I’m a big advocate of networking and writers don’t do it enough. There are millions of writers out there with millions of scripts, and very few producers with the money to produce them. You can’t simply be a name on a 110 page document. People like to work with folks that they creatively jive with, and producers are no different. That means sitting in front of your laptop banging out a screenplay is only half of your job. If you want to work consistently, you need to build a network of like-minded industry people around you and that takes effort.
There are lots of networking opportunities. Here are a few:
Volunteer at a film festival or a pitch festival
One of the perks of volunteering is that you’re allowed to go to the networking mixers for free. If you have more time than you do money, this is a great way to save yourself a few hundred dollars and still have the opportunity to meet attendees and guests.
Join a writers group or filmmakers group
Writers groups are good because they consist solely of other writers that can help you stick to your writing goals and give you feedback on your scripts. A filmmakers group offers other benefits by allowing you to meet and form relationships with people involved in various aspects of development and production. Join both. For a list of existing groups in your area, check out meetup.com. If you don’t have one in your community, considering starting one of your own and advertise at your local college’s film/media school, libraries, and online.
Go to a writer’s conference, workshop, or retreat
The great thing about these types of events is that you often get to interact directly with guest speakers and panel members, plus you meet a lot of other writers as well. They can be expensive, but if you were planning to take a vacation anyway why not double up?
Network through Social Media
Lastly, you can network online through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Organizations like the Network ISA offer free live chats with working industry professionals that can later be downloaded as podcasts.
Whatever you do, get out from behind that monitor and meet people. You never know, the person you meet tomorrow may introduce you to the producer that’ll buy your script next month.