The majority of us are not working and are quarantined at home due to Covid-19. Which means we have a lot of free time on our hands. It also means that people have time to read e-mails and jump on Zoom. This is the perfect moment to reach out to people who you want to network with in the post-production industry. Most of us are craving some sort of social interaction and we’re also not distracted by work. But how do you find that person’s contact info? How do you get him/her to answer your e-mails or, better yet, jump on a teleconferencing call with you?
1. Be strategic in picking who to reach out to
I know a lot of us want to talk to the editors cutting the most popular shows. But that’s the issue, A LOT of us want to do that. That means this rockstar editor is most likely being hit up by tons of people and probably is overwhelmed by some many messages. I’m not saying not to try contacting these big-name editors, but it’s important to remember that there are plenty of other talented editors out there who are not so inundated by cold-emails that can give you the same advice. And don’t forget about assistant editors or post-production assistants. If you are just starting out, they’re the ones that can give you better insight about how to get your foot in the door.
2. Find their contact info
This is the part you’ll probably spend the most time with. You might have to do some serious digging to find the person’s contact info. The good thing is that if a person has a public social media account, you can reach out to them that way. Some editors might have a portfolio web site with a contact form or their agent’s info. Also, don’t forget to go through your own personal contacts. I got a meeting with a high profile editor because my neighbor was her post-supervisor. I once sat with the VP of scripted television of a major network because my friend’s brother went to college with him. Ask around and put yourself out there.
3. Do your research
Once you know who you want to reach out to, it’s good do some research to help you write an engaging message. Go on IMBD and find out what other shows they’ve worked on. Maybe they’ve cut another one of your favorite films or TV shows. Watch scenes that they’ve cut and think about what you liked. Did they use interesting music? Did you like the rhthym/pattern they applied? Do you want to know why certain choices were made? You don’t want your e-mail to just be about you trying to get a job. You want to make it about them and how they can help you achieve your goals. You’re looking for knowledge and possibly start building a networking relationship with this person. Praising their work is a good way for them to engage with you. I’m certainly impressed when someone contacts me and mentions something about my work. It shows me that they are really interested in what I do and that they actually took time to do their research.
4. Keep it short
It doesn’t matter how much free time we have, nowadays we just simply don’t have the attention span to read long messages. You need to grab someone’s attention within the first couple of words. One can get turned off right away by opening the e-mail or private message and seeing huge blocks of text. The first thing you want is for the person to read the message. Then hopefully they’ll respond. Keep it short. Introduce yourself, tell them why you are a fan of their work, and finish off by saying you are looking for help and if it’s possible to jump on a call. Since things are relaxing with the stay-at-home order, it might be okay to mention getting coffee or meeting at a park. A lot of people could use an excuse to get out of the house. Just make sure to adhere to any social distancing guidelines if you decide to meet in person. Oh, and make sure you pay for their coffee or lunch.
5. Don’t take it personal
If a person doesn’t respond, it’s not personal. Don’t forget that. It could be that they missed your message or that they simply are not interested in meeting. Some people don’t do those types of things and that’s okay. That’s why you need to try contacting as many people as possible to increase your chances of getting a response and, eventually, a meeting. Just keep trying. Someone will respond.
These are just some tips to get you started. If you are interested in getting deeper in to this and work one-on-one with me to write a better outreach message, click here to book a free 30 min consultation.