Networking & Building a Reputation


“Part of the film business is networking.  I am always on the phone talking to people.  That's how you get your work.  It's also a good way to find out what's going on with your field.”
- Jeff Tuttle, Producer (Television).


            One of the key ingredients in securing a production crew job is “networking” or simply getting to know people in the industry and maintaining a good relationship with them.



            There are three types of relationships that can become important sources for future employment: professional/on the job, mentor/advisory and peer.  A “Professional or on-the-job relationship” develops between members of the crew and it is one of the most important relationships in terms of future employment and career development.  Potential “mentor or advisory” relationships tend to be with an experienced person in a higher position of responsibility.  This person may be a teacher who is also an industry professional.  He/she may provide important guidance and information about internship programs, recommend various ways to break-in and suggest initial contacts.  Peer relationships occur among the members of the crew who are in similar points in their careers.  These “peer” relationships can be both collaborative and competitive.  For elaboration on these relationships see the Overview section of the report.



            The best place to meet people is on the job.  Of course, in order to meet people on the job, one has to be already employed.  But, there are many other places to meet people and these include:


  • Professional associations and forums such as the American Society of Cinematographers, Costume Society of America and Set Decorators Society of America (See section on associations)
  • Schools and training seminars
  • Industry events such as the ShowBiz Expo
  • Movie screenings and festivals such as Sundance
  • Studio lots and on-location filming sets
  • Supplier firms such as camera rental houses, prop shops
  • Forums on Web sites
  • Social gatherings
  • Alumni, sororities and fraternities



“While in film school, I volunteered to work for free with some of the other cinematographers as their loader or assistant.  A cinematographer with whom I worked became one of my main contacts and led to eight projects.”
- Scott Browner, Camera Operator.



            The opportunities to meet industry related people are diverse.  Almost half of the film and TV production employees in the U.S. live in Southern California.  Therefore, chances of meeting someone working in the industry are very good if one lives in Southern California.  Working in or even “hanging out” at a supply house where crew members go to check out new equipment and rent equipment packages can be a fruitful way to meet people and learn about what's going on in the industry. 


            You should remember that nobody is obligated to give you a job or even tell you about potential job opportunities.



Having a strategy for organizing and managing contact information can be helpful.  Some people simply keep a Rolodex of contact information or an address book.  Others develop a more elaborate record-keeping system using a computer database.  The point is to organize the information in such a way that it can be easily accessed and updated.  Additional information to keep includes date, place of first meeting and the last call made.



If you don't have a means of keeping information in a computer database, start a file using index cards.  Add additional fields for "Friends in common" or "Facebook url" as needed.


Karen Tom


Unit Production Manager, Assistant Director


ABC Productions


10 Sunny Avenue, Suite 2

Phone No.


Cell No.








2555 9th Ave. San Fernando, CA  90069







New Adventures of Old Christine, ABC, 9-12-06 to 4-30-09


Egyptian Tombs, Discovery Channel, 1-15-02 to 5-30-02

Last Contact

December 15, 2009, Telephone


Met through Jim Smith, Gaffer on Coldplay Video, Nov. 2001



Looking for a job often entails calling people.  A commonsense etiquette should be followed, such as not burdening the person with too many or unwanted phone calls.  It can be useful to track how often a person has been contacted.  Some people say contact a person once every six months and others say more frequently.  There is really no general rule about how many times to call a person.  Often it’s related to the type of work and segment of the industry your contact is in.  For example, you can probably call people who work in commercials more often.  Other creative ways to contact people include mailing a simple postcard with a short greeting or saying you are available for work.  You can use your creativity to get your message across without being too intrusive.