Recently a series of twitter posts by screenwriter Claire J. Harris went viral. The first post started like this:
“I just got my first pay cheque as a professional screenwriter (for an upcoming Netflix series)…”Claire J. Harris
Netflix is often regarded as the holy grail for creatives wanting their projects to reach a wide audience, or to further their careers. But the steps she outlines in gaining employment with Netflix are just as applicable to finding success with other production houses and creative platforms. In her tweets she bravely shares her journey from fledgling screenwriter and filmmaker to being employed in the writer’s room on a Netflix series. It was a bumpy ride. Years invested in writing and making a film that didn’t end up making much of an impact. No festival awards. No major interest. Years honing her craft and improving her skills with little or no remuneration.
Of course it would be oversimplifying things to state that all those years of work on her talent didn’t contribute to her success. But amongst all that, there was one tangible thing that led directly to her gig working for Netflix.
Prioritize this one thing to massively boost your filmmaking career.
It was the professional relationship she had developed with a producer over the years, who had worked with her on the film that never really went anywhere and who she had worked with on developing other projects that also never really went anywhere. But over the years mutual respect and trust had grown and it turned out to be a valuable relationship.
Because this producer thought of her when they needed to fill a space in the writer’s room. And then it was game on. You can check out her twitter posts here:
The importance of surrounding yourself with other creative professionals who can support you and help grow your network cannot be understated. A lot of writers and creatives can be shy about reaching out, or think that their work will speak for itself… once they make that film, publish that book, direct that short, etc. In reality, it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. The trajectory is not linear. But one of the easiest ways to become successful in the creative and entertainment industries is to foster meaningful relationships.
So, what if you don’t know anyone? What if you’re a newbie? What if you lack the confidence to introduce yourself to the people you’d like to work with?
One really good way to start is to build a strong online profile. Create a website for yourself or your company. Get active on social media. If you’re the type who likes to dip their toe in the water first, there are plenty of facebook groups you can join where you can become comfortable sharing your vision, seek advice, learn social media etiquette, and expand your network. If you’re interested you can check out our Women in the Film Industry facebook group which is a fun, supportive group for creatives:
You can use social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to follow people, reach out to them, get on their radar and land that great gig.