Networking, Jedi Mind Tricks, & Awkward Moments in a screewriters life…
Networking. It sucks, I know. As writers we are introverts. We sit at our computers in our little nests and create amazing worlds in an afternoon. We can play with our characters and never have to talk to anyone (except the pizza guy). But we have to get out there and make ourselves known. Not just to pitch ourselves but to also make friends. To find those that are like minded. Our kindred.
One of the best ways to networks are film festivals. You’ll find all kinds of writers, producers, and directors. All you have to do is talk to them. That’s where it gets hard. If only Jedi mind tricks worked *waves hand at producer* “you want to option my romcom.” Seriously though I was the worst at this and it took me a good long time to break out of my shell, which I did…eventually. But practice makes perfect as does persistance.
I remember when I was winning awards like crazy (to the shock of everyone) and I ended up at a festival in California. There were real big people at that fest. Screenwriters of tv shows I watched, Marvel Studio execs, and my hero, Ron Perlman. I was freaking out inside. I was about to be interviewed so I stepped into the restroom for a sec to catch my breath. Then my blood pressure spiked. I instantly got the worst bloody nose I’ve ever had (like Scanners, his head about to explode bad.) So here I am bleeding out, trying to stop it when a guy walks into the bathroom and catches me (literally red handed.) He eyes me up and down and I can tell he thinks I’m doing my best narco impression. Me of all people. I don’t even drink let alone do drugs. I’m like the cleanest (and squarest) guy out there. He promptly left and my nose stopped bleeding. I was able to get to the interview on time and did fairly well.
Then I met the man, Ron Perlman. I’ve followed his career since I was 12 years old. I want to say that I walked up to him and was cool as a cat. Nope. Totally fanboy-ed out. I was shaking his hand way to long, I’m pretty sure I was sweating, then I proceeded to tell him about all of the movies I’ve seen him in and get the titles wrong! Yep, total disaster. Hell Boy was cool about it though. He was graceful and classy and even snapped a selfie with me.
Eventually I became better and better by getting myself out there and trying. The anxiety and nerves slowly settled. I did every interview I was asked to do. I sat in and watched other writers get interviewed and would model myself after things they did that I liked. I even met another one of my child hood heroes, Jeffrey Combs and was far more composed. Then one day it clicked and I hit my stride. Just yesterday I stood in front of a room of over 100 filmmakers and gave a speech and was bloody nose free. So give it time my friend. You’ll get there.