filmmaker networking dos and don’ts – Part 1

film networking

As a BAFTA member and a film producer, I’ve attended many film networking events over the years. It always amazes me how unprepared many filmmakers are when I proactively approach them. Some get intimidated; some are shy to talk about themselves and their projects, while most are just clueless at what networking is and how to use it.

Now this is inexcusable. As filmmakers who are establishing themselves, you need to seize every opportunity at talking about, pitching and even promoting yourself. It might look like shameless trumpet blowing to some, but then they are not the ones taking their filmmaking career seriously. They are just ‘hoping’ to get noticed! Let me tell you my filmmaking friends – hope is fine, but only action works!

There are tons of materials online on how to network correctly. But few talk about what not to do when networking and even fewer talk about this with relevance to filmmakers.

In a series of articles, I will be revealing things I wish filmmakers did and didn’t do while networking with me. I will also be talking about instances where I’ve messed up myself.

Let’s begin, shall we?

1. Professional Business Card: Always have plenty of personalized business cards on you. Sadly, many skip this. Offer it if you connect with someone or if you’re asked for one. 

2. Personal Website: On your biz cards, you must include your website address. This means you need a content rich personal website that says a lot about you and your film creds. Poor websites reflect badly on you. So fix that!

3. Social pages: Anyone interesting that you met at an event or swapped cards with is going to Google you before they get in touch again. That’s a fact. This means your social media pages like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter need to be fully fleshed out – with interesting things about you and your film ventures. A completed Linkedin profile is a professional necessity.

4. Don’t act needy: I know you want to appear cool and likable to other filmmakers you meet. But do that only up to a point. Over do it and you appear needy and desperate for validation. It turns people off, even though they will politely tolerate you.

5Work the room ‘Baby’: Sometimes, when I haven’t researched the people attending an event, I have been guilty of racing through the room and trying to meet as many people as possible. This is just hoping to get lucky and you end up looking like a headless chicken. Do your research and work the room instead in a targeted and collected manner. This way you actually draw curious parties to you.

Do whatever you can to separate yourself from the sorry lot always seen milling about at film events or film festivals, desperately seeking validation and approval from their peers. 

By simply following the few things I’ve mentioned here, you will have started to elevate yourselves from the average filmmaker. You have now put creating your filmmaker fortune into motion. Welcome aboard!!

You Can Read Part 2 Here