You’ve probably heard—repeatedly—that, in the movie industry, who you know is more important than what you know. There’s truth to that statement, and while it is unfortunate, you won’t be the one to change it. That means you’d better learn how to network and to then leverage that network into opportunities for you.
1. Be Genuinely Interested
If the idea of forming a relationship with someone for the purpose of your career strikes you as sleazy, you’ll be happy to know that’s not a good idea, anyway. People in the film industry know about the networking game, and they’ll be able to sense if you’re just trying to use them. So, don’t. Make sure you form significant relationships with them for who they are, not for what they can do for you.
2. Be Genuinely Interesting
This is the other side of the coin of point one. For people to want to know you and interact with you (and, yes, somewhere down the line, recommend you for some position), they need to be interested in you. You have to provide value to them. Support them in their endeavors. Help them reach their goals. When something comes up that you’d be right for, they’ll remember you.
3. Use Social Media
Social media gets a lot of negative attention, but at its core, it’s all about networking with people in a way that’s only recently become possible. Use this to form connections with people you wouldn’t have otherwise interacted with, and stick to points one and two while you do so.
4. Be Friendly
People in the movie industry won’t walk around with signs on their neck telling you who they are. Get in the habit of being friendly to everyone, and it may just happen that one of the strangers you befriend has connections. Worst case, you have a new friend, and best case, you’ve parlayed your friendliness into networking.
5. Follow People Who Are Behind the Scenes
It’s great to have a network of fellow actors, but they won’t provide as many opportunities for you as the directors, producers and writers in the film industry. Go to the Q&A sessions, screenings and charity events they attend. In every interaction, use the rest of these tips, and you’ll set yourself up for success as well as you can.
Breaking into the movie industry can be a tall task, and networking is probably more of a factor than it should be. With that being the case, though, following these five tips will help you make a good impression and put yourself in the position that your talent can shine.
Robert Gillings is known as a award winning writer, producer, and actor in New York.