Relationships Are Everything
Relationships are SO important in this industry. You’ve heard the saying before: ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’
Any professional in any industry will tell you this is true. Actors, producers, and film directors all got to where they are today because of their connections and relationships.
In this article, I’ll show you how you can build industry relationships online, straight from your computer.
This way, when you want to pitch your script to an influential decision maker in the film industry, you’ll have the relationships you need to do so successfully.
Build your list
If you’re going to build relationships, you need to choose your targets carefully. You definitely don’t want to annoy people!
For screenplay writers, your list should be built up of agents and producers. Specifically, you’ll want to target those who’ve worked on films similar to the one you’re writing.
Before you go searching for these people, you’ll need a way to keep track of your contacts.
I typically use Google Sheets for this. I recommend setting up column headers for the following info:
- The contact’s role (eg. producer, agent, etc.)
- Their name.
- Their email address
- A link to their social media profile on their preferred channel.
- Another to a personal website or the one they work for.
- A link to their LinkedIn profile.
- A column for notes about their interests, pain points, etc.
Your specific use case might require different info, but you can update the sheet as you go.
Now that your spreadsheet is set up, it’s time to build your list of targets!
You can see who was involved in films on IMDB. Go there, search for films similar to yours, and look for agents and producers involved in the production of your chosen films.
Fill in the spreadsheet with the correct information.
Finding their email address can be a bit tricky. First, you need to find the domain they’re associated with. This could be the website of their agency or a personal website. Once you find this, follow the steps in this guide about finding anyone’s email address.
The other tricky element of this is figuring out which social channel to add to your list. You want to add their favourite one. To do this, find all of their social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or a blog if they have one. See which of these they’re most active on. It’s a pretty safe bet that if they’re fairly active, they like the platform.
Get to know them
This is where the notes column on your sheet comes into play. You want to get to know the people on your list as much as possible.
Part of this means simply doing your research. Find out everything you can about them online and make note of that in your spreadsheet.
The other part of this is by connecting with them on social media. By interacting with them through their favorite social networks as if you were just trying to make a new friend, you’ll learn a ton of things about them.
For each of the targets on your list, I recommend starting out with the following …
- Follow them on their favorite social network.
- Like something they’ve posted.
- Comment on something they’ve posted.
After that, follow up your engagements weekly with social media comments, likes, and by sharing their posts with your followers if it provides value to them.
After a few weeks of engaging with your targets online, it’s likely that you’ll know more about what their interests are and what sort of struggles they’re trying to overcome.
Maybe you’ll even know who their favorite band is, what their favorite movie is, and will even have a few things in common!
Use this information to be as valuable of a contact as possible to them.
If they post a Tweet of something they’re trying to promote, like it, comment on it, and share it with your followers!
Are they passionate about art? Do they like photography? Whatever it is, try and find common ground.
You don’t need to be a big name or have connections of your own to provide value to them. Sometimes, kindness in their direction is plenty – especially if you’re trying to build a meaningful relationship.
The main idea here is that you want to get on their radar. Get them to recognise your name through continued engagement.
Reach out directly
After a few weeks of engaging with them on social media, it’s time to make direct contact!
Your first point of contact shouldn’t be a pitch. It should instead be about, again, delivering value.
If they have a blog, for example, you can do this by asking to guest post. Here’s an example of an email I sent to an influential blogger in the music industry:
Because I’d been regularly posting comments on his blog and wrote a completely personal email, he actually got back to me!
Today, I’ve written several articles for this site.
If your targets don’t get back to you after your first attempt, send a follow-up email. Chances are, they may have been too busy to respond on your first attempt. A simple nudge can keep you in their inbox without being annoying.
Make sure you run a grammar check on your email before you send it. I’ve had people come back to me saying they don’t want to communicate with me because of silly grammar mistakes. Don’t let them cost you.
Whether or not you’ve been able to make direct contact, it’s important to continue engaging on social media. If they’re responding to or liking your comments, that’s a great sign!
Because you’ve taken the initiative to get into contact with them without trying to promote something, when the time comes to pitch them something, they’ll recognise your name and will be more likely to want to help you out.
Good luck creating YOUR relationships!
BIO: Nicholas Rubright is a communications specialist at Writer – an enterprise level spelling, grammar and punctuation correction tool. In his free time, Nicholas enjoys writing and playing music.