The Truth About Film Networking!
I know you have been told that networking is needed to make a career in film happen. And probably repeatedly. So much so that you walk on set, or creep into a facebook group and it’s pressure just weighs on you and you’re just saying or thinking to yourself over and over: “What am I doing to network? What am I doing to network? What am I doing to network?”
I need to NETWORK!!!
The truth about networking in film is that we do it naturally already as humans. It’s not an EXTRA thing that has to be done. I think when we look at networking in film we look at it as this mountain with the hopes of a nice, comfy, well-paid job at the top of that mountain. Stepping over all kinds of people to get there, and using all of them along the way.
Which if you’re looking at networking like that it’s no wonder we all kinda don’t want to “Network.” No one wants to be used, or want to use people. We all truly want our conscience to be cleared…right?
The Perception is Wrong
Now, I won’t get all Pollyanna on you and say EVERYONE has good intentions, and no one will do you wrong, and everybody will want to help you.
I’m not delusional!
There are absolutely people out there that will do whatever they can to achieve whatever it is they want. Maybe it’s to make a ton of money, or to get famous. That whole thing about the “Casting Couch” isn’t an urban myth guys. Hollywood has a bad reputation! I know the history. But thankfully things have gotten better. With that being said, one has to have their wits about them.
Networking in film isn’t talking to every last person you encounter and figuring out how they can advance your career. First of all that sounds exhausting. Secondly, I’m not trying to talk to everybody. I’m an Introvert. And from the very many I have encountered that work in this business there are several people just like me. It’s not just extroverts who work in film y’all!
And also that doesn’t get you very far. So, don’t waste your time, efforts, and reputation. Because if you do that, no one will want to talk to you. So it’s very counter intuitive. And the most hilarious part about this is I’ve actually seen people do this. It’s kinda sad.
If I’m being honest I looked at film networking like it was evil – the necessary evil if I wanted to have a career in film. I didn’t want to bend to the bullshit of chatting people up that I wasn’t really vibing with. I didn’t want to get to know my peers because I honestly thought that they were just going to use me. As a Set PA I’m not sure what they could use me for, but dammit I knew they wanted to use me for something! Yes, I think at this point I might have been delusional.
I hated the word networking – I have many videos where I just refuse to use that word. What made more sense to me was teaching people how to make MEANINGFUL connections, and build real relationships with the people around you.
Ummmmm Amber! That’s networking! DUUHHH!!!!
When you look at networking as trying to find your people who you vibe with, like being around, become friends with, and find people you actually want to hang out with – that’s the REAL Film networking.
Humans are Social Beings
Yes – we are. And I write this as someone who hates talking on the phone. Can’t stomach the awkward encounters with people. Despises small talk, and needs to be alone sometimes… ok maybe a lot of the time. I need to recharge, I can’t constantly be around people.
But I cherish my close friends and family. I need those chats with my friends to engage in thought on a deeper level. I’m still social. I still need a human connection to feel a sense of feeling whole, not alone and to experience certain joys in my life.
When you break down film networking when you are starting out, it’s just looking for the people you connect with. Maybe you trauma bonded on a horrible shit show. I have a handful of those friends. Through those very people opportunities come and I wasn’t seeking that out. I wasn’t befriending someone with the thought “oh they might be able to hook me up one day!” It just happens.
As a friend though do I want to hook my friends up one day? YES! Absolutely! When you look at it like that – “How can I help them get further in their career?” I stop thinking about myself so much. Because you’re choosing to help others people are more likely to help you in return.
Connect on a Human Level
Look for people who are interested in the same things you are. I’m not saying what your favorite camera is to use, but if you both geek out about a certain camera then that actually might be the thing. You’re both gear heads. But I’m talking about the stuff outside of set. Hobbies. Interests. Ya know the fun things in life.
And that comes from just being nice and talking to people who are around you. You don’t have a goal of “what can they give me?” you’re looking for friends! Finding that common ground with another person.
You’re just being you. Not competing with anyone, and you’re making friends while doing it.
Learning how to Network in Film while being yourself isn’t easy and if you need help trying to do it and launch your film career I have a Workshop for you. Sign up here.