Five Filmmaking Tips for Getting Connected in a New City
Are you moving to a new city and looking to make some fresh industry connections? Follow these professional tips and tricks.
Speaking from experience, moving cities can be complicated and time-consuming. You have packing and unpacking to deal with, as well as setting up utilities, bills, and everything else. Plus, if you’re a freelance filmmaker, videographer, or editor, it means you’re losing valuable work time. It also means you’ll be jumping into a new community and possibly losing all your local contacts.
Yet, moving to a new city can be a great opportunity to grow your career and brand. Whether you’re making a lateral move to a smaller or similar-sized market or if you’re taking a step up, connecting and building a client base and professional network is the same.
Let’s look at some key ways filmmakers can get connected in a new city.
1. Local Filmmaking Community Groups
The first thing you should look for is some sort of local filmmaking community or group. For example, Austin has the Austin Film Society, which is similar to organizations in other cities like the Dallas Film Society, the Atlanta Film Society, and so on. There are also local producers’ organizations and often smaller niche filmmaking groups, which you can find online or in person.
A simple Google search is a good place to start. But also consider finding Facebook and LinkedIn groups to join. Once you find a few, look for meet-ups, workshops, or screenings. Most groups offer memberships, which open even more networking doors — along with direct access to mentorships and other resources.
2. Independent Theaters
Again, from personal experience, I’ve always found local independent theaters (not the big AMC theater by the mall), to be one of the best places to meet other filmmakers and video professionals. If you’re a film fan (which you should be if you’re in this industry), try to find some new indie releases or famous director retrospectives that you’d like to see. You’ll also often find events, workshops and film-themed parties to dive into — all great organic ways to make connections and build friendships in a new town.
3. Film Festivals
Similarly, film festivals are now a solid backbone of the film ecosystem. It’s hard to throw a rock these days and not hit a new local film festival. Chances are that your new town will have at least one, if not several, local film festivals for you to check out. While you can always submit a film and hope to get in, you can also just buy a pass and dive in yourself. Like the independent theaters that usually house them, festivals are great places to hang out and casually meet new filmmakers from around town and abroad. (They also have plenty of workshops and discussion panels to learn something new and network.)
4. Camera and Gear Shops
When moving to a new town, it’s also important to find your local camera and gear store. If you can, find a good mom-and-pop one (if one still exists — they’re harder and harder to find these days). Not only will you need a good resource for renting cameras, lenses, and gear, but you’ll also need a good hub for making professional connections. Camera shops will also often have gear demos where brand reps give some hands-on demonstrations of new cameras and gear — if you’re looking to keep your buildout up to date.
5. LinkedIn and Social Apps
Image by GaudiLab.
While all the aforementioned social and in-person methods are my first recommendations, we do live in a digital age. Especially when you’re looking for clients and immediate work, you could and should start making connections online. LinkedIn is a great place to start. You can look for jobs (both contract or full-time) immediately. You can also reach out and connect with creative staffing agencies like Creative Circle, The Creative Group, or The BOSS group. If you’re looking for more job-specific roles on larger productions, you can also check out platforms like Staff Me Up (which you can read more about here).
Cover image by welcomia.
For more networking and general filmmaking advice and inspiration, check out some of these articles.