Film Industry networking events. As filmmakers we have been told that networking is an integral part of a film career, yet we are often not told just how to network nor how to find these events to attend.
I have attended a handful of film networking events in the UK. These events where organised by job sites such as Shooting People and Ideas tap (no longer active). I didn’t find these events useful straight from the get go. The film industry does work on a who knows who basis, and although attending networking events may not lead directly to work, there is no saying how these connections will benefit you in the long run.
In short film industry networking events are often free and worth exploring within your local industry
What to Expect
Networking events will be held in a hired out room, likely you will have to book a place online before attending. At the event there will be a mix of film industry professionals and newcomers more likely the latter. These events sometimes come with the perk of free food and drink (arguably one of the reasons I kept attending as a student).
There are no rules on who you talk to, you will need to build up confidence to introduce yourself to as many people as you feel comfortable with.
What do you say?
The first question people begin with is always ‘What do you do?’ this can be the hardest question to answer and it would be helpful to have an answer at hand. Some example answers could be ‘ I am a film student’, ‘I am an editor’ or less specially ‘I am interested in working in film’. Not being specific with your job role might make you less memorable and not help if there are people hiring at the event.
These events last a couple of hours and it would be useful to have a business card at hand. Especially if you have a specific job you want to be remembered for. I have created a list of places that are worth checking out to see if events are being held near you. Local filmmaking networking events like these are worth starting out with.
6 Places to Find Film Industry Networking Events
1. Local Cinemas – Your Odeon or independent cinema may hold filmmaking events and meet ups. Find these on their online events pages or ask at the office.
2. Film Festivals – Local film festivals no matter how small will be filled with filmmakers attending to showcase their own films. Bookmark your local film festivals. You may need to buy a ticket to larger festival events.
3. Social Media – Such as Facebook / Reddit Groups. Small communities are growing online. Use the Facebook search bar to look up filmmaking groups (Use keywords such as your city and filmmaker to do this – e.g. – Chicago Filmmakers). The same with Reddit and other social medias, use the search bar to find groups near you.
Meetup events are held world-wide.
4. Region / State Film Councils – Councils want filmmakers to use their locations and resources. A film crew can generate a lot of money for a local city. In the UK we have Creative England, find out what your local film council is called and check their events section.
5. Film job sites & Magazines – Film job sites occasionally have off line events for filmmakers. Magazines such as Filmmaker Magazine also list networking events on their site. For More film job sites -
Check out my list of film industry job sites here
6. Film Schools Open Events – Your local film school may hold events for filmmakers. These film schools often have workshops and small courses which although might have a price of entry, could act as a great place to network.
In my own experience these Film Industry Networking Events events are hit and miss, sometimes you might get nothing of value out of an event, but I have known people who do well with small talk conversation enough to make good friends at events like this. If you do make a good relationship an easy non intrusive way of keeping in touch is to add them as a friend on social media you never know when contacts may be useful in film or whether this will lead to future work.
A word of warning, film is very competitive and some people may see you as a threat to them finding work. If people are rude feel free to leave an event. For example despite working full-time as a script supervisor likely because I look young, people have been very rude and dismissive of my experience at events like these.
If you are a director (or working in another competitive job role), people might be very judgemental or discriminatory. Unfortunately not everyone wants to be cooperative in film, the best approach is to be friendly at these events, and don’t let differences get in the way of this. Being friendly and positive will only make you look good in the long run. You never know who you might bump into again later on down the career line.
Have you had any personal experience of Film Industry Networking Events?
Do you have any networking tips you would like to share with those just starting out?