So a few of my students are at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City and asked me if I had any networking tips for Sundance—and festivals—in general. I had some ideas, but I wanted to consult an indie film festival vet for tips. I asked my friend, former director of the LA Film Festival and current Co-CEO of ZEFR Rich Raddon, for his advice and it was this, “Talk to everyone. You never know who is in line next to you.”
Here are a few other tips for first time Sundance goers:
1. Have fun! You are 20 and you should enjoy all that being 20 offers.
2. Keep your public conversations positive. People work really hard on these films and you don’t know if you are standing next to a director or a crew member of a film you might be discussing. Remember the Theodore Roosevelt quote about the man in the arena.
3. Wear something that identifies you as part of a tribe. For example, when at an airport or festival, wear a hat from your current school, favorite team sweatshirt or something shows your affinity for a cause. Your outer appearance should be aligned with your inner self. Tell people who you are without saying a word. Someone will spot you as part of their tribe and conversation will flow.
4. It is better to receive than give! In this case, I’m talking about business cards. Remember, when you take a business card, you have the power to follow up.
5. You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that ratio. People like to talk about themselves, their projects and what they are doing. So just listen and get to know the festival goers.
So I have a little mission for you if you are up to the challenge. Rich Raddon is at Sundance now, I’ve got a special prize for all of MY GRADS who introduce themselves to him. Email me with some kind of proof that you met and let me know how you approached him.
Have fun, my grads.