Everyone says that the key to Hollywood is networking, but where does meaningful networking happen? There are so many Hollywood networking events and groups that it can be downright difficult to tell which ones are worth your time.
Fortunately, if you find yourself wondering “Where can I network with filmmakers?”, then this post is for you. Below, we’ll be looking at the best film networking events Los Angeles has to offer, plus a few networking resources that filmmakers can use from anywhere.
The following filmmaking and entertainment industry networking events appear in no particular order. Check them all out to see which options best suit your personal preferences and priorities.
Film unions and guilds represent professional filmmakers across the whole spectrum of creative trades and disciplines. As a result, they host some of the highest quality film entertainment industry networking events Los Angeles can muster. Professional events are often the best places to make professional connections.
Unions like the WGA, DGA, SAG-AFTRA, and IATSE are all invested in connecting members. To do so, their entertainment industry networking events run the gamut in size and type. From screenings to Q&As to conferences, unions pack their calendars with compelling live content.
The only catch, as you might expect, is that many union-sponsored events either prioritize or remain exclusive to their members. However, some of their film networking events are open to the public. Keep an eye on each union’s news and events pages for up-to-date opportunities.
Production Connect currently hosts entertainment industry networking events on the first Wednesday of every month. The organizers seek to bring top talent from the local film production community together under one roof on a regular basis.
Production Connect’s film networking events offer a full evening of community interaction. Each session begins with a Q&A presentation featuring a different artist or professional. Afterward, the sessions break down into open networking mixers, complete with a cash bar and DJ.
Tickets for these monthly entertainment industry networking events are limited, and RSVPs are required. While a $5-$10 donation is suggested to cover event costs, tickets are technically free. Production Connect’s Hollywood networking events are designed to build community bringing artists together in a mutual celebration of their work.
Women In Film (WIF) was founded in 1973 to advocate for and advance the careers of women working in the screen industries. Today, WIF is a powerful source of opportunity and advocacy within the production community.
Women In Film regularly sponsors film networking events designed to help women advance their careers in entertainment. They host speaker presentations, screenings, Q&A sessions, and other programs to spark professional connections.
Some WIF entertainment industry networking events are public, but others are exclusive to members of the organization. WIF members also enjoy further networking perks in the form of members-only groups on Facebook as well as LinkedIn.
Film Independent has been an active force in building the independent film community for more than 30 years. Their mission is to “champion creative independence in visual storytelling in all its forms, and to foster a culture of inclusion.”
One way they accomplish this is by organizing the widest array of film networking events Los Angeles can handle.
Film Independent famously hosts labs and programs for developing independent artists, but that’s only the tip of their event iceberg. Film Independent also presents a full calendar of entertainment industry networking events aimed at independent creators. Events include seminars, mixers, screenings, script live reads, and so much more.
Founded in 2008, “[t]he LAPPG provides a forum to share knowledge, build community, explore technologies and techniques and encourage post-production professionals to connect and expand their networks.”
Regular film networking events are the cornerstone of LAPPG’s social calendar. These events usually combine scheduled mixers with presentations, Q&As, and other educational programming.
Membership to the Los Angeles Post-Production Group is completely free, offering easy access to a community of industry pros wanting to connect with and learn from one another. Check out LAPPG’s home page to sign up for your free membership or to keep tabs on any upcoming meetings.
Meetup is a social media platform for organizing activities, gatherings, and other events. The platform is organized by areas of interest. This makes it the perfect place to search for casual entertainment industry networking events.
Meetup groups like LA Entertainment Connections, Filmmakers Network – Hollywood, and the Los Angeles Film & TV Meetup Group boast thousands of current members. Each month, they organize a variety of film networking events intended to connect professionals from across the filmmaking spectrum.
The advantage of Meetup is it allows you to figure out how to network at a film entertainment event your own way. By picking and choosing events through Meetup, you can customize networking opportunities according to your unique preferences.
Quality film festivals are the perfect places to meet other filmmakers. Even if you’re not in the middle of your own festival run, you can make meaningful connections just by being part of the crowd. Film festivals are packed with people invested in the film industry and usually craft events designed to bring them together.
For screenwriters, the Austin Film Festival is a networking paradise. The fest hosts a four-day Writers Conference that offers a smorgasbord of panels, presentations, mixers, and workshops. It might be the biggest gathering of aspiring and professional screenwriters in any given year.
Of course, Austin is not alone. From Sundance to the Berlinale, film festivals around the world work hard to celebrate and connect filmmakers. Check out our breakdown of the best short film festivals to start planning your next fest experience.
Local screening events for short films or other work can be a wonderful way to meet other artists and professionals. These film networking events build effective communities because they themselves are built around literal local communities.
Silverlake Shorts, for example, is a monthly screening festival that takes place at El Cid in LA’s Silverlake neighborhood. The event celebrates up-and-coming local filmmakers in an intentionally casual atmosphere that encourages connection.
Open Screen LA offers a similar monthly gathering in South Pasadena. The event is formatted as an open mic. Even the organizers don’t know what will screen until the event actually happens.
The Secret Movie Club puts their own twist on the theme with their monthly Open Mic Shorts Nights. Filmmakers can submit any short they want for screening, but they also have the option of entering a monthly competition. Competition shorts are made specifically for each event and usually follow some theme or constraint.
Keep an eye out for other local screenings either near you or specific to your area of interest. Finding small events within your own community is a smart way to make meaningful connections.
Film networking events sponsored by your alma mater can give you a competitive edge. It’s easier to connect with a mentor or collaborator when you already have a direct connection. Shared experiences from any kind of school or program can act as shortcuts to creating a personal bond.
This is doubly true if you went to film school. Alumni events organized by a film school essentially guarantee that everyone in attendance works either in or around the entertainment industry. Few events offer such a straight path to effective networking.
Keep an eye on your school’s newsletter and social media feeds. Alumni gatherings are usually scheduled and advertised well in advance. If you’re not sure where to look off-hand, don’t hesitate to contact your school’s administrative services directly.
Some of the best film networking events Los Angeles offers have nothing to do with film itself. In a town run by the entertainment industry, non-film events are often the best way to form relationships with other filmmakers.
Events that have nothing to do with filmmaking allow you to network without the pressure or performance that tends to come with actual networking events.
You can connect with people over shared interests without the baggage of professional responsibility. Ironically, this simple shift often establishes a stronger foundation for professional connections down the road.
You can seek out any non-film events that pique your interest, but it’s best to identify those that encourage social interaction. Attending a stage play is great, but not if you go straight home after curtain call. In order to connect with people, you first have to talk with them. Check out services like Meetup and Eventbrite to find events near you.
The secret to film networking events is knowing yourself. If you’re not sure what gatherings you should attend, take some time to consider your own goals and preferences. Simple self-reflection will help you cut through the noise and identify the events that match your needs.
If you select an event that syncs up with who you are and what you want, you’ll be in a better position to maximize the networking value of attending that event. Not only will it be easier to devise an effective networking strategy but you’ll also have more fun in the process.
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