How I hate the sound of career networking! I'm a compulsively shy networker, truth be told. I've witnessed some pretty interesting careers over my quarter century helming Raindance. The Raindance Toronto office has talked me into sharing a few before I head over to TIFF and Toronto's exclusive and inaugural Independent Filmmaker's Ball on September 12th.
My top 5 tips for career networking
1. Prepare for your event
Before every single event I go to I check google searches on every single person I expect to meet. If you are meeting someone in a few days or a couple of weeks, then get acquainted with your internet friend. Learn how to use Google as your own personal research assistant. Set up alerts about people you are interested in. While you are at it, why not set up alerts for topics you find interesting? Who knows when you can spring the: What do you think about today's news about such-and-such?
Before you know it you'll be looking like a really smooth operator.
2. Learn the lingo
Every industry has it's own lingo, it's own keywords and catch phrases. Don't get caught out. We've got a nifty index of independent filmmaking terms A-Z here. Want to get some more phrases straight from the horses mouth? Then come on down to the Raindance signature class: Saturday Film School. It's fun. It's inexpensive. It's always on a Saturday from 10am - 5pm. Over 15,000 filmmaking wannabees have taken this class in Europe.
3. Understand the power of the tuxedo
Handling youyrself at a film industry event like the Oscars, the TIFF opening night gala, or indeed like Independent Filmmaker's Ball means you need to understand the basics of presenting yourself in public.
Why do you think movie stars look and sound so good on the red carpet? It's because they're coached in the etiquette of the red carpet. It's a learned skill. You can learn Red Carpet Etiquette at Raindance.
Before you know it you'll know how to handle interviews and red carpet - two things successful people need to know how to do.
4. Master the art of the icebreaker
I have really good friends who anyone might wrongly label as introverted and shy. Reality is however, they are brilliant at walking up to a complete stranger and get them talking. They do that so well becasue they have perfected the art of the icebreaker.
Read this brilliant 'how to break the ice' post and before you know it you too can become a master of the icebreaker.
5. The power of the introvert
It would be wrong to assume that the only way you can power to the top of a career in the film industry is to be a brash and bold. Quite the opposite in fact. Many of the industry's top talents are introverts. Introverts bring a lot of special qualities to the movies. The trick is learning how to use the exceptional advantages introverts have. Once mastered you too can avoid networking faux pas.
Before you know it you'll be powering to the top!