10 Tips for Networking for Filmmakers in the Sacramento Region

From the Capital Film Arts Alliance’s Newsletter, 10 Tips for Networking for Filmmakers. In part, it is based off a list for London filmmakers (my people!!!) from Raindance.org.

I don’t usually post entire articles, but this is worth it. If you are a filmmaker in the Sacramento area, and you aren’t a CFAA member, go to CFAA meetings, or don’t receive the weekly newsletter, you should be (contact them and ask to be added to the list.  Tell them Dumbworld sent you).  Whatever meager amount of success Dumbworld has had is in part due to Laurie Pederson and networking with the CFAA, and like Laurie says, “It is not what you know; it is who you know.”

1. Memento
Remember the power of little notes that Leonard Shelby used in Chris Nolan’s film. Use his tips even if you have not “this condition” – use the power of business cards. Take and collect them from anyone who gives them to you: you might not know when you need a help of make-up artist or a professional florist. Make your own business cards especially for your filmmaking “you”. If you are a student you can use some cheap resources – like free business cards templates or www.vistaprint.co.uk

2. Extras
Take part in other film project’s – you never know how many people you can meet on set – your potential actors, writers, cameramen, technicians, make-up artists. Make friends with them, talk in coffee-breaks, exchange business cards. You can start as an extra in various student or short films shootings. Use resources like the CFAA newsletter and meetings, as well as other industry gatherings and activities  to find these opportunities. Remember you’ll never meet as many people interested in films as you meet on set.

3. Twitter
Join twitter and follow actors, film production companies, PR companies, film journalists and film enthusiasts. There is always a huge amount of news, ideas and information on twitter. That is how personally I met wonderful people from heyuguys and started writing reviews for them. You can also learn a bunch of great stuff from great directors like Jason Reitman and Duncan Jones who use twitter a lot.

4. Small talk
Talk to different people about your film project or just about your interest in films. Use small talk not just to discuss weather but mention your passion for films. If a person is somehow interested or related to film-industry they will probably want to tell you about it. The other day I had a chat with a shop-assistant at Westfield and just mentioned a recent film that I watched. She told me that her friends run a small film production company. I know some people who were writing script for TV series and they met a film producer when they were walking their dog in the morning.

5. CFAA
Become a member of CFAA or just simply subscribe to their email newsletter and go to special previews and screenings with Q&As. Not only you can watch a film before its release in cinemas and listen to directors/actors – you can also meet a lot of interesting people there. Stay after the screening and hang out in the bar.

6. Social Networking
Start building your fan base and resource list by creating a Facebook profile and connecting with people who can support or encourage your efforts.   It’s a tremendous resource for people and information – and I always find help, ideas and support quickly when I post a question or a need.

7. Attend Classes – Expand Your Knowledge
Look for opportunities to learn every day.  Classes will inform you and enrich your knowledge base, and also provide additional contacts from others in the business.

8. Meet-ups & Film Festivals
Go and hang out with movie geeks – most of them are just nice people to hang out with anyway, besides they are passionate about films.  Lots of online groups are out there – or just connect at any film festival.

9. Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I learnt it myself: being a shy person I would prefer just to sit there and let the others talk. But if it’s a movie geek event, or Viggo Mortensen’s Q&A – there is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd by asking a smart or a silly question. Q&As are a really great chance to address a famous filmmaker or actor and ask them whatever you want. Go first – most of the time people are afraid to ask the first question so everyone will give you credit for being brave and hopefully remember your face.

10. Stay in touch
It’s as easy as it is – to send email Christmas cards to your film networking or birthday greetings. You will be amazed how some people get excited and surprised that you actully remembered it’s Christmas and sent them some good wishes. And think about yourself – who would you rather help – an old classmate who never even sent you a message on facebook in 10 years or someone who always sent you little birthday wishes? Let me know what you think of this… : )

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2 Responses

  1. Drew – Have I told you lately that I love you? You are such a great communicator for the local film industry and it just makes my day when I can share something with people like you, and know you ‘get’ it and appreciated it too… Thanks for supporting the CFAA!!

  2. Aw shucks- thanks Laurie.

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