I guess no one is simply born as a film-maker, just one day we are bitten by film-contagious beasts and become "new-born" film-makers, suckers for films and inspiration.
But film-making is a team-sport so we need other people to make our dreams come true. One of the essential skills for new film-makers is networking as in any other business - we make our own luck.
So here are some of my tips on how to network in London:
Remember the power of little notes that Leonard Shelby used in Chris Nolan's film. Use his tips even if you have not "this condition" - use the power of business cards. Take and collect them from anyone who gives them to you: you might not know when you need a help of make-up artist or a professional florist. Make your own business cards especially for your film-making "you". If you are a student you can use some cheap resources - like free business cards templates or www.vistaprint.co.uk
Take part in other film project's - you never know how many people you can meet on set - your potential actors, writers, cameramen, technicians, make-up artists. Make friends with them, talk in coffee-breaks, exchange business cards. You can start as an extra in various student or short films shootings. Use resources like http://www.starnow.co.uk/ to find these opportunities. Remember you'll never meet as many people interested in films as you meet on set.
Join twitter and follow actors, film production companies, PR companies, film journalists and film enthusiasts. There is always a huge amount of news, ideas and information on twitter. That is how personally I met wonderful people from heyuguys and started writing reviews for them. You can also learn a bunch of great stuff from great directors like Jason Reitman and Duncan Jones who use twitter a lot. For the start you can follow my film list on twitter here film list
4. Small talk
Talk to different people about your film project or just about your interest in films. Use small talk not just to discuss weather but mention your passion for films. If a person is somehow interested or related to film-industry they will probably will to tell you about it. The other day I had a small talk with a shop-assistant at Westfield and just mentioned a recent film that I watched. She told me that she knows that stuff as her friends run a small film production company. I know some people who were writing script for TV series and they met a film producer when they were walking their dog in the morning.
Become a member of British Film Institute (for 40 pounds a year) or just simply subscribe to their email newsletter and go to special previews and screenings with Q&A (they are at the affordable price range of 6-15 pounds). Not only you can watch a film before its release in cinemas and listen to directors/actors, - you can also meet a lot of interesting people there. Stay after the screening and hang out in the bar.
We all not BAFTA for its awards that have just taken place in London, but BAFTA operates all year round. SO subscribe the to BAFTA newsletter and look out for events master-classes that are open to public - always try to purchase ticket immediately (it's around 10-15 pounds) as they sold out quickly. But this will allow you to enter the BAFTA home in Picadilly street, hang out in the bar and enjoy the event. Sometimes BAFTA holds special master-classes for film students for free. Last year I went to the screen-writing masterclass by the writers of LOST.
If you don't know about Raindance yet, well you should, as they have a variety of interesting and useful courses for you. Subscribe to their newsletter and look out for "Boozin'n'Schmoozin' networking event or just go to one of their courses and stay after the course to hang out with other crazy filmmakers.
Go and hang out with movie geeks - most of them are just nice people to hang out with anyway, besides they are passionate for films. Check http://geeksoflondon.com/ and subscribe to their newsletter for upcoming geek events. My fellow guys from www.heyuguysblog.co.uk organize meet-ups for film-lovers as well so stay tuned.
9. Ask questions
Don't be afraid to ask questions. I learnt it myself, being a shy person I would prefer just to sit there and let the others talk. But if it's a movie geek event, or Viggo Mortensen's Q&A - there is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd by asking a smart or a silly question. Q&A is really a great chance to address a famous filmmaker or actor and ask them whatever you wanted. Go first - most of the times people are afraid to ask the first question so everyone will give you credit for being brave and hopefully remember your face.
10. Stay in touch
It's as easy as it is - to send email Christmas cards to your film networking or birthday greetings. You will be amazed how some people get excited and surprised that you actully remembered it's Christmas and sent them some good wishes. And think about yourself - whom would you rather help - an old classmate who never even sent you a message on facebook in 10 years or someone who always sent your little birthday wishes?
Let me know what you think of this... :)