Networking events

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  • Networking events

    Any tips on navigating networking events? There's more casual stuff, like the Blacklist Happy Hour or festival afterparties, and then there's more formalized events like networking receptions that go along with seminars and things. What do you do at them? What are you looking for? Personally I just want more industry-involved friends, really, so they seem appealing to me. But I don't know if anything actually comes of these kinds of events.

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: Networking events

    i'm terrible at these things, although i attend screenings, Q&As, and Austin FF regularly. couldn't deal with the crowd at Black List's happy hour at Umbrella.

    i try to seek out events where writers whose work i enjoy are speaking, ideally on the craft. mostly i just end up standing around holding up the walls if there's a reception before or after. there always seems to be no shortage of very outgoing strivers who want to sell themselves to the pros, but i am not one of them

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    • #3
      Re: Networking events

      Originally posted by omjs View Post
      Any tips on navigating networking events? There's more casual stuff, like the Blacklist Happy Hour or festival afterparties, and then there's more formalized events like networking receptions that go along with seminars and things. What do you do at them? What are you looking for? Personally I just want more industry-involved friends, really, so they seem appealing to me. But I don't know if anything actually comes of these kinds of events.

      Any thoughts?
      Networking is ALL about building genuine relationships. That takes time and effort. Your instinct to want to make friends is not only a good one, but the right one. Nothing substantial comes out of these events without a lot of time and trust building from them. Anyone who could help your career in some way isn't going to do something for you out of the goodness of their heart. And they ALL have seen enough bottom feeders who think networking is using people to advance themselves to avoid them at all costs.

      Just be yourself. Show genuine interest in others and their lives. Not just show biz lives either. If you're genuine, you'll get it back. And you'll build friendships and at some point, business relationships if you have the goods. But never quickly. I have made some lifelong true friends in this business. Some I've ended up working with and for, some I may never work with. All just as valuable to my life.

      And for God's sake don't be the moron that shows up with a script under your arm...

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      • #4
        Re: Networking events

        Good to know I'm on the right track, then!

        I went to a women writers thing this week, and it was great. The only thing I was unprepared for is that pretty much everyone had business cards except for me. So that's my next step, I guess. It is a really convenient way to exchange contact info.

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        • #5
          Re: Networking events

          Originally posted by omjs View Post
          Good to know I'm on the right track, then!

          I went to a women writers thing this week, and it was great. The only thing I was unprepared for is that pretty much everyone had business cards except for me. So that's my next step, I guess. It is a really convenient way to exchange contact info.
          VistaPrint online is your friend. Cheap cards you can design yourself.

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          • #6
            Re: Networking events

            Originally posted by omjs View Post
            Any tips on navigating networking events?
            I think it's just about being active. Hollywood is actually a pretty small town. If you walk into a room enough times where you don't know anyone, after a while you will start recognizing people. That's the big leap that makes it easier.

            Also, volunteer. Become part of the organization. You're going to the events anyway. Might as well meet the important people who make it happen and know everybody. Work the door once and you'll meet more names than you can remember. A lot of times next time you see them they'll remember you.

            Originally posted by omjs View Post
            What do you do at them?
            I get there early and get comfortable. Sometimes it's easier to start a conversation if there's not a lot of people there yet. Or at least as it fills up, you start finding people to talk to in different pockets. Maybe I'll exchange one email address with someone and we rarely follow up. That's okay. I want to commiserate about the business and hear what they know. That's my goal.

            Originally posted by omjs View Post
            What are you looking for?
            1) Nothing. I have low, low expectations. The night will probably be a waste. At least I'm doing something. And if it ever comes up again I can say I was there.
            2) A person who looks as uncomfortable as me. Or someone who's working at the event. We can start chatting easily. A lot of times they introduce their friends.
            3) Someone I recognize. I might not remember their name, but I remember their face. And even if we can't figure it out, it's an excuse to talk to someone.
            4) A drink I like. Or a good seat. It helps to make myself comfortable. That's part of me being myself. I'm okay being in silence, watching the crowd. It's okay to take a minute to yourself even in the crowd.
            5) If it's a seminar, I will want real answers and practical advice. It's rare that I don't end up asking a question. Other people are usually wondering the same thing or at least interested to know. And then sometimes they want to talk to the guy who asked the question after the panel. Or walking out they say hey because they recognize you.

            Originally posted by JoeBanks View Post
            i'm terrible at these things, although i attend screenings, Q&As, and Austin FF regularly. couldn't deal with the crowd at Black List's happy hour at Umbrella.
            Ha, I walked up to the front door, took a look inside and walked away.

            So having said all of that, I'll also say: be kind to yourself. There is a lot going on in Los Angeles at all times. You don't have to go to everything. I like staying in and spend a lot of nights recharging my batteries. Just go to some things. Go to the things you're really interested in. Go find the crowds you want to talk to. If you feel like a group's not for you, that's okay. There are plenty of others. You just have to find the right one for you. And maybe after a while, it won't be the right one anymore. That's okay, too. There's probably another group out there that's perfect.

            I will end with a thought that I have never included in my networking advice before, but is actually kind of nice and I should. Many years ago, I met my girlfriend at a networking event. I certainly didn't go there looking to find love. It just happened. You never know who you might meet.

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