After two decades in New York, I relocated to Los Angeles. Even though I was raised in LA and knew quite a few people in the film industry, it didn’t necessarily guarantee that re-establishing a foothold in my new creative community was going to come easy. Thankfully, Pond5 supports quite a few creative user groups and communities, which made it much easier to acclimate myself to the West Coast’s creative climate. Whether you’re new to a city or have your roots firmly planted in the scene where you are, it’s always a great idea to find a group (or groups) and meet members who share similar creative interests. Here’s why.
The Benefits of Joining an Organization
The benefits of joining a user group, or any other creative organization, include the opportunities to make new friends, network with professionals, and learn more about your field of interest. It’s a place where you can keep up on latest technologies and trends, but most importantly, it’s a place where you can stay motivated and inspired.
I was recently scheduled to attend and introduce myself at LACPUG, a creative pro user group based in Los Angeles that meets up for one night a month. I was instantly welcomed by LACPUG members, close to 100 professional filmmakers. The itinerary of the evening featured guest speakers offering their insights into their creative processes while demonstrating the latest production software and camera gear.
When the speakers had wrapped up, I had the opportunity to meet, exchange business cards, and share my own field experiences with the group’s members. Many of these user groups are free to join, aside from a small donation at the door to help pay for drinks and snacks. Besides searching on Google for groups that cater to your specific skills, I recommend searching Facebook and Meetup for other TV and film professionals. And if you can’t find a group that fits your niche, you can always start your own!
Film and Art Schools
Two days later, I was driving up to the University of California Santa Barbara for the screening premiere of several short films produced by students in the Blue Horizons Summer Program for Environmental Media. Blue Horizons is another event co-sponsored by Pond5, along with Sony Entertainment. This event gave me the opportunity to meet the young filmmakers who had participated in the program, as well as other guests and contemporaries in my field. Tickets are usually free for these types of screenings, but it’s important to RSVP to attend these events, as attendance usually fills up quite quickly.
Nature and wildlife B-roll are extremely attractive subjects for Pond5’s video collection — as long as the copyright is owned by the filmmaker — and I received enthusiastic commitments from a couple of producers to register and upload such content to Pond5 at this event. In addition, the opportunity exists for you to recruit students as interns for your own productions in exchange for college credits. Each schools’s requirements for student internships vary, so make sure to contact the school and ask permission before you canvas the film department for talent.
Local Film Festivals
There are at least 3,000 film festivals currently active around the world, with 70% in North America alone. I can guarantee that wherever you call home, you’ll be able to locate an annual film festival in the nearest city, if not in your surrounding area. There are many reasons to attend a film festival beyond the obvious entertainment factor. Whether you have your own video production company, photography studio, or other endeavor, if you’re like many of the Pond5 artists I’ve had the pleasure to speak with, you have other creative businesses outside of our marketplace. Like with user groups, meeting folks that have the same creative disciplines is key to advancing your career, and you’ll meet many of these people at festivals and festival-related events.
Pond5 continues to be committed to the artist first. With that in mind, be on the lookout for new ways in which we’ll be strengthening our support for your vision and bringing our community closer together. We will always do our best to inform you which industry events or functions we will be attending so that we can get to know you better and your feedback is extremely important to us.
Were excited to hear what your own process or strategy is for locating and engaging with likeminded folks who share your creative interests. Tell us in the comments!