Monday, January 4, 2010

The Importance of Networking #1- Don't Be A Hermit

You don’t make films on your own. Unless you want to make your film in a closet and never show it to anyone, you have to interact with people who can potentially help you, or at least watch your film. And I mean people other than your mom.

Go to the mirror, look into your eyes and say “Hello, my name is [insert name here].” Easy enough right? Now make it your goal to go up to three strangers tomorrow and say exactly that.

I know, I know, there are, what? Like 8 million people in New York City? Not everyone is going to be interested in your film, much less in helping you make it. However, there are easy ways to target people that will be of better use to you.

First of all, if you want to get someone interested in a film, it helps if they are already interested in films to begin with. I know this sounds like I am stating the obvious, but people who really like films usually frequent film screenings. So go to film screenings. I don’t mean go to the opening night of Transformers III or something because that won’t narrow your search that much. Go out of your way to find out about less frequented screenings.

If you live in, New York you are blessed with so many opportunities to watch indies, oldies, and experimentals on the big screen. Not only will going to these screenings put you closer to people who are seriously interested in film, it gives you something to talk about when you meet them. Pick up a Time Out magazine or something and see what is playing.

Search for screenings that have a Q & A afterward. Only people interested in the process of the filmmaking will stay for those, and you can learn a thing or two. You might even be able to go up and introduce yourself to the director. As a matter of fact, if the director is there, don’t even think about not going up to him. “Hello, my name is Bob. I really enjoyed your film.” Start with that.

Panel discussions about films or industry events of that nature are the perfect place to rub the right shoulders. Not only are the panels usually comprised of well established filmmakers and industry pros, the audience members who go see them are obviously all actively interested or involved in filmmaking as well. You don’t have to just meet people who are well established- it is just as useful and often times much easier to approach other aspiring filmmakers and budding talent who can provide information, connections, help and camaraderie.

All this for what, you ask? Well, the thing is, you never know. You will not win the lottery if you never bother buying a ticket. You have better chances of meeting someone helpful to your career by going to events and introducing yourself, than you do at winning the lottery, but you have to bother trying. Little by little you will start seeing the same faces at similar events, start developing a radar for who to go up to, and feel more confident about your approach. It starts with getting off the computer, going out and saying “hello”.

(Read Part 2)