Screen and Film School Manchester’s Head of Careers and Industry Jude Suckling shares her top tips for industry networking success!
If there’s one thing you’re guaranteed to hear time and time again as you begin your career in the TV & film industry, it’s that networking is absolutely key to building contacts and developing opportunities. We recently caught up with Screen and Film School Manchester’s Head of Careers and Industry, Jude Suckling, to get her top tips for industry networking success.
It goes without saying that first impressions count. If you are at a networking event you are on show. Be that smiley person that everyone remembers. Look around and smile – you never know who’s eye you might catch.
You might have met an industry person before, and you might expect them to remember you. Which they might do, but it’s better for everyone if you give them your name and a clue about where they can remember you from.
Have a personal pitch ready
People will always ask you what you want to be. Even if you don’t have an answer yet try thinking about what TV or Films you really enjoy. You could then answer “I haven’t decided yet, but I love everything that Louis Theroux does” or something equivalent. The reason they are asking is because they want to place you. They want to know if they can help you and they want to know if they have any exciting stories that they can share with you. If industry people have attended a networking party, it is because the want to help.
If you’ve made a film – know what it’s about!
The elevator pitch is vital if you are a filmmaker. You can practice this by thinking of your favourite film and describing it in three sentences. “A flying space man lands in unknown territory. He wants to get back to the gamma-quadrant of sector 4, but realises that his home is with his friends” Toy Story 1
Go and get that glass topped up. Offer to do that tour. Open the door. Pick the coat up. Anything that makes you stand out from the rest.
Do your research
If you are going to a networking event and you know who is going to be there find out everything you can about them. Think about who will be most beneficial for you to speak to. Make sure you know what they look like and start the conversation with a compliment about something they’ve worked on. People in the industry love compliments!
Ditch the nerves
I’ll let you in to a secret… everyone is nervous. Even the principal of the school is nervous. But what they do to get over that is to make themselves believe that they should be there. And that is the truth, leave that imposter syndrome at the door and know that it is just as important that you are at the event as the most successful person in the room. Networking is a two-way deal – they need you as much as you need them.
Ask for their email and use it
If you are having a good conversation and you feel that it is appropriate, ask for their contact details. If they’ve told you to send over your CV, do it as soon as possible make sure that you refence the meeting point. Remind who you are and how brilliant you are. The rest is in their hands.
And there you have it: with these top tips there’s no reason why industry networking should be the daunting experience we all imagine it to be. Have confidence in yourself and your work, and get out there. Happy networking!