Today we have a guest article from Finn of United Magic Studios. UMS are a video production company based in the UK. Finn will be talking about social media and its abilities to connect filmmakers together online.
Take it away, Finn!
Social media has become an ever-present entity in our lives at this point. Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay.
With over 2 billion active social media users, according to sysomos.com, it’s pertinent that filmmakers understand the social landscape, and how each platform’s strengths can be utilized to help them connect with their peers and express their work.
To see a snapshot of the sheer growth of social media, check out this infographic by statista that shows the relative penetration of the major social media platforms:
Social Media as Filmmaker Networking Tool
Depending on how you view social media and its impact on society, you might have a variety of opinions about using it as a networking tool:
- Is getting caught up in the trend detrimental?
- Is the connectedness of social media a positive shift in communication?
- Or do you think it’s just a necessary evil?
If you do wish to take advantage of the tools our generation has been given and attempt to branch out on social media, one of the first things to consider is the platform.
With so many options, from Facebook, to Twitter, to Instagram, to LinkedIn, how do you know which is the most important to devote your time to as a professional within the film production industry?
Well, the answer might be all, or at least the big ones, if you want to have the best impact. In order to successfully use each platform, you must be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Aside from LinkedIn, all the popular social media platforms would fall into what could be considered “non-professional.”
That being said, keep in mind that keeping all your social media accounts professional and portraying yourself as such can be important, as companies look more at social media when considering job candidates.
While LinkedIn can be used to connect with fellow professionals, in many ways it doesn’t function like most other social platforms. For that reason, we won’t focus on it.
Let’s start with the obvious…
Facebook is one of the most versatile social media tools at your disposal as a filmmaker. If you want to make connections and grow your audience, you should be taking part.
Whether professionally or as a hobbyist, your goal is likely to one day get paid, or to continue to get paid for your work.
In order to get paid, you need gigs, and in order to get gigs, people need to know you exist. Don’t have huge network of connections from your “real life?” There’s a plethora of options for you in the realm of social media: in this world, there are no gatekeepers.
Using Facebook Groups As a Filmmaker
One of the best options on Facebook for you to meet fellow filmmakers and to land some work are Groups.
A lot of cities, especially large ones, have filmmaking groups that are as simple as a search away. Some of these groups are private, so you will have to be approved before being admitted.
However, once you are, it’s a brilliant way to network among your peers.
- Looking for serious crew members to collaborate with for your short film? You’ve got them.
- You need help with some gear? Ask away.
These groups are often a great way for landing more serious gigs in the area that don’t get shared on places like Craigslist.
Organization For Your Projects Using Facebook
Along with groups, there are many other aspects that make Facebook a boon for filmmakers. One of these is Facebook’s group messaging system.
Among lots of other features, the group messaging system allows file attachment, letting you to set up a crew group chat and use it to share scripts, stills, or other productions materials.
Facebook Messenger also allows for calling and video-chatting, giving you quick access to contacting your members.
Messenger can be a big help for indie level crews who may not all have exclusively Apple or Android products, since sometimes each ecosystems’ group chat doesn’t work perfectly going cross-platform.
Facebook also is a great place for showcasing your work. It’s fantastic for presenting your showreel, as we have here:
As you build a like-minded community through your social connections, you can begin to get relevant feedback.
As more people comment on your content, as well as like and share it, Facebook’s algorithms continue to place it higher in the feeds of your friends, guaranteeing further eyes on you and your content – which should be the goal of a social presence, at the end of the day.
Editor note: We haven’t mentioned Facebook ads in this article. That’s a great way to generate leads for your video business, as we explain in this article.
Another must have for filmmakers is Instagram. This platform is much more media based than Facebook, and therefore allows you the freedom to let your creativity flow.
There a lot of other creative-minded individuals that have taken to Instagram, including DPs and the like, so following and commenting on other professionals’ posts can be a great way to connect with others that you may not know on a personal level.
Be sure when posting content to use hashtags (ex. #filmmaking), to help get your work seen by others outside your circle.
Searching through hashtags can also be a great way to find people to follow with similar interests.
For example, searching #Cinematographer will bring up a list of everyone sharing content with that hashtag, some of which may be excellent contacts to make.
Once you start following some relevant people, Instagram will give you suggested accounts similar to those, helping you grow your connections even more.
But don’t overuse hashtags, as that can be perceived as spam. This infographic from Rival IQ Insights gives us the lowdown:
Contacting Other Filmmakers Via DM
You can also use direct messaging through Instagram to reach out to other filmmakers, who you may not have any other method of contacting.
It’s not a guarantee to work every time, as some people might find it too forward.
However, if you are genuine in your wanting to make a connection, it’s worth the effort. You never know what may happen.
Another big contender in the social-sphere is Twitter.
Twitter is more limited in its capabilities than Facebook. It doesn’t have any sort of feature like Facebook’s Groups and its messenger system is far less advanced.
It’s also less media-and-creative-based than Instagram. But, of course, being an active member in all relevant social circles can be important in today’s times. And Twitter certainly has its uses, especially in getting your articles seen by other filmmakers and promoting your content marketing.
It’s not uncommon for celebrities and people in the industry to reply to comments from followers on Twitter. So, while trying to reach someone this way would be a bit of a stretch, there could be some potential there.
As said, Twitter is probably the least essential of the major social platforms. While it’s good to have a foot in every avenue to stay up to date and reach as many people as possible, for filmmakers, Twitter is likely the least necessary.
So get out and learn to utilize the tools we’ve been handed with social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (and don’t forget LinkedIn, too!) And begin to network and make connections with your fellow filmmakers!
What are you doing with your social media platforms? Do you use them to promote and grow your business, or are they just personal accounts? Let us know in the comments below. And feel free to share this article using the share buttons below!