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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!