Cracking the Film Industry: Networking from Scratch
You have set out to work in film, you want to make movies – CONGRATULATIONS!!! Now that you have that in your sights we have to get you around the right people, and make you a film networking machine, and get you on set!
First of all the fact that you have picked something to go after and have a goal, that is great. There are so many out there that don’t know what they want to do, young and old.
Getting into film is not easy! But what is right? We have people in amazing positions that you want to fill one day, why not you? It is possible for you – someone’s gotta be in those roles might as well be you.
Before we get into Film Networking I need you to do one thing – GET SPECIFIC about what you want to do in the film industry. Just ‘working in film’ is too general of a goal to work with unfortunately. There’s hundreds of different positions, disciplines, and crafts you can jump into.
- What department do you want to work in?
- What position do you want to fill?
- Where do you want to start?
- What are you interested in exploring?
Figure out your immediate goals, small goals, bigger long term goals, and the ultimate big dream goal.
Make a list on an actual piece of paper. Hell, even a post it note!
If you have zero film experience and I assume you don’t because you’re reading this post, one of your immediate goals is to become a Set PA on a film set. All roads in film can start at this position. Yes, even a Director, Producer, or Writer.
Write them down – I’ll wait…
Great! Now that you wrote your goals down put it where you can see it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!
Now we can get to the Film Networking you can do to get around film people to get you on set and achieving your film goals.
Film Job Websites:
Of course I need to list some of my top websites because I need to get you on set and get you around more film folk. Productions are looking for Set PAs all the time, and will take on Set PAs that are just starting and want to learn. And yes, please take those short free gigs. A short shoot can be a day or two that can lead to many connections, have a free weekend – might as well be on set learning something and meeting people.
I will give you my top 4 Film Job Websites that I hear people actually getting jobs on set from. My favorites are the first two because I know the people that run the sites have a caring approach and want the best for their members. They also gave me codes to give you free stuff!
Use the code Beyond23 to receive 100% discount on your first month
Enjoy 2 months of Film Local’s Key Membership for $1! Use code: BFS2023
If you’re not on Facebook – get on there now! People post there A LOT in groups when it comes to hiring people they need for a project.
Once you’re on Facebook do a search for “film production + (insert your city.)” There’s always a group for even smaller cities. Everyone is trying to make a movie, a web-series, or music video. Join a bunch of groups.
Put your notifications on!
When you see someone post needing a Set PA – apply! BUT!!!… make sure you follow directions to how they want you to apply. If you can’t follow directions it takes you out of the running.
You can also use groups to pick people’s brains, seek advice, and ask questions to the group. DO NOT SPAM! We all know everyone is available for work. And ask something more specific then “How do I get into the industry?” Why? Because that’s not specific enough, and also it’s a VERY loaded question that takes more than a couple sentences in a comment section to answer. It takes this blog post!
You can also ask people to chat with them and get a virtual coffee, if they live close to you why not an in-person chat too?
Eventbrite is your friend! Use this website to get real uncomfortable to go to those in-person Film Networking events. You MUST step out of your comfort zone and get around people you don’t know.
I have definitely benefitted from these types of events even with me being super introverted and in my shell. They make me very uncomfortable so, if I can do them so can you!
There are many other types of in-person events you can go to as well to get around Film people:
- Film Festivals
- Film Workshops/Trainings
- Film Challenges
- Film Expos (I really Like NAB, and Cine Gear Expo)
- Writing Labs
- Script Readings
- Alumni Meetups
- Round Tables
- Film Expert Panels
- Volunteer on a friend’s short film/project
There’s so many types of events you can go to. Just do a Google search to see what’s out there near you. And actually go! There are so many people that just don’t and they lose out. Don’t be one of those people!
Film Networking when you have zero experience you will have to reach out to people you don’t know. You might be asking – “But where are these people coming from, and how do I get their info?”
Use IMDb – look for a movie that was shot close to you, or maybe your favorite indie movie (I would pick a movie that was smaller, successful, but not a crazy big popular movie) scroll down to where you find “all cast and crew.” And the goldmine of names will be revealed! Look for the person you want to become, Google them. They might have a website, or social media accounts you can DM. Or if there is an email given, reach out to them that way. (If social media is private – that’s a sign you need to pick a different person.)
Don’t harass people either. If they don’t get back you follow up once and if nothing comes of that move on to the next.
Message people on linked in or on facebook.
Search for film people on Instagram and TikTok – THEY ARE OUT THERE!
Shoot your shot, reach out to them. You honestly have nothing to lose. The worst that can happen is they say – “Don’t message me” or they ignore you. Then you just move on to the next person.
You Got this!
When you are messaging people to do your film networking make sure you are respecting them, you’re asking specific questions, and you thank them for taking the time to read your message or email. Remember you’re asking them for their help, which takes time and effort on their part. Seek advice – NOT A JOB. You will get way farther if you ask for advice, and have them point you in the right direction then saying “hey can you give me a job.”
This will take action and effort on your part when it comes to breaking in and doing your film networking. Do the work!
Happy Film Connecting!
If you want to go further faster in your film career and be a networking champ sign up for the Film Career Launch Pad!