7 Ways to Network in the Film Industry in Ontario
When I was a kid, there was no collaboration; it's you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself. - Steven Spielberg
Networking can be daunting at times, but it’s a necessary part of the film industry as perhaps more than any other industry, film is a team effort. No one makes great film without a team. It's an undeniable truth that success follows the business minded in the creative industries. The people who are willing to put their hand out to introduce themselves are the ones that learn who is doing great work. Networking is not an innate quality that only some possess, nor is it just about being at the right place at the right time. It takes practice, strategy and making the most of opportunities. Here's some tips on how you can get ahead:
1. Elevator Pitch
Develop a one minute elevator pitch and a longer 5 minute pitch for who you are, what you do and what you are working on. Make sure to highlight what is unique about you or your project. Engaging your audience with a question is a great way to bring your pitch together at the end. The key is to find a balance of talking about yourself and talking about your project.
2. Networking Events
Sign up for the LEDC Networking Party at The Forest City Film Festival to meet people doing the work in this industry and in your city and region. When you hear someone who interests you, go over afterwards and introduce yourself. Be sure to bring business cards to give out and take theirs so that following up will be easy. This event is meant to be a starting point and you certainly want to keep any good conversations going.
3. Industry Seminars
Industry seminars are a great place to mingle and recognize ways to network wherever you are. Say hello to the people that are sitting around you. Ask good questions of the panelists, either after their session or during Q&A periods. Take lots of notes and write down names and numbers -- these will come in handy.
4. Pitch to the Right Audience
Always be on the lookout to pitch your ideas. The Forest City Film Festival PitchFest is a great place to start. Pitching may be an intimidating process, but you can rest assured that you are among peers and experts who want to see you succeed and become a lasting presence in the film community here in Southwestern Ontario.
5. Mentorship Opportunities
Sign up for the Breakfast With Experts Mentoring Session at Forest City Film Festival. Enjoy a meal and conversation with the professional of your choice, each from a different corner of the filmmaking industry. Our experts include Craig Thompson, President and Executive Producer, Ballinran Entertainment, Susan Curran, VP of Acquisitions and Marketing, United Front Entertainment, Gary Elmer, Director of Photography, DP Eyeline Cinematography, and Greg Jeffs, Client Services Coordinator, Emerging Filmmakers/Digital Content Creators, William F. White International Inc. These casual mentoring sessions can be incredibly valuable to both emerging filmmakers and film fans alike, so don’t miss your chance to listen and learn!
Follow up with your connections with a quick email or connect with them on social media after the event. It's important to keep a channel of communication open and maintain relevant connections. Don't let interesting connections vanish without a trace.
6. Foster your own community
The importance of a film community cannot be overstated. Find and maintain the connections that have worked for you, help others with their work and they will help you. It's vital to give back so that the community grows more robust, and that is critical in creative industries. The more involvement you have in improving the community, the more people will want to engage with you within that community.