3 Tips For Getting The Most From Networking Events

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


Love it or hate it, networking is the best way to expand your career. As I’ve written in previous posts, I hate standard networking events. I hate large groups and I hate starting conversations with strangers. With that said, the point of going to these events is to expand your brand, get your name out there, promote your project, and so on. Like any type of marketing, you should have some kind of a plan in place before walking into the event. It doesn’t need to be a written strategic marketing plan, it’s all about being prepared.

  1. Have business cards or flyers ready.

What was the name of that web series I needed to checkout? Having cards or flyers is helpful. I can hear the rumble of the pro-digital movement, “Business cards are so old school”. I’ll agree that paper business cards are old school, but I’m advocating for all business cards, both paper and digital. Decide for yourself which works best for you and have them available. If you happen to have a new film or web series that you’re trying to promote, networking is a great time to pass along your flyer, so bring that along as well. I especially suggest having cards or flyers available if your name or the name of your project is a bit more complicated to remember.

  1. Have a 30-60 second spill of what you’re working on ready.

I listen to a podcast called Indie Film Hustle. The host, Alex Ferrai is an advocate of having a 60 second pitch ready (just in case!). “What if you found yourself in an elevator with Steven Speilberg?”, he says. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an Academy Award winning filmmaker, but it is a great idea to have a quick pitch ready.You might meet a future collaborators, a producer, or a distributor during an event. Be ready to coherently tell them what your film or project is about.  

  1. After the event, send an email to everyone you met!

If you never follow-up with those who you met, what was the point of going to the event? You must begin to form relationships with these people, that’s how networking works! You don’t have to write a novel for the initial email.

Always mention:

  • Where and when you met them.
  • Something the two of you discussed or take the person up on an offer they (or you) made.
  • Meeting up again.

“Hi Keanna,

It was a pleasure meeting you at the screening last Thursday! I’d like to grab some coffee with you one day next week and maybe share the script we discussed, thanks! Hope to hear from you soon!”

See! That’s not so bad! Sometimes you’ll meet someone at an event, you’ll really like them and they never answer your emails. This happens frequently, but don’t worry, you tried. Think of networking like dating. You’re building relationships and sometimes, it doesn’t workout.

I hope that you found this week’s post helpful in someway! Until next time!



3 Screenwriting Podcasts That Won’t Disappoint!

If you’re a writer, these three podcasts are required listening!


On The Page

Pilar Alessandra

As the lead instructor at On The Page, Pilar Alessandra can tout more than a few professional writers as former students. As one of the longest-running podcasts on this list, the vast library of interviews with screenwriters will be a wealth of knowledge.

Personal Picks: Episode #396 “Writing Treatments”, Episodes #426 and #427 “Rewrite Contest”, Episode #440 “5 Things to Avoid When Pitching”

Curious About Screenwriting Network

ISA (International Screenwriting Association)

If you haven’t heard of the ISA and you’re an aspiring screenwriter, you should immediately browse their website (after reading the rest of this blog of course!). The ISA hosts events and contests. Their directory of script consultants and mentors have helped many screenwriters hone their skills and land jobs. Some of their podcasts consist of episodes from other podcasts (such as Indie Film Hustle or the Sell Your Screenplay podcast), but the self-produced episodes such as “Wine Wednesdays” (also on YouTube) and “The Craft” hosted by Max Timm are the best.

Personal Picks: Episode #37 “Agents, Managers, Reps, Oh My!”, Episode #57 “It’s All About Loglines”, Episode #59 “Career & Industry Smarts with Special Guest, Lee Jessup”.

Scriptnotes Podcast

John August and Craig Mazin

I don’t know where to begin! John and Craig are so knowledge on the craft and business of screenwriting that you should make this podcast a weekly ritual. John has written films such as “Big Fish” and “Frankenweenie”. Craig wrote “Identity Thief” and “Chernobyl”. Their personalities are incredibly different, but together, they’re an amazing duo.

Personal Picks: (Please note that older episodes of Scriptnotes are not available for free, therefore my personal picks are all recent.) Episode #381 “Becoming a Professional Screenwriter”, Episode #382 “Professional Realism”, Episode #385 “Rules and Plans”  

If you’re hungry for more podcasts, Script Reader Pro has its own list.

Happy listening!!


4 Tips for Networking When You Have Anxiety

You’re invited to your local film festival after party. You’re looking for a new DP (Director of Photography) and you know that almost every filmmaker in town will be in attendance. If the thought of starting a conversation with several strangers sent an unimaginable shock through your entire body, you’re an introvert. As an introvert, there’s a 90% chance that you’ll talk yourself out of attending the event—PLEASE DON’T. Occasionally, my social anxiety wins, but I never let it keep me down for too long.

As filmmaking is a collaborative process, you’ll sadly have to meet new people sometimes, and that’s okay! You don’t have to attend every networking event, but attending a few would be extremely helpful to your career. Here are a few tips to help you overcome your fear and network.

