when they need you, and doing your best on every project. When you meet people at festivals or other events, you can show interest in their work and them as a person.  

I hope this helps! Happy networking!

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Author

Molly is an author, screenwriter, blogger, and brand manager for New 32 Productions. They are passionate about sharing content that helps filmmakers live a more productive, informed, and well-balanced life. They live in North Carolina with their spouse and way too many dogs.

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