Attending festivals, conferences by yourself

Andrajas

Active Member
So I've been thinking a lot about my business as a composer and I see a problem with me not attending more festivals and conferences than I do. This for obvious reasons. But I think one thing that makes it harder is when you have to go all by yourself. Always nice to have company but thats not always possible. So I wonder about how you deal with this and things you do when you are for example, at an film festival, all alone, and trying to gather information and hopefully get some net working going? Things to think about etc.

thanks as always,
 

Montisquirrel

Active Member
During break, go to the place where the people are smoking and just start talking with them.
If a bigger group, lets say 5-8 people are leaving the building to go for dinner, go and join them. It always seems that people who are standing together already know each other before, but most times thats not the case. People who join these festivals and conferences want to meet new people. Thats why they go there (in most cases). And in my experience there are always many producers, actors, directors but not many composers. At least here in Germany, people love to change business cards, so be prepared.
In my opinion going by yourself is the best way to join these meetings.

Thats my experience, but keep in mind that I am very new in this "game". So others have maybe more and deeper experience.
 

Henu

Senior Member
I feel extremely uncomfortable in all sorts of "industry meetings". I've always been kind of an anarchistic type of a person in the business but it's not that I couldn't small talk or act professionally on paper- it's just that when the real deal happens I feel like an autistic animal trapped into a corner. I stutter with my English, feel like an imposter among the people and hope the earth would open up and swallow me, taking me back to my lair to compose and be excited about music instead of trying to tell people about it.

It's much better when I have a colleague with me who can do most of the talking me just being in the background....and holy mother of dog am I fearing already the day when I need to that alone some day, hah!
 
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Andrajas

Active Member
During break, go to the place where the people are smoking and just start talking with them.
If a bigger group, lets say 5-8 people are leaving the building to go for dinner, go and join them. It always seems that people who are standing together already know each other before, but most times thats not the case. People who join these festivals and conferences want to meet new people. Thats why they go there (in most cases). And in my experience there are always many producers, actors, directors but not many composers. At least here in Germany, people love to change business cards, so be prepared.
In my opinion going by yourself is the best way to join these meetings.

Thats my experience, but keep in mind that I am very new in this "game". So others have maybe more and deeper experience.
Great thought about others probably not knowing each other before. That mindset probably helps!

I feel extremely uncomfortable in all sorts of "industry meetings". I've always been kind of an anarchistic type of a person in the business but it's not that I couldn't small talk or act professionally on paper- it's just that when the real deal happens I feel like an autistic animal trapped into a corner. I stutter with my English, feel like an imposter among the people and hope the earth would open up and swallow me, taking me back to my lair to compose and be excited about music instead of trying to tell people about it.

It's much better when I have a colleague with me who can do most of the talking me just being in the background....and holy mother of dog am I fearing already the day when I need to that alone some day, hah!
Ye I feel the same way! I'm way more comfortable having someone with me. I have no problem talking to people, but going around alone is a bit frightening haha. Guess its feels hard in the beginning, and i have to start somewhere. I will see what I will do hehe!
 

BenG

Senior Member
As someone who has attended these types of events solo, I think you actually get a lot more out of them. Without a friend, you're forced to meet new people which is kind of the point!

I think being a bit shy is normal, but you are hardly 'alone'. Most people there are in the same boat as you and hoping to speak with a bunch of great people with similar interests. I find a good ice-breaker is asking questions (About the event, business, themselves) which is a quick way to start a conversation and you can go from there :) The key is to be honest and genuine. I don't even mention what I do in the industry until someone asks! And when they do, everyone thinks composers are really unique and interesting:P *Bring plenty of business cards!*

As you go to more events, it will definitely get easier and you'll feel less intimidated!
 

Henu

Senior Member
It's high school all over again, huh. Where are the cool kids and will they like me, at least just a little bit?
Not sure what you mean by this, but if you are not here to help, but just trolling, plz don't bother replying to this thread
I'm pretty sure it's not trolling per se, but rather pointing out that some things may never change. And that's actually very true- for those with shyness or low self-esteem it feels like all high school again when you attend to meetings like that.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
It's extremely tough for more inward or not very confident personalities to get something going in these "networking" environments. And not just them. Many people just don't really appreciate the banter, the who knows who and the seeing and being seen, so from that perspective, this whole industry gatekeeping and signaling game can turn into some bizzare high school reenactment act real quick.
 

VinRice

... i am a robot ...
I was always on the mixing desk or actually in the band so that I could enjoy gigs and parties without feeling like a dick. People would want to talk to me without prompting. I miss those days. I suspect its why most people get into Showbiz.

Anyway, if you want to actually be successful at these sort of things you have to get your 'corporate' on. Business people do this stuff all the time and it's simply a case of being prepared with a 'script'. Have your opening lines prepared, have your answer to "why are you here" and "what do you do" prepared and really smooth. While you are at the event think up something humorous that's relevant to that event. Getting people to laugh, or even just fake laugh, is the key getting people engaged. After the initial introductions are out of the way it's just a question of listening and intuiting as much background info about the person or group of people you are with so that you can pitch your subject matter at the right level. It also really helps if you have just said a simple hello to people at some time before you want to talk to them.

Corporate people can be some of the most vacuous douchebags you could ever meet but they have this game down to a tee. This is business. If you make some new friends, that's great and will happen naturally after the initial awkward start, but you are all there to make potential business contacts and it's simply a social game to get to the point of working out if you are potentially useful to each other and swapping business cards. EVERYBODY is nervous. It's just who is better at faking confidence. It takes a bit of practice and only gets better with actually doing it.