Slamdance Commentary Pt I-Meeting People

January 31, 2010
posted by sheric

Sorry to have left this space unattended for so long. It was a whirlwind couple of weeks in Park City and now I am traveling cross country by car. But I did want to do a little check in so readers would know what was happening.

Slamdance was a blast, as expected, and I am still trying to frame it cohesively in my mind to give you a good perspective on what to expect from the experience should you have it next year. One thing I would like to address, because it came up for me and for many first time Slamdance visitors, is the issue of meeting people and networking.

It is a well kept secret ;) that I am not the best mingler when it comes to cold introductions at parties and networking events. I hate walking into an event not knowing a soul and trying to go around introducing myself to groups of people all standing together in conversation and obviously already acquainted. While there was a filmmaker meet and greet at the festival, it consisted of rows and rows of chairs holding over 100 people and we stood up one by one and introduced ourselves and our projects.  Not the easiest setting for talking amongst the group when someone you might want to know is seated way across the room from you. Then we were adjourned and people went back to talking to their own group! The large festival setting is very overwhelming to most people.

I will say that this occasion allowed me to meet many of my tweeps from Twitter. When I met them in person, we already had loads to talk about from previous conversations. In fact, we arranged to meet ahead of time and it made all the difference in getting to know people to hang out with quickly. People may disparage Twitter, say it is dumb and all that, but I have met many a filmmaker and connection from my tweets. You can follow me @shericand, BTW. 

A filmmaker I met, Chuck Gomez from NY, complained about not meeting fellow filmmakers easily and we concluded that it would be a good idea to hook up with filmmakers involved in the festival ahead of time by emailing them or finding them on Twitter or Facebook and communicating well in advance of the event. Introduce yourself and your project, even if it is in competition with theirs, and tell them you would like to meet up for coffee or whatever. Get the details of films and filmmakers selected from the festival media coverage and go their film’s website, Facebook or Twitter page (because I KNOW they will have them, right?) and find out the contact details. Not all will respond, but many will because they are all going to have the same situation and should want to connect to their fellow attendees.