Bring a friend who is also interested in the industry

If your friend is an extrovert…even better! I’m sure there is science behind this tip, but when you already know someone there, it’s so much easier to meet people. Both my brother and I are introverts, but when we attend events together and always stay together, we’re networking demons! We’re meeting new people and talking about our projects and the fear just disappears.

Attend a structured networking event

I was once invited to a “speed dating” style networking event. The “premium” attendees were seated at tables, while the other attendees (20 of us in total), rotated tables every 5 minutes. This style of networking helped me a lot! I tend to be more comfortable when I’m not confronted by a room of people and hundreds of choices, but rather a specific person at a time. This style also gave me the opportunity to introduce myself to everyone. An event I attended at the Chicago Comedy Festival last year combined “traditional” networking with “speed dating”. A bell would ring every 2 minutes and we would randomly have to find a new person to meet (minus the tables).

Arrive early if possible

There are a few reasons that I like to arrive early for any networking events. 1. My anxiety lessens with the number of people that I’m confronted with. As I mentioned earlier, I feel more comfortable talking to only a few people. Part of my anxiety is caused by large groups. 2. I can offer to assist the organizers or introduce myself to them. The organizers are more than likely familiar with some of the people in attendance. Once people gradually start coming into the event, the organizers will more than likely approach a close friend and say, “Hey! I just met (Insert your name), they’re looking for an AD position and I know you’ve been looking for crew.

Avoid networking events

If nothing I mentioned above is helping, stop attending networking events. I know this advice sounds counterintuitive, but networking events aren’t the only way to meet new people. If you went to film school you probably already know a few people in the industry. Email each person, letting them know about your new project and what you need. If you didn’t go to film school and don’t know a single filmmaker, join a film industry based Facebook group and post your project and what you need. Meet a friend of a friend for coffee or lunch. Reach out to filmmakers on Stage 32 or even Instagram.

The moral of the story is “never give up!” Anxiety is real and it’s out to ruin your dreams. With therapy and a strong will to never be ordinary, I’ve accomplished a lot in the last two years. I’m by no means a success, but I’m more equipped to succeed.  


5 Questions to Ask Before Leaving Your Job


The stereotypically bland and depressive work environment of a corporate office is not the most ideal place for a creative person. We arrive early, tired, and dreading the mundane tasks that make up our long eight hour day. Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative, the above-mentioned description might hold true for you. If you’re contemplating leaving your position, but find yourself stalled, consider the answers to these five questions before finally taking action.

Question # 1: Can you grow in this position? If you work hard, is there a promotion in your future? If so, is that a position you would be qualified to do? If you’re unsure of what I mean, let’s use a “real world” example. A friend of mine has worked in a coordinator position for more than three years. Directly above her position is a management position that includes functions that she would never develop in her current role. Even if she somehow was given the manager role, she knew that she would not fully be qualified and would be constantly trying to keep above water until she learned the skills needed to do her job (not very appealing). If you answered no, get off the hamster wheel and find a company that provides an opportunity for growth. There is nothing worse than working your ass off and getting nowhere.

Question # 2: Is your work detrimental to your physical health? I’m not a licensed doctor, but I know that stress can kill you. It can kill you physically, such as a heart attack. It can kill you mentally, by causing depression and anxiety (which also have physical effects on your body). I’m still a young woman, but the stress at my (soon to be) former job gave me migraines and hypertension, two conditions that I’d never had before. Hypertension also caused me to gain several pounds, which affected my asthma negatively. If you answered yes, it’s time to go. Consider your resignation self-care.

Question # 3: Are your co-workers “toxic”? I will not give any specific names, but some of the women at my (soon to be) former employer acted like children. I’ve witnessed co-workers talking down to or belittling other co-workers just because they had a lower job title. You should not fear work, especially if that fear is anxiety about who will make you cry today. This type of fear affects your confidence and eventually, you’ll feel like you deserved to be yelled at or gossipped about at work, which of course….IS NEVER OKAY! If you answered yes, consider this self-care as well and resign.

Question # 4: Is this career where your heart “truly” lies? If you’re a creative person with a dream of becoming a filmmaker, writer, singer, dancer, or artist, do you need to be doing this? At some point, you’ll have to conquer your fears and follow your dreams. Think of all the people who are making a living doing what you want to do, why can’t you? If the fear of failure is keeping you at your current job, consider the words of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” writer Jack Canfield ~ “ Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” If you answered no, you already know what to do, so shoot your shot!

Question # 5: Can I afford to survive without a job and for how long? Unfortunately, we need money to live. Develop a budget and determine how much you’ll need to survive for at least 3 months. If you don’t have enough money, consider ways to save money. If you’re afraid that you won’t have enough money to survive until you find a new job, stay in your current position until you save up enough to quit. You should also look into passive income as a way to increase your savings or as an alternative to working. Forbes has an article about passive income, if your interested.

Whatever you decided, I wish you the best in your future endeavors! I know that you’re capable of great things!



