I've received a handful of emails or messages from people who are trying to get started in film and TV and ask "How do I meet people in the industry?"
So here are a few tips on how to meet people in the industry and how to leverage that connection to help you in your new career path.
I’ve mentioned in other videos that one of the biggest ways to find work in film and tv is by knowing people in the industry and getting referrals and recommendations from those people.
Of course you have to be good at your job and know what you’re doing, and that stuff is in other videos, but knowing people in the industry is a huge way to find work.
So how do you get to know people in the industry? Well if you went to film school, you already have a huge network to work with, with classmates, professors, alumni, etc. Reach out to those people, they will be a huge help in your journey.
But if you did not go to film school, you are not completely out of luck, it’ll just take a lot more work to get to a place where you are better connected.
Here Are 8 Ways To Meet New People in the Industry:
1. Attend Your Local Film Festivals
Use that event as an opportunity to attend screenings and talk to the filmmakers afterward. The filmmakers there usually want to talk about their film and if you introduce yourself and ask them questions about their film, they'll most likely love to talk to you. That's a pretty simple way to start a conversation with someone in the industry without being awkward about it.
2. Volunteer at Those Film Festivals too
Many times, the volunteers at film festivals are film students or filmmakers as well. Get to know them and the next time you make a short film, ask them to be involved or vise versa. It's also an easier way and cheaper way to do #1 since most festivals offer their volunteer's free tickets to the screenings.
3. Join Film/TV Facebook Groups For Your Area
There are several Facebook groups you can find that are meant for hiring, collaboration, networking, etc. In those groups, interact with people, answer questions, post questions, volunteer to help on personal or student projects, attend gatherings, be an active member.
4. Attend Local Film Seminars or Film Events
Find local film seminars or film events and use them as not only an opportunity to learn but to meet new people. There are usually local film organizations that hold events once a month, if not weekly. Just do some research and find some that interest you!
5. Become a Background Extra
If this is possible in your city, becoming a background extra for a big set can open up a whole world of filmmaking to you. When you have downtime, try to talk to the other extras or crew members. You might be able to make connections with people that continuously work in the industry and ask them about it.
6. Join a Class
Join a class such as an improv class, screenwriting, acting, whatever you’re interested in. You’re sure to meet people that are working in or trying to work in the industry.
7. Reach Out to People You’ve Worked with Before
You may know someone who you've worked with before on a set or film project, and if you didn’t already, it might be a good idea to connect with them on Instagram and/or Facebook. And moving forward if it feels right, you should try to connect with people on social media when you're working on other jobs too. Usually, you’ll meet people you vibe with when you’re working, and it’s super easy to connect with them online and keep that connection alive.
8. Ask people in your inner circle if they know anyone that is doing what you want to do.
It’s likely they’ll know one person doing something in film or TV. Ask them to connect with them and "pick their brain". Be conscious of their time, but a lot of time, people are willing to help you if they can.
The list can go on and on, and you can get super creative with it. But just remember this...
The point of going to events and meeting people isn’t so a lot of people have your business card because they’re going to throw it away. Business cards are outdated and 99% of the time, they are thrown away.
It’s not a one-way relationship where you promote yourself and try to get something out of it, it’s to build genuine relationships with people, to have a connection, to get to know each other.
I know it can be nerve-wracking to put yourself out there, whether it’s online or in-person, but it’s an important part of working in the industry. So, attend events, classes, seminars, or volunteer at an event, or your friends open mic night, or to help with someone's first short film, or meet people through people you already know, build relationships, connect online, and follow up every so often, and Boom! You’ve grown your network.