In the fast-paced world of commercial production, shoots go from start to wrap within a matter of days. To secure consistent employment, crew members have to build a wide and diverse network of contacts in the commercial community.
That’s why commercial meet-ups are such a critical tool. These events can connect you to fresh filmmakers with whom you wouldn’t otherwise cross paths, empowering you to grow your network outside its current borders.
In this post, we’ll show you how to find the best commercial meet-ups in Los Angeles. The following suggestions and resources appear in no particular order. Tap into them according to your own unique preferences and requirements.
The Los Angeles entertainment industry plays home to a wide variety of professional organizations. They come in all shapes and sizes, but they’re united by a common characteristic: networking is a priority.
Commercial meet-ups sponsored by professional groups offer an open-ended approach to making contacts. They provide a platform for making human connections. Membership is usually based around a common value, mission, or characteristic. It could be anything, including the simple goal of meeting new people.
Below, we’ll break down a few groups you might want to keep an eye on. Please note that the following organizations are just examples and are listed in no particular order.
Production Connect is a monthly networking event designed for the production community at large. Each event centers on a Q&A session with a selection of noteworthy artists and professionals. After, the event evolves into an open networking mixer, the perfect place to meet people outside of your current circle.
You can attend any Production Connect event with only a ticket purchase and an RSVP. Other groups, however, require membership and active involvement.
The Alliance of Women Directors (AWD), for instance, is a collective of professional women-identifying and gender nonbinary directors advocating for gender parity in the entertainment industry. In pursuit of its mission, AWD provides substantial professional support to its members, including opportunities to network.
The Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) is a not-for-profit trade organization dedicated to creating standards in advertising media production. The AICP hosts commercial meet-ups throughout the year, providing members a direct line to the commercial community.
By attending events within your own union, you can connect to filmmakers who are in touch with (or even in charge of) the employment opportunities you’re seeking. These events are the ideal platform for forming mutually beneficial relationships with fellow crew members.
Let’s use IATSE locals as an example.
IATSE calls itself “the union behind entertainment” and for good reason. Throughout North America, IATSE is the union home of more than 150,000 workers and covers an astonishing range of entertainment craft positions. Members are organized into local chapters according to region and job title.
In other words, the membership of each IATSE local is hyper-specific. If you’re a propmaker looking for more commercial contacts, what better place to look than an event hosted by the IATSE local dedicated to professional propmakers? The same concept applies to make-up artists, grips, editors, art directors, costume designers , and many, many more.
Not every commercial shoot relies on IATSE labor, but a lot of them do. If you’re a member, IATSE commercial meet-ups offer an efficient and focused way to expand your commercial network.
A similar strategy can be employed by members of the DGA, Teamsters, and even SAG-AFTRA. Labor organizations are actively invested in the well-being of their members. It’s in their best interest to provide frequent and effective networking opportunities.
If you’re searching for commercial meet-ups, it’s a good idea to explore event-centric resources of all kinds, even those not directly connected to entertainment. Thanks to the Internet, you can find events that match your interests and schedule through any one of several convenient websites.
Here are a few resources to get you started:
AllEvents collects the best gatherings and activities in your city into a single database. If you realize you have a free day at the last minute, a quick trip to AllEvents will provide event options that match your availability. In Los Angeles, AllEvents can point the way to filmmaking workshops, local screenings, and more.
Eventbrite is one of the largest ticketing and event management services in the United States. If there’s a major event happening in your area, it will very likely appear on Eventbrite. For movie fans and the production community, Eventbrite hosts tons of filmmaker discussions and film festivals.
Meetup, as the name suggests, specializes in events that get people together. Meetup gatherings tend to be more low-key and personal than its high-profile counterparts, ensuring that there’s something for everyone. Meetup features all types of events, ranging from traditional networking parties to singles mixers to filmmaker hikes and beyond.
In a city as large as Los Angeles, you can bet that there’s always something going on. Meet-up centric online resources provide a simple way to cut through the noise and find exactly what you need.
Keep in mind that it might take a little searching and that not every event will be a homerun. If all else fails, you can always try creating a networking event of your own.
While virtual events run the risk of feeling too limited or impersonal for networking, it would be a mistake to count them out entirely. For convenience alone, virtual events can be a valuable alternative to in-person commercial meet-ups. They empower you to form connections from anywhere and at almost any time.
Zoom, for example, still plays host to dozens of panels and group Q&As. Facebook groups and Discord servers act as community hubs for people with shared interests or goals. Instagram Live and Twitter Chats bring people together spontaneously.
For a more focused approach, you could turn to an app like Husslup.
Husslup is a platform designed specifically for media and entertainment professionals. It was conceived with the mission of making talent discovery more efficient and more diverse. Husslup connects creative professionals directly to industry partners, creating opportunities and advancing careers in the process.
Wrapbook hosts in-person and online events for filmmakers and other entertainment industry professionals. We bring you critical insight and analysis from experts operating in every corner of the production community. Better still, we bring it to you for free.
You can visit the Wrapbook events page to register for upcoming events at any time. And if you miss an event? Don’t stress. All of Wrapbook’s past virtual events are archived and available on-demand. It only takes a few clicks to explore how Smartypants produced their first Oscar nom, how Picture North tackles commercial production company growth, or how Wrapbook is changing the future of commercial accounting.
If you’re still skeptical, consider that virtual events can form effective bridges to in-person meet-ups.
Virtual events provide a means to establish connections without the considerable commitment of driving on the 405 or changing out of your sweatpants. Once you’ve formed a basic connection online, it will be much easier to build a meaningful relationship in-person.
Commercial meet-ups are everywhere, if you know where to look. With a little diligence, you can leverage the above resources to create new opportunities and push the boundaries of your current network in ways you never expected.
Of course, as your network grows, you’ll want to keep your skills as sharp as possible. Make sure you have the best resources for commercial producers and brush up on your basics, like how to run commercial payroll.
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