That is certainly the case when it comes to Hollywood and the film industry in general, and the key is NETWORKING. Regardless of whether you are an extrovert and enjoy meeting people face to face straight away, or you’re an introvert and prefer connecting via the World Wide Web. There’s something for everyone. I absolutely love networking and get a thrill connecting with new people and discovering new places. In L.A., the opportunities are endless.
When I first moved to Los Angeles five years ago I jumped in head first. For the first three months I attended events every weekend and was amazed at the non-stop action around town. It was great though because I met so many people and some have become my dearest friends. I’ve now become more selective in what events I attend as to make sure they serve a purpose for what I’m seeking at any given time, but there’s so much out there.
If you’re a screenwriter, the International Screenwriters Association (ISA) holds monthly networking events to gather writers together. The Writers Guild also holds fabulous panel discussions and events where you can learn from top writers in the industry. BEYOND WORDS is one I attended early on and it was incredible. It was a gathering of the Oscar nominated screenwriters and those in attendance had the opportunity to learn and also ask questions of this esteemed group.
Stage32 is a social media platform specifically for those in the film industry. It’s a wonderful place to showcase your work and grow your network. They also have some fabulous events throughout the year and a presence at most of the top festivals. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to connect with top industry professionals from Stage32 events, and have learned so much through their online blogs and educational components.
Meet-Up groups are another great way to meet people in the industry. There are so many groups that host networking events, advanced screenings, VIP events with industry professionals, etc. Back in 2015 I was able to attend my first Oscar party from someone I met at a Meet-Up group, and tons of advanced screenings most recently, including COCO with the cast and crew.
INFOLIST is one of my favourite resources for great networking events. Every year Jeff Gund and his crew host amazing events around the major film events (Emmys, Oscars, Cannes, AFM, Comic-Con, etc.) I’ve made some amazing connections through these events and lifelong friends. Dress to impress and take the business cards.
For the introvert, start with Stage32 and you’ll feel like family in no time. Then attend an event to connect further with those in the network you build online. Take baby steps, but take action. You just never know who you will meet who will support you in pursuing your dreams as a filmmaker.