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Welcome to the world of tomorrow!

  • Written by  Evan Musgrave
  • Thursday, 26 July 2012 22:44

Ever wondered how to go about efficiently networking as a student in the film business? Brian Dunster provides some tips to help you succeed.
Some people are natural born killers at making contacts and in the grand expanse of the film making universe you will often hear the phrase, “it’s not about what you know but rather who you know.”  I can tell you right now that this is not exactly a lie, and so, here are some ways you can fill up those address books / new age mechanical devices you have recently procured.
The College Way
Don’t get me wrong you don’t have to go to college to get into film making but it is an option and there are advantages that come with it.  For one it shows that you have a strong passion for film and are willing to learn more.  But it is also a great place to meet other film enthusiasts; people who share your love for the craft and the love for Heinz Hoops on toast – a nutritious meal for any student.
Once you have established this profound connection with other students for Heinz Hoops on toast your professional relationship can start.  You will discover you’ll have similar tastes and aspirations and as you trek through college together, developing skills in particular areas of film, you will remember those whom you would most ideally like to work with.  And they’ll remember you - hopefully.  These are your go-to contacts for when you want to make a low budget independent movie and send it into Sundance with the hopes of getting recognised.
College isn’t for everyone however, and it does take four years to complete a degree.  But if you have the time and the money (you will need to save for projects) I highly suggest trying it out.  Who knows, you could find your Matt Stone to your Trey Parker.
That Festive Feeling
If you have never volunteered before I strongly suggest that you get out there.  This is a brilliant opportunity to establish connections while having great fun.  There are many film festivals across Ireland that seeks bright and enigmatic film lovers of all ages.  Sure, you don’t get paid, and it’s not an internship promising a job when it is over, but it has other rewards.  Note: Employers love to see that you have volunteering experience.
People come from all over the world to volunteer.  It is an environment where you will talk, eat, and drink film for the duration of any festival.  The contacts here are also invaluable.  You will get to know the ins and outs from the people who work behind the scenes of a fast moving film festival and if you do your job well and show up on time, I guarantee you’ll want to come back and they’ll be happy to have you.  And if you’re looking for a reference I promise it’ll be glowing.
However, I would suggest researching the films you are working at beforehand and find out whether or not the director is attending.  One faithful evening a young and naïve blog writer refused Wim Wenders admission into his own film because he didn’t appear to have a ticket.  Just a heads up, he’s a tall German man with long curly grey hair.  Something like that sticks with you for the rest of your festival life, which brings me onto...
Tall Tales
A story behind your name is a guaranteed way to get you remembered in the film industry.  This is not a joke.  If you are eager and extremely helpful then you are going to be known for a long time.  If you are irresponsible and unprofessional you will be remembered forever.  Ireland is a small country and the film community talks.  Have you ever played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?  Assume anyone knows everyone and keep your unwanted opinions to yourself.  Your mouth can get you into a lot of trouble.  Even if you think you are all alone be wary of hidden sound equipment or lingering crew members.  This is the easiest and silliest way to lose contacts and it’ll keep you from being hired again.
The same could be said about the Wim Wneders fiasco.  Although this seemed like a disastrous, and almost career threatening experience, if you are genuine, polite, and completely ignorant as I was, then you will get away with looking like a twit and it’ll turn into an amusing story to tell to the new recruits.  But if something like that happens to you, blame it on a communications breakdown.  It’s always a communications breakdown.
These are just some of the thoughts and experiences I have had and no doubt yours will be different.  It’s a tough world out there but it is made less tough with good friends and reliable contacts to help you along your chosen path towards that Oscar glory.  Or, if you’re like me, you’d be satisfied with a thumps up from a far distance from Steven Spielberg.  A boy can dream.  A boy can dream.
On the next exciting blog… making it on your own and facing the big bad production companies.

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