Keeping it Reel

Film School: Networking to a Better Future


We have all heard the saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” We would like to believe it is false, and it is for the most part, but the phrase does hold a little truth. You have a lot better chance of getting a job if someone with influence knows what you are capable of. In the film industry, where you might not even hear about a particular job unless you know somebody involved in the project, it is incredibly important to build a large professional network.

The good news? It isn’t all that hard, and you can start right now! Below are 8 tips for networking while attending film school. From meeting fellow students to impressing current industry professionals, we have a little advice on it all.

 

Networking with other students

Be a Yes Man or Woman

If you want to make a good impression on your fellow students, volunteer to do the work that no one else wants to do. The odds are that during every group project you participate in (whether it is film-related or not) there are going to be a few terrible job that everyone dreads doing. Instead of pushing the work on someone else, volunteer to do it. Your classmates will see you as a team player and someone who is willing to make sacrifices for the good of the group.

Note: Make sure you are doing this work in addition to whatever other responsibilities you have in the project. You don’t want others to see you as someone to dump unpleasurable work on.

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Branch Out

During your time at film school, you will be working on various group projects. You will most likely find a few students who you enjoy working with and who you’ll want to pair with on most assignments. You should, however, avoid pairing with the same people for every single project. If you want to have a broad base of contacts when you graduate, you need to get to know as many people as possible. You also need to ensure that as many people as possible see what you are capable of. The more people that know your talents, the better chance you have of being recommended for work in the future. So work with multiple groups of people and expand your circle of associates.

Networking with teachers

Engage in Every Class

Your teachers may be working industry professionals or have industry contacts. If you want to build a few professional contacts while you are in school, show that you care about what you are doing. Always participate in class and engage in discussion. Doing this will make you stick out to your professors. When an industry contact asks them if they have a student who would be good for a particular job, they will think of you.

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Talk to Staff and Faculty Outside of Your Major or Emphasis

You don’t want to limit yourself to the teachers that you are being directly taught by. When building your network, make sure that you reach out to teachers in multiple areas. This will allow you to gain insight into different parts of the industry, while also establishing yourself as someone who takes film seriously. You may find that a teacher outside of your area of study is the exact person you need to talk to about career opportunities.

Participate in Organizing Campus Events

An excellent way to get recognized by faculty members is to get involved with planning school events. Doing this shows that you care about the school and the learning environment. It also allows you to show off your leadership skills and prove that you are someone who is willing to work hard.

On top of these things, planning, working, or even attending a campus event will give you the opportunity to meet people you might not otherwise. The key to networking is making sure you are at the forefront of the minds of as many individuals as possible.

 

Networking with professionals

Visit Your Career Services Office

During your Freshman and Sophomore years at college, it may seem like the beginning of your career is a long way off. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Your film career starts the day you walk onto campus. If you want to prepare yourself for an internship or a career opportunity, visit your Career Services Office. Even if you don’t want to apply for a couple of years, an advisor may be able to help you develop a plan for making contacts.

Participate in an Internship

One of the best ways to network with industry professionals while still in college is to take part in an internship. If you take your job seriously and prove that you have what it takes, you could set yourself up for a number of jobs come graduation. There is no way to expand your network faster than working alongside professionals.

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Attend Networking Events

Perhaps the most obvious way to make professional connections is to attend networking events. Whether it be a career fair or a campus presentation, any event where industry professionals are present is an event where you can network. Make yourself seen and heard (in a positive way) and leave a lasting impression on those around you. When it comes interview time, you might find that you have a contact you didn’t even know about.

 



As you can see, networking doesn’t require a huge amount of work. But it does require that you stay aware and active. If you want to show the world what you can do, you need to start with the people around you. Work hard, prove that you are a creative genius, and make something completely brilliant!

Want to see where your networking efforts could lead you? Download our Film Career Guide below to see the different career opportunities that could be open to you!

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This blog is a collaborative effort by CCH staff and administration who want to share their knowledge with the film school community and prospective students.