As an actor, one of the best ways to meet potential collaborators is to attend film festivals where you know your fellow filmmakers will hang out. It can be so much fun to watch a great short film and then chat with the director right afterward.
However, a lot of actors clam up in networking situations or feel scared of being “schmoozy.” If you are uncomfortable with the idea of making a strategy for meeting other artists at events because you want it to be organic and natural, check out these tips.
I’ve got a friend named Matt who truly is a connector. His LinkedIn network is massive and everywhere we go, he knows somebody. He’s a natural who’s really good at connecting with people in a real way plus staying in touch down the road.
Whenever I am in public with Matt, I notice that he very easily talks to whoever he’s next to. It doesn’t matter where we are, he feels completely secure about chatting up everyone in the room, and because he’s so confident, people feel comfortable talking to him, too.
When I asked him how he’s able to do this, he told me that he thinks of every public event as a cocktail party or a backyard BBQ. I don’t know about you, but when I’m at either of these events, I can pretty easily meet people and talk to them because I know we’re all there due to a mutual friend.
If you can think of your fellow festival-goers in this way, it will be much more easy to breezily say hello to the person standing behind you in line. You never know who you might meet.
Make It A Game
See how many people you can authentically connect with and organically meet at the event. Be curious, and treat it as though you were attending a fun party rather than crafting a “plan” that you need to execute with perfection.
You’ll notice that when you are open to interacting with people you don’t know, the opportunities will seem to come out of nowhere. Relax, smile, and make eye contact to invite others to talk to you. The more comfortable you can be in the situation, the more comfortable they will feel when you come up and say hello.
Remember, nearly everyone who attends a film festival is there because they want to celebrate the art and make connections with like-minded artists. You have nothing to lose, so have a great time.
How do you handle networking events? Share your tips in the comments below.