I read a book on networking once and realized it didn’t have exactly the information I needed for my own career. But there was some sage advice that could be adapted.
Let’s look at several options for networking in the film industry.
Might seem obvious.
It does make a difference on which networking event you attend.
When I first moved to Georgia, I jumped at the chance to go to meet folks in the industry. I literally went to the first one I saw. It was at some studio and sounded legit. People were encouraged to go up to this microphone, introduce themselves, and mingle afterward. It was so awkward. Everyone there was someone who wanted a job, not anyone who could actually offer one. I ended up making one connection, who ended up humble bragging into making me believe he knew what he was doing. I wasted time prepping a film that fell apart the day before the shoot and I found out they lied and misled about everything. I had to block this person on every form of social media as they got a bit stalkery.
So choose accordingly. As a general rule, networking events shouldn’t charge much if anything to its participants. I was at an event that charged $10 to attendees which wasn’t bad. Look at the event, where it is held, and what exactly they’re offering. It may also be helpful to go to more specific events that cater to more narrow criteria, like one specifically for women film makers.
Here are a few upcoming networking events you may want to check out:
April 1 – Class In Session: Creative Industry Mixer & Panel – Free
March 23 – Atlanta Film Production Group – Film Mixer – $10
Other events to look out for in the future:
WIFTA open networking events (open to members and non-members)
Atlanta Film Society‘s Eat Drink and B- Indie Networking events.
It’s not all about networking, sometimes it’s just about making a connection.
Film Bar Mondays – Set at a different bar each week, Film Bar is an informal meetup.
Film Brunch Sundays – Another super informal meetup.
Atlanta Script Reading Club – A group of people get together to read and discuss scripts. It’s a new group but I like their chutzpah. They cover screenplays and plays.
Maybe check out some groups on something like Meetup.com as well!
I know I’m not the only one who attended SCAD or a similar film school and referred to it as “Networking School” It really was a trial by fire situation. You quickly built your favored group of film people and made films together. Some of those connections would go on to last into your professional career.
But this isn’t a post about film school. You can see that post here.
Let’s talk about other educational opportunities. A simple Google search or Facebook event search will show you courses and panels you can attend either virtually or in person.
For an entry level course, I’ve heard really good things about both the PA Academy and the Georgia Film Academy, plus I’ve run into graduates on films I’ve worked. Clearly something is working.
Atlanta Film Society hosts a number of great events you can learn from, such as their writing classes, panel discussions and film screenings.
- PA Academy
- Georgia Film Academy
- Atlanta Film Society – The Screenwriting Series
Another great way to meet people is at film festivals or screenings! Talk to panelists after a discussion, research filmmakers and talk to them about their work, meet your fellow audience members, go to a social event connected to the film festival. Come equipped with business cards (yes I’m old school) or an easy to share Instagram or Facebook handle so you can connect with people after the event.
I got to DP The Night Courier because the director and I met at a film festival. We contacted each other outside the film festival and said, almost simultaneously, “Hey I liked your film!” and a connection was made. That led to another successful film for both of us.
Working on set
“But I’m trying to network in order to get on set!” You say. I know, it’s a real chicken-and-egg situation.
One great way to meet and network with people in the industry is to actually work on sets, big or small. I’m hard pressed to find a gig I did where I didn’t end up with a phone number, email or Instagram of someone who wanted to work together or connect again in the future.
I did a lot of the work for you here. Now it’s your turn. Go out and make those connections!