5 Ways To Build A Network Overnight
‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.’ - African Proverb
A few months ago I resigned from a full-time role with a U.S based production company that could attract talented and amazingly enthusiastic people pretty much all over the world. It used to be as simple as opening up a program, selecting a country, state and city and BOOM.. I had names of people who would jump at the opportunity to join us on a shoot.
Within the space of a week my network went from thousands of people all over the world, to around 20 people.
What’s a producer to do?!
Well, as I have found out in the months since that day, there are a number of ways you can expand your network and do so really, really quickly.
Man oh man, I love the World Wide Web
I have touched on this before in my previous blog ‘7 Essential Apps For Your Next Shoot’ - having access to groups online is an absolute GAME CHANGER.
No matter where you are in the world, there’s a good chance there will be local networking groups/pages on Facebook or specific networking apps and sites such as Green Room or Stage32.
Recently I have also joined a Slack channel that is aimed at the Australian film industry, in order to network or find a crew. It has only been around for a few weeks and is growing already, showing great promise in being a valuable resource.
Use the resources that are available to you, and engage, engage, engage! Seriously, the more you put in the more you will get back.
There’s a WIFT for all of us
One of the things I loved about my work in the States was an introduction to amazing female filmmakers that I now consider good friends.
So when I was looking for opportunities to connect here in Aus, I couldn’t help but wonder how many amazing women there were working over here that I could collaborate with.
I googled ‘Women in Film, Australia’ and immediately found a professional organisation in my home state of Victoria and was able to join straight away. I have now been a member of WIFT VIC for around four months and last month I was accepted on to the board.
I have never felt so at home with a group before. It's amazing to know that everyone in the room wants to connect and support other females in the industry - and that’s what happens.
Have a think about what groups would interest you and get searching. It may be a cinematography organisation or a writers guild.. whatever it is I can promise you now you will make some awesome introductions at the very least.
A friend of a friend
“Hey Diana, you’re into film - you should meet my dad’s cousin’s boyfriend - I think he works on some news program...”
We all know this one, but I have to mention it all the same.
The truth is, sometimes knowing a friend of a friend will lead you to nowhere, but you also don’t know who you might stumble on. One of my most trusted crew members is an amazing woman who is the daughter of someone I used to work with in an art gallery over ten years ago.
So next time you are facing the equivalent of a blind date of the networking world, think about taking it… you never know where it may lead you.
The bonus in learning
Learning and growth has always been a big part of my career, but it was only recently I realised what an opportunity this is to meet people too.
I think back to some of my closest industry friends/collaborators, and I would say a good quarter of them I have met during a course or a workshop.
The great thing about networking whilst learning, is you already have common goals and skills. You are on the same page with at least one aspect of your careers, and there’s a good chance there will be further commonalities as well.
It’s like a 2 for 1 deal, you get to network AND expand your skills! No brainer!
My personal favourite.. BUILD YOUR OWN!
When I started to do my own thing it wasn’t just about finding skilled people, it was much more important to find skilled people that wanted to work with me.
I have a website (as you can see) that clearly expresses the kind of person I am, the projects I am passionate about and my vision for the future. I was interested to know who would take the time to get to know me as well as putting their hand up for a job.
So, I decided to create my own network. I built a page on my website, attached a short survey and told different social media sites what I was doing and why.
WIthin 24 hours I had a list of over 60 people with all different skill sets. Now it may not be the thousands of contacts I was used to, but in one night, I had a solid network of local people.
I have already called on a number of people from this list, and hope to meet many more personally soon. And hey, if you are interested in working with me at some stage please check it out for yourself, I would love to connect!