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Networking in Industry Organizations

Contributed By Kenna McHugh

Pamela Jaye Smith, a film consultant, director and producer, worked on a couple of projects with a woman she met years ago at a UCLA seminar -- the woman was her teacher, and it's Pamela's privilege to work with her now. According to Smith, it's a good networking device as there is an inherent tendency to hire "one's own" when it comes to film schools or state loyalties.

Involving yourself in one way or another with film-related organizations is an excellent way of meeting people. Take classes and attend workshops offered by universities, film schools, learning annexes, etc. It's a great way to meet people. You can usually find two to five people to exchange business cards with.

One of the best ways to develop lasting relationships is to work on a project by joining an industry or professional trade association, such as Women In Film (WIF), Northern California Writers and Artists, Independent Feature Producer's West, International Documentary Association (IDA) and college alumni associations. You can even volunteer for the American Film Institute. It's a great way to meet other pros that are doing something for their favorite cause. You join the group and establish yourself as a volunteer who gets things done. Other members recognize your talents of making things happen, and thus they will want to get to know you better. You will make contacts that agree with your vision and understanding of filmmaking. These contacts will be based on proven performances. Thus, you'll make more contacts. They'll grow and become stronger.

Check with the guild or union that pertains to your career choice in the film industry. Most guilds and unions have web sites, which contain ample data on how to contact industry professionals for mentor programs or jobs.

Here are some good places to start:

The Motion Picture Editors Guild -- -- 7715 Sunset Blvd., Suite 200 Hollywood, CA 90046; Tel: (323) 876-4770; Fax: (323) 876-0861 -- Has a very resourceful web site that gives criteria and suggestions on how to start out in the field of editing.

American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) -- -- Has links to mailing lists and resources for jobs and criteria for becoming a member.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States and Canada (IATSE) -- -- Is not as resourceful as some other web sites. It does connect you to a local IATSE, which are worldwide. Idea is to contact your local branch. Through the local branch make industry contacts. But, once you are in this union, you can make up to a hundred thousand dollars a year. IATSE has resourceful information on how to join. It is not an easy union to join. Through a contact, mentor, friend you should have a better chance.

Directors Guild of America (DGA) -- -- 7920 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90046; Tel: (310) 289-2000; Fax: (310) 289-2029 -- Has information on how to get onto the DGA mentoring program. There are DGA offices in New York, Chicago, Florida. You find contact information and some insights on how to break into films.

Producers Guild of America -- -- A very informative web site that gives details and interviews on how to produce feature films.

Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) -- -- 595 W. Hartsdale Ave., White Plains, NY 10607-1824; Tel: (914) 761-1100; Fax: (914) 761-3115 -- SMPTE is the preeminent professional society for motion picture and television engineers, with approximately 10,000 members worldwide.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences -- -- 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211-1972; Tel: (310) 247-3000; Fax: (310) 859-9351 or (310) 859-9619 -- A wonderful web site that gives details on fellowships, library and special events that include mover and shakers to contact.

International Documentary Association -- -- 1551 S. Robertson Blvd., Suite 201 Los Angeles, CA 90035-4257; Tel: (310) 284-8422; Fax: (310) 785-9334 -- A non-profit association to support the efforts of documentary film and video makers around the world. Their membership includes producers, directors, writers, editors, camera operators, musicians, researchers, technicians, journalists, broadcast and cable executives, academics, distributors, and members of the general public.

American Film Institute -- -- 2021 North Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027; Tel: (213) 856-7600; Fax: (213) 467-4578 -- This is a very resourceful web site with information on workshops, seminars, classes and job listings.

Hollywood Creative Directory -- -- 3000 West Olympic Blvd., Suite 2525 Santa Monica, CA 90404;Within California: (310) 315-4815; Outside of California: (800) 815-0503; Fax: (310) 315-4816 -- Hollywood Creative Directory's purpose is to allow you an opportunity to review and purchase their many film & television guides. Their industry guides cover many areas of film & television, from agents and managers to producers and distributors and much more.

L.A. 411 Online -- -- This web site provides you immediate access to 13,000 professional industry resources within 226 categories. Each listing has been carefully researched and qualified by our dedicated editorial team. You can list your services on this web site or search for contacts for networking. L.A. 411 Book is used as a guide to film industry professionals for nearly two decades. It costs $68.00 and can be purchased through the web site or call (800) 545-2411.

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