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How to master a film industry networking eventMonday, May 7, 2018

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It's spring in the U.S. and that means 48HFP season is upon us--which also means plenty of opportunities to attend film industry networking events!

Film mixers can be a great way to meet people that work in your local filmmaking community, and meet plenty of new people. They are also a great way to connect with cast & crew members for your 48HFP film.

But you don't want to just go to these events and stand in the corner like a wallflower. 

You may not think you're the type to "work the room", but it's an easily learned skill.  Once you master a few quick pointers you'll bee off and running. Yes, even if you are shy and Yes, even if if you are ain introvert.

You've got this!

Here are some easy  tips to get you started:

1. Show Up

This is the most important. For being an industry that has people always complaining that success is based on "who you know", it's surprising how many people who WANT to work in the business DON'T show up to these things.

Mixers are a FREE way to get your foot in the door and meet other people that are probably doing what you want to be doing.

You never know where your next gig is going to come from, or who will call you up to hire you.

2. Bring business cards

It doesn't matter what you do in the film industry, you should have business cards. Spend $20 and get something simple made up from vistaprint.com or your local office supply store or copy center.

Make sure it has your name, phone number, email, and what it is that you do (website is good but optional). It doesn't matter that you don't have a lot of experience doing that, just put it down on the card.

People aren't looking for your full resume, they're looking to make a connection and to put you into some sort of category (director, actor, editor, etc.) in their head and in their contact list.

If you're an actor with a decent, up to date headshot, put a tiny color version of your headshot on the business card (Just trust us on this one, it will help you one day).

3. Actively introduce yourself to people

Don't be shy with this one. Everybody is there for the same reason--to meet new people. Film is a really friendly industry, and there are a lot of people that want to meet new people.

Suck it up and don't stand in the corner like a wallflower or huddle in the dark recesses of your table or booth munching on chicken fingers because you're too shy to talk to people.

Something as simple as "My name is _____, and I'm an _________. What is it that you do?" makes a great intro.

Ask what film projects people are working on now, or if they've been to a lot of events like these--they make good icebreakers.

For bonus points--ask them if there's anyone else there that evening they think you should meet.

Double the bonus points if you can introduce THEM to someone else at the event.

Be helpful--people remember and appreciate that, and the good karma will come back to you.

4. Be prepared to talk about whatever film projects you're working on

This is a common icebreaker question, so think through how you'll answer this before you go to the event.

Not working on something at the moment?

Memorize this phrase: "I'm working on a handful of projects in various stages of production right now."

It doesn't matter that the "various stages of production" include primarily the "it's still just an idea in my head" phase.

That's part of the business, too. So don't be afraid that you're being untruthful by telling people this.

5. Have film projects that you're actually working on

Well, it would be great if we were always working on something, right?

But seriously, if you're not working on a project for someone else, there's no excuse to not be working on your own personal project--whether it's writing your next script, or brainstorming film ideas, or putting yourself on camera to hone your acting skills. You should always be doing something.

The 48 Hour Film Project gives you an opportunity to do this once or twice a year, but there are plenty more days to fill with fun and creative film projects.

It will hone your skills for the 48HFP, and it's something you know you'll have fun doing!

6. Update your profile on CastListing.com

CastListing is a great, free way to find cast & crew for your film projects, which is why the 48HFP has partnered with them. 

There aren't a whole lot of places on the internet that will allow you to host your headshot, resume, reel, and video samples for FREE.

Plus it's a great way to connect with other filmmakers, and maybe find cast & crew for your next film project AFTER the 48HFP.

If you're in the U.S. and 48HFP registration is open in your city, you should be able to find your city's 48HFP event here.

If you follow these tips, you will have great skills which will serve you well for years to come. And doors will open.

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