No matter what you do in the world of film, the most important skill you can master is networking. Networking, simply put, is the art of people. Meeting people and talking to them. It comes more naturally to some than others, but your career depends on projects, and projects depend on people. I’ve put together my top five tips for getting the most out of any networking event!
TAKE A SHARPIE
You’ll be coming home with a pile of business cards, so you’ll need a way to remember the conversation you had with whoever it was that gave you a card. The best way to do this that I’ve found is to carry a sharpie with me and scribble a quick note about the conversation on the reverse of the card. Just don’t obscure any of the important information!
TAKE A NOTEPAD & PEN
Not everybody will be as organised as you are and therefor might not have bought their business cards. Carrying a small notepad and pen with you allows you to quickly scribble down their details and any notes you want to remember them by. You can also jot down information about future events or projects that interest you.
FOLLOW UP & CATALOGUE
When you get home, catalogue your new contacts in an Excel spreadsheet or similar. Email everybody expressing that it was nice to meet them and remind them what it is that you do and start discussing your projects. Another handy tip is to follow their Social Media accounts. Never underestimate the power of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
GO WITH A GOAL
Networking events are like that proverbial box of chocolates; you never what you’re going to get. It’s good to prepare to know at least what you want to get. Think about a particular project that you’re involved in. Do you need a composer? A script supervisor? A DP? Or perhaps you’ve got a blank diary with some valuable skills to sell and you need to seek out producers or writers to collaborate with. Knowing what you want to get out of an event will help you make the most of it.
PLAN YOUR PITCH
You’ll be doing a lot of elevator pitches and you’re going to need to get as much information as possible into as little words as possible. Think of what defines you in this industry and write it down. Your pitch shouldn’t be too long or complicated – people will switch off, but you don’t want someone to ask, “what do you do?” and then you stumble around in a panic finding words. Plan your elevator pitch in advance and rehearse it, and you’ll be bullet proof.