October 31st, 2010 by Ron

The Script Blogger

Networking is an intrinsic part of filmmaking, whether you want to be an actor, writer, producer, director or any member of a film crew.

What’s it they say, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”.

I think in the film industry this is truer than almost anywhere else.

But most beginners trying to get into the industry have a major illusion, if they think their work will be good enough to get them in and open doors.

Although there is no doubt the quality of your work is important, many new writers see themselves through rose colored glasses and think they are unique or outstanding, when in fact they are just one of the many talented people trying to break in to an industry already full of talent.

Doors are not closed to you on purpose, you don’t have to go through a painful initiation ceremony, you just have to have a key. A key available from somebody in your network.

But if you don’t know anyone how do you get a network?

Web sites, like Done Deal, Simply Scripts, IMDb-Pro, Shooting People even TriggerStreet and Zoetrope are examples of where you can start building a network of contacts.

Other message boards and social web sites such as Facebook and Linkedin can be useful as well as attending functions, festivals, talks and events can also help build your network.

Through networking it is possible to receive advice, guidance and support but only if you don’t let the ‘EGO’ get in the way.

Obviously not all advice is welcome or indeed correct, so some intelligence is needed to filter the good, from the bad and outright ugly, but as a rational decision not one made by the EGO.

The other day I spoke to a very successful producer regarding one of my scripts. I was pleased to hear he liked it but not so pleased to hear his criticism on a couple of points.

But after our phone call I re-read the script and had to agree with him, so I re-wrote the passage he referred to and added the character development he suggested.

By listening to his comments then quickly making the changes he advised, he is happy to present it to a major studio.

All because of Networking and NOT letting my EGO get in the way.

You often have no idea who you are talking to on message boards or who is reading your posts so conducting yourself in a coherent, well mannered fashion can reap benefits unconsidered, initially.

The producer I was talking about was one such contact I conversed with initially via a message board.

Do not under estimate the power of communicating, being seen to have an opinion, a voice, being happy to participate, contribute or even argue because every time you do you are networking without realising you are doing so.

This is one reason I believe using your own name on message boards is an important fact in networking, not some fanciful avatar that only has significance to yourself.

Reading all the “how to write a script” books, is all well and good, if when you have read all the right books, absorbed the great words and completed a couple of great scripts if you don’t have a network to support you for your next step, you face a massive up hill struggle.

Developing your network is as important as developing your writing skills. I can hear the objections now, I’m too shy, I’m no good on the phone, I don’t know how to project myself, I’m not a salesman and the usual I don’t know anyone.

These are not reasons they are excuses. What ever you want to be within the film industry realize it will not happen unless you make it happen and a network is more likely to be an asset than a hindrance.

I’ve written eighteen spec scripts and optioned several of them but none have been produced, so far, but my spec scripts have generated something I never considered when I started to write, assignments.

Commissions to write screenplays for others. Admittedly not for top dollar studios but for producers and directors building their own careers. Three of those assignments are close to principle photography dates, but the time it takes to go from paper to screen is not something I was aware of or even considered when I started.

Through the assignments and the network of contacts I have built over the last five years other doors are opening and producers and directors further up the ladder are taking notice of my work.

Don’t expect to go from nowhere to somewhere in a flash; it requires hard work, persistence, a reputation and a network.

5 responses to “Networking”

  1. Chibia Poiva says:

    Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.

  2. chanta says:

    I’ve been visiting your blog for a while now and I always find a gem in your new posts. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Solymar says:

    Wrote 2 screenplays earlier this year and put one on inktip. No one asked to read it. Recently joined Triggersteet and uploaded Xochitl. Been reading you on Imbd and now TS. Most everything you say makes sense and meshes with the way I think the world works. Made a movie in 1999 called Eastside that despite great reviews in LA Times and other places went straight to video. Got a story consultant credit as was my story only didn’t realize I have to put it on paper. Went back to my life after losing lot of money. No regrets. Now I’m back as decided if I’m going to lose money might as well do it doing what I enjoy. Thanks for all your blogs and comments. It’s like a course in screenwrtiting.

  4. bristol tc says:

    You certainly have some agreeable opinions and views. Your blog provides a fresh look.

  5. Gail Purkerson says:

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