3 Simple Ways to Get out of Your Head and Write

Hello World!! It’s me. I haven’t written a blog post since January and I’m most definitely rusty…sorry about that!

My inability to develop topics to write about jumpstarted something in me. I wondered if anyone else had this problem….DUH! Of course writers get writer’s block. I’ve written about writer’s block before, but this will be a bit different. I discovered that most of my writer’s block wasn’t related to my creativity; it was related to my mental state…my anxiety. By taking these steps, I was able to control my anxiety and finally write.

Understand what is giving you anxiety.

For me, this was imposter syndrome. I keep (and continue) to think that I’m not a writer…that nobody cares about what I have to say…this is of course,  not  true. I’ve studied writing, I write regularly, and I am a writer…period. I would sit down, open my laptop and ready myself to write. After typing a few words, I would stare at the screen. I missunderstood my writer’s block to be confirmation that I couldn’t write and stopped.

I’m not gonna lie to you…this is a hard habit to break! I forced myself to (at minimum) open my laptop and stare at my screenplay. I know that may seem crazy (and it is) but it forced me to at least try and get a few words on paper ( or screen). Eventually, I wrote a little more and a little more.

Gain confidence in what you are doing.

If working in the business world has taught me anything, it’s that confidence is everything! If imposter syndrome continues to hold you hostage, try saying an affirmation to yourself. I am a (Insert profession) and I’m damned good at it! If an affirmation doesn’t work, you need to learn not to compare yourself to others. Fuck other people! You are one of a kind and everything about you is unique. There are millions of ways to gain confidence in your abilities. A quick Google search will give you a million ideas.

Relax and turn off that brain!

I’ve said it a million times before….you gotta get out of your head! I’m prone to having a “wandering mind” (possibly ADD) and focusing on writing can sometimes be difficult. Going for a walk helps me decompress from a very difficult and stressful day at work. Once I’ve had a chance to relax, it’s easier to come home and write. I noticed that when I’m stressed, I only want to slouch on my sofa, watch TV, and nothing else. This is going to sound very strange, but trust me, it works. I like to stare at the ceiling while lying in bed. It’s lazy, but it surprisingly works to help me relax.

I know that this post was very specific to me (and my issues). Hopefully, you saw yourself in something I mentioned above. If you take only one piece of advice with you today, always take confidence.

How to Unlock Your Creativity!!


Not long ago, I attended a panel on creativity. Specifically, the panel focused on filmmakers.We learned where creativity lived in our brains, ways that we can force ourselves to be creative, and examples of how others were able to create. It was incredibly interesting.

After the panel, I was inspired to create something…ANYTHING! Plus, I knew that I could make a living from it. I decided to focus more on writing and making content. The more I worked, the more I discovered what worked for me.

3. Practice…ALL THE TIME!!!!

There’s this theory that says that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master something ( learned this at the panel). Think about The Beatles. The Beatles were creative musical geniuses. At some point in time they sucked, practiced, and got better!
2. Add a spin to a cliche`

This is kinda obvious… but, every form of art has a cliche, something that’s overused and deemed uncreative. Let’s use that cliche` and add an unexpected element to it..BOOM…It’s unique! Think about all the mannequin challenge videos. They’re all “essentially” doing the same action…but each group has a different location, situation, or level of humor.
1. Disconnect your brain!

Artists are known for their vices ( with good reason). Please don’t become a drug addict or an alcoholic!!! Try going for hiking, going for a swim, meditation, or any activity that will shut down your brain. The creativity will just follow!
Make sure to check out the my video on creativity on YouTube  comment and subscribe!

Acceptance: I’m A Failure!!! But I’m Working at it!

If anyone is an expert in disappointment, it’s me. For many years, it seemed as if my hard work and dedication would lead to failure. In addition to working hard to accomplish my goals, it seemed that everyone in my life was posed to either use me or destroy me. With so much negative energy surrounding me, I began to settle for whatever came my way ( which is never a good idea!). Eventually, I realized that I had created a bleak, soulless, pathetic life for myself and I didn’t want it!

As many psychologists or life coaches will suggest, accepting your past failures and being less impacted by future failure is a way to move forward.

I’m accepting my past and moving forward, this is how……..

Reminding myself everyday of what I want.

  • I look at my goals everyday.

Not working with an unrealistic deadline.

  • Many people set age goals for themselves, like writing a best-seller by age 30. You’re simply setting yourself up for disappointment; What if publishers don’t bite until you’re 40? Stop with the unrealistic deadlines!

Creating a motto.

  • I have a few….

“I’m Amazing” and “Keep Climbing”

YOLO is a generally used motto ( and Drake song) that I think is great.

Have a mourning period.

  • You weren’t selected for that internship you wanted? Didn’t win Script Pipeline? It’s ok to mourn ( even cry until your eyes are red), just make it quick! Life is too short for a pity party! Keep the train moving!

If you’re in a runt…remember this……

“Life is a series of valleys and mountains. You’re in a valley, but if you keep walking….you’ll find yourself on top of a mountain.” – Yours Truly!