Why networking is important in the movie business and should not be underestimated.
“It’s who you know, not what you know” isn’t entirely accurate but there’s a ring of truth to the statement.
The people who want access to the industry outweigh the number of jobs available. This is why networking is important in the movie business.
Many of those jobs are filled via word of mouth – so, how do you get noticed in the first place?
- How do you get to the decision makers, to those who can greenlight the TV series or feature film?
- These people are sent projects all the time, how does yours get attention?
- Again, this is why networking is important in the movie business.
- If you know someone who knows someone, that word of mouth can put your project higher up the read and respond list.
How to Network:
- There are Film / TV events you can join or sign up to via email alerts.
- Go to events that are based on interests you have & you will find other similarly minded people there.
- Social Media sites have groups you can join e.g. Facebook; LinkedIn – we can connect globally.
- Respond to job alerts & have your biog ready.
- Ask people you’ve met to let you know if they hear of a job.
- Keep a business card on you – even in a digital world, business cards are still shared.
Once you get a job, whether it’s starting as a runner or an assistant, be the best. Have a positive attitude and people will remember you for the next gig.
Does this really work?
- I wanted to get into the industry but I didn’t know anybody.
- So, I decided to quit my job and take a temporary assistant role.
- By getting a foot in the door, moving up was easier.
- That’s exactly how it happened – I was an assistant in a sales office; was efficient; worked hard & got promoted.
- I made the tea, did the photocopying, answered the phones – and became part of the team.
- I still keep in touch with many of the people I worked with back then (25 years’ ago).
- Help in any way you can i.e. above and beyond the role you have been assigned (it will make you memorable).
- FOLLOW UP – take people’s contact information; say thanks; keep in touch regularly.
- Be politely persistent.
- If people get to know you, they’re more likely to pay attention when you send them a project. It makes the situation ‘human’ – versus email interactions.
- Although the first job isn’t where you really want to be, see it as an important career stepping stone.
- Film is collaborative, make the most of meeting everyone involved and learn about their roles too.
- Networking never ends and remember it’s just as important to ‘pay it forward’ when you meet people. If they help you, can you help them?
Getting a project off the ground is tough – it requires time, effort, money, resources. People have to work together and want a happy ship, so they’ll ask around “who’s good, who can we trust”? This is why networking is important in the movie business.
If you’re in LA, most people you meet will either be in the business or know someone who is. In London it is less likely – but there are ‘media’ areas (Soho; the Southbank; theatreland; studios) and industry bodies based there.
Be nice to people on the way up; don’t be rude because the assistant might be running Warner Bros. one day. Although, we should all be kind whether or not it gets us something in return!