Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Meeting the (producer/writer) of your dreams....

I’m running a networking evening next Wednesday (4th September) at Toners pub on Baggot Street, in conjunction with producer Ruth Treacy from Tailored Films.

Basically, this is going to involve a formal speed networking hour, and then a few drinks and chat. Space will be limited to approx 20 writers and 20 producers. So if you want to attend, RSVP on the event’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/494871497274458/?notif_t=plan_edited) and email me at the address on this blog’s Contact Me page.

Now, the thing about these kind of events is that, like actual speed-dating events, they’re a necessary evil. Yes, they’re kind of stilted, and it would be much cooler if you could just meet your ideal producer (or writer) out of the blue at a bar. Or go to a friend’s party and be introduced apropos of nothing to someone who’s a great laugh – oh, and who wants to make your movie.

In the same way, no one REALLY wants to do online dating or attend singles mixers. Nobody sane, anyway. To a lot of people, they seem unromantic and can be total meat markets. But the fact is, serendipitous meetings where you meet just the person you were hoping for don’t happen very often. Sometimes, you have to do a bit of work to uncover your Mr/Ms Right (or the writer who’s written a killer script). And if you’re a writer, the likelihood is that you’re more of a “sit upstairs and write” than a “mover n’ shaker” kind of person. You need an excuse to leave the house and mingle.

But whether you’re going to a speed-dating event to meet a guy or girl, or to a business mixer, roughly the same rules apply for impressing the right people! Here they are (based on my extensive experience of both types of events ;)) –

  • Arrive early and scope out the competition/victims/individuals you want to connect with.

  • Come armed with some witty stories and be prepared to be charming. If you can’t be charming, be the most polite, most pleasant version of yourself possible.

  • Relax and take deep breaths. This is not an exam. It’s supposed to be fun.

  • Make sure to listen as least as much as you talk. Irish people – myself included – are terrible for yakking on and not listening to a word the other person says.

  • Do not do "obvious pitching". Yes, you're there to sell yourself and your ideas. But you have to find a way to make this subtle and to make your pitching natural and conversational. You may not meet "The One" (or even the one who can help you with your movie). Focus instead on making contacts and generally being a pleasure to be around.

  • Take business cards and be proactive about both giving yours out and collecting them from other people. If someone you want to make contact with doesn’t have a card, make sure you take note of their details yourself.

  • Use tricks to remember names – whatever tricks work for you. I find that remembering a detail about their appearance or their company and associating that with their name seems to work.

  • DO NOT GET DRUNK. This is the big one. Do not. Seriously. If you’re a lightweight like me, have one drink max and then switch to Coke (the liquid kind, naturally). Even if you’re able to drink for Ireland, boozing all night is not a good look and the likelihood you won’t remember people’s names increases with each drink.

Hope to see you next week, and to all the writers and producers attending, the best of luck folks!

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