I recently attended 'Striking Film Festival' in Melbourne for a short film called 'Charlie Floyd's Visionarium' that I shot a few years ago in New Zealand. I went along by myself for the night to represent the film and do a bit of networking. Meeting creatives in your area is so important for marketing your work and potentially scoring you that next big break in TV and Film. In this article I'll share a few networking ice breakers I used and spread a bit of knowledge about festival environments for filmmakers.
The venue for the Striking festival was simple, yet stunning. Tucked away in the corner of a high end shopping mall, the organisers set up fairy lights, food/wine outlets and small hang out areas for networking creatives. The venue came complete with a live band and posters sat on easels of all the films showing on the night.
I arrived about 15 minutes late which gave me 45 minutes of networking before everyone was seated to view the films. In this time I probably met 2-3 filmmakers and a few people attending to support friends. With each person I encountered I straight away asked "Hey, do you have a film showing?" Those that did, I took note of which film they said so I could keep them in mind after the screenings.
In these industry environments it is a very common feeling for you to show up by yourself or with a friend and feel like you can't talk to anyone new as everyone is seemingly already deeply in conversation in their groups of close knit co workers. The key thing is to get out of your comfort zone and look for openings into groups where you can meet one, two or even five people at once. Even if you don't have any of your own work showing you can ask them about theirs! This is the case for gallery openings, festivals, art scenes, business events and much more. Networking is a great skill because you can transfer it to any industry and I can guarantee it will get you opportunities.
The fact is that people hire based on personality, not just experience. So networking is an important skill to nurture. A good practice I've found is to go to something outside of your normal industry and treat it as an important networking opportunity, like a theatre or musical show, and network your butt off like your life depends on it. Then when you actually have a big event in your space, you will already have those social skills under your belt and be able to avoid those awkward silences we all know and fear.
On a side note, I met some nice Filipino guys who insisted I get a photo next to our film's poster.
Charlie Floyd's Visionarium is a collaborative film I worked on as Director of Photography. Set in a 1920's black and white world, it is about a reclusive inventor called Charlie Floyd. Charlie accidentally invents colour in his laboratory with his old camera and it changes everything for him, including his love life. It was directed by Emma Schranz and produced by the talented people at Electric Shoelace Productions in New Zealand.
The film was a real labour of love. And a very collaborative process between everyone who worked on the project. The cast and crew slept above the set for 5 nights. During that time it was all about the film, 24/7. CFV was shot in a small deserted town in south NZ called Mataura. I shot the piece on a Sony PMW-F3 and we decided to use a Samurai recorder for 10-bit output for colour grading latitude. While shooting I had an amazing camera and lighting team assisting me in setting up gear and giving the piece world class lighting and camera moves.
Though shooting only took less than a week. The planning before hand took months of preparation, stress, laughter, stress, preparation, bonding, did I mention preparation?
After the film was finally finished in main shooting production my job was done for a while. It went into the edit room for months, and then I was back to the Colour Grading suite to finish it off with style after our editor and animation team had worked their magic. Post production took a very, very long time before the film was finished and finally went to festivals like Striking and Tropfest.
So make sure, especially if it involves a labour of love, that you get out there and give your work the respect it deserves by putting yourself and your work in front of others, venues and even festivals to market your unique creative voice out to the world. Because you never know when that producer, that HR rep, that label or government rep is going to be there and is going to want to meet the person who's work blew their socks off.
Check out below some behind the scenes still from Charlie Floyd's Visionarium.
A link to the full film is available for your viewing pleasure, if you liked it then please let us know!
Check out the film on the viewer below!