This weekend we played host to the Guerilla Film Makers and London Screenwriters Festival Summer Networking BBQ. And to say it was a success would be an understatement.
300 writers, producers, directors, actors, investors and creatives descended on Ealing Studios where Judy and her extraordinary team of BBQ Wranglers (thanks Pete, Roy, Murray, Jak and Chris) slaved tirelessly over the coals to deliver fabulous burgers and beers all day.
The event was conceived onstage a few months back at The Guerilla Film Makers Masterclass in an attempt to continue to foster community among emerging and indie film makers.
The atmosphere at the BBQ was relaxed and informal and I can’t tell you how many people came to me and said ‘You know normally, I am terrible at networking, but it’s so easy here…’
Honestly, that made my day. In my experience, some networking events are more like meat markets and platforms for people to self indulgently wax lyrical about how amazing they are. Also, I have found some networking events to be so intimidating, I simply disengage. I was determined ours would NOT be like that.
And so to hear the positive feedback from our group was very rewarding.
One thing I also kept hearing was ‘Hi, this is Jim, I met him on Twitter…’
It appears that many relationships were created BEFORE physically meeting, Twitter being the networking tool of choice.
While it’s easy to ‘network’ from a computer or mobile phone with Facebook, Twitter and other tools, the relationship is fully cemented when meeting in the flesh. In that moment, the relationship grows enormously. So the importance of physical events like our BBQ cannot be underestimated.
Fellow film maker Graham Inman (clowningaroundfilm) showed me his business card which had the same photo as he uses on his Twitter feed. This really illustrates the importance of having a recent and decent headshot as your Twitter pic, and not some esoteric image you may think is clever or funny. You NEED people to recognise you in a crowded room. Having the same photo on the business card makes that connection even stronger.
All day I have been getting texts and emails from film makers who got to hang out with old buddies, strengthen existing relationships and forge partnerships with new allies. Game on!
Thanks to everyone who came and made the event sooooo special!
Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author
Thanks Chris, it was a great event and I can’t wait for the next one. Met loads of people there and I’m sure at least a couple of projects will result.
You’re dead right Chris. Walking into the Ealing Studios garden was for me like walking into my live Twitter feed. With beer and sausages! (Something Twitter fails to deliver!!)
It seemed I knew everybody there – or to be more precise, they knew me!
My Twitter profile pic has always been a clear professional headshot, so I’m quite recognisable. However those with company logos or some other design as their Twitter profile pics had to constantly come to me and go through the hassle of explaining who they were before the penny could drop. If I knew their faces already, that minor barrier would have been broken.
As an actor, film maker, writer or whatever it is someone does, it’s the PERSON we connect with, not some fancy design of a company logo. So in a busy Twitter feed it’s the happy faces that speak loudest and whos words we’re drawn to the most.
Get a good profile photo and connecting gets a whole lot easier, both within Twitter and beyond.
My beaming smiling face is at http://www.twitter.com/AllinTweets
I agree Chris! I recently redesigned my business card to reflect my increasing social media involvement — including adding my photo. And, of course, it matches my Twitter photo! http://bit.ly/hB2lec
I couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve been on my soapbox about this for quite some time. I run a networking group called LinkedUp Grand Rapids that has 8,000 members. I’m constantly urging them to make sure and post a recognizable picture to their profile. If you’re interested, here’s a link to a couple of my blog posts: