To succeed in the screen industries, it helps to build up a network of people you can call on for help, advice and jobs. Some people get into the industry through formal routes, like applying for jobs, apprenticeships and training schemes. But for others, the way in is through getting to know people who work in the industry. That’s why it’s important to learn how to network well.
Meet people in the screen industries
First of all, you need to go to places where you will meet industry professionals.
Go to talks, festivals, meet-ups or ScreenSkills events, like Open Doors, to meet people who work in your chosen area. Check out the following organisations. They have industry news, events and opportunities. Find out about them and go along where you can.
- For film and television
- For games, animation and VFX
You can also network online. Join the Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups that reflect your interests. Register with ScreenSkills. Follow the organisations listed above on Twitter. Play an active role in discussions and you will get to know people who can help you.
What to do when you meet a potential employer for the first time
Whether it's at a job interview, introductory meeting and during a networking event, you only have one chance to make a good impression on prospective employers. So be prepared:
- Think clearly about what you want to achieve – don’t waste the opportunity
- Suggest a mutually convenient time and location
- Make sure you are familiar with the company’s work and have something positive and interesting to say about it. Check their website for their latest news or releases
- Prepare answers to demonstrate that you would be an asset to their work. For example, Q: Why are you interested in working with us? A: I think I could work well with your team – the skills and experience I gained on [NAME of the project] are similar to your production/presentation style.
- After meeting someone always thank them for their time, and if appropriate follow up with a 'thank you' email.
Organise your contacts
Organise your contacts into an easy-to-maintain system, such as an online or offline address book or notebook, including the following information:
- Work details - company, address, phone, mobile, email, website
- Notes on the company - recent and future jobs, press coverage etc
- How/when you met and what you discussed
- Mutual friends/acquaintances
- Ideas for how you could work with them
- Timeframe to follow up after meeting/talking
The benefit of meeting someone might not be immediately obvious, but over time you will increase your knowledge of the industry you want to work in and make useful contacts.