Networking, if you treat it like a task to be checked off on your way to the top, can be challenging and unpleasant. But if you follow this advice from a seasoned screenwriting pro, you may find that it’s not the chore you once thought.
We asked screenwriter, podcaster, author, and journalist Bryan Young how he’s built his network over time, and he had five excellent pointers.
And he’d be right. It’s probably the most-asked question we get from aspiring writers here at SoCreate. Because without a strong network, and an eventual agent, screenwriters feel like their work may never see the light of day. And we don’t want that for you, but we also want to make sure you’re not burning any bridges when it does come time to send out your script. So, take this advice from Bryan.
5 Ways to Network as a Screenwriter
1. Go where the people are.
Pros have mixed feelings on query letters, but it can be hard to connect with agents otherwise if you’re not in one of the screenwriting hubs. If you’re not trying to get a screenwriting agent but simply make connections with other creatives, the advice is still valid. Go where other filmmakers will be, and film festivals are a great place to start because no matter where you live, there’s probably one near you.
2. Have something to show.
One of the biggest mistakes screenwriters make is submitting or sharing their work before it’s ready or before they’re ready. It would help if you had a backlog of outstanding work before you start reaching out to agents or even before you start making other industry connections. Put in the work first, and it will show. Don’t give industry professionals a reason to write you off.
3. Get to work.
There are so many alternative jobs for screenwriters to take while you build up your portfolio. Plus, you will learn a ton by partaking in tasks related to TV and film that will help your writing tremendously.
4. Go to school.
While it can be expensive, many filmmakers go to university undergrad or masters in screenwriting programs because of the network they know they will build. It’s almost guaranteed.
5. Build connections before you need them.
As other filmmakers have advised, networking should be thought of as friend-making and never as a means to an end. People who have successfully built strong networks have done it over time. Make friends when you don’t need them. Proactively think about your network of contacts and how you might be able to help them, with no expectation of anything in return. When the time comes, they’ll be there for you, too.
Let’s take the work out of networking,