As filmmakers we have been told that networking is an integral part of a film career. Yet we are often not told how to network, nor how to find these events to attend. In this post you will learn all about film industry networking events.
Where to find them
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 box 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 in advance to larger festival events. Meetup events are held world-wide.
3. Social Media - Facebook & Reddit Groups. Small communities are growing online. Use the Facebook search bar to look up filmmaking groups. The same with Reddit and other social media sites, use the search bar to find groups near you. I created a list of filmmaker Facebook groups - Read Here
4. Region 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. 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 sometimes have workshops and small courses which could prove to be a great place to network. Find the best film school near you here
Below I have created a downloadable list of places that are worth checking out to see if events are being held near you.
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 the confidence to introduce yourself to as many people as possible.
Film industry networking events are often free and worth exploring in your local area
What To say
Likely the first question you will be asked is‘What do you do?’. This could be intimidating, so it would be helpful to have an answer prepared. Be honest and specific ‘I am a film student’, ‘I am an editor’ or even ‘I have just started out and I am interested to work in film’. Not being specific with your job role will make you less memorable and not help if there are people hiring at the event. You will likely mingle with many people for a couple of hours asking them about their work and you letting them know about your own experience.
It would also be useful to have a business card at hand, especially if you have a specific job role you want to be remembered for
I have attended a handful of film networking events in the UK. These events were organised by job sites such as Shooting People and Ideas tap (no longer active). I didn’t find these events useful straight away. 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.
I have known people who do well with small talk conversation enough to make good friends at events like these. If you do make a good contact 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 (maybe 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.
Do you have any experiences of Film Industry Networking Events? Do you have any networking tips you would like to share with those just starting out?
I will leave the comments section open this week let me know if you have any further advice to add -