If you want to remain relevant in this industry, it is important to get your name out there and widen your list of connections. This can seem daunting. But don’t fear, we’ve gathered a few simple tips to help you make a start.
Begin with who you already know
The best way to get in touch with a useful contact is a personal referral. Don’t be shy! Ask friends and family if they know anyone who may be able to help you or give you some advice on the industry. Most people are happy to help! After your chat, make sure to connect with them on social media so that it’s easier to reach out, and shoot them a massage once or twice a year so that you are still on their mind. You can fill them in on your most recent exciting work.
Put yourself out there!
In Covid times the internet is your friend. Join Facebook groups to connect with actors and filmmakers in your area (when you join castandhire.ie, you’ll be invited to join our members-only Facebook group as well), follow people you are interested in on Instagram and Twitter, and use all three to promote any of your upcoming projects. This is the best way that you can make new connections with people near and far. Professional development aside, this is a great way to connect with like-minded people!
Keep an eye on what is happening in the industry
Are there any important events coming up? Are any of the people you want to get in touch with speaking at a webinar or giving an online course? Again, it’s great to follow people you want to reach on social media, where they’ll likely promote any appearances they make. Before joining any of these events make sure to do your homework so you come across as engaged and clued up on your industry.
Network on set
This one may seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people walk off a film set and never speak to anyone ever again. It’s important to engage with and connect to those you’re working with wherever possible. Before you leave, ask people for their social media handles, then engage with them online. If it’s appropriate, you can exchange numbers as well. Whether working on a pro-bono production or budgeted gig, the same thing applies. You never know what someone could be working on down the road – out of sight, out of mind rings true!
Relationships, both personal and professional, develop over time. It’s important not to come across too strongly when trying to connect with an important contact. Take a step back, place yourself in their shoes when asking yourself what type of person do they want to engage with? What can you offer them? It may seem hopeless to begin with, but over time your contact base will slowly grow.
Continue to make an effort
There is a balance to be struck between “playing it cool” and showing that you are interested. Keep in touch with your network. It’s important to try to contact everyone in your network at least once a year. It’s helpful to approach this in an organised manner- although you may be building genuine relations, make sure that you keep on top of things with a diary.
What’s next? Here are your action steps. 1) Organise a coffee meeting with those who you are already connected to through one or two degrees of separation (make sure you have questions prepared) 2) Get your socials looking fab, including your recent film work and any exciting updates, then do some research and connect with the pro's working in your industry. Next, ask to join any film or acting group that is active in your area 3) Research any events coming up, and add them to your diary to attend 4) Remember to stay connected to the people you’ve worked on set with 5) After you have completed steps 1 – 4, it’s now time to maintain all of your great relationships and continue to take these action steps again and again.