If there is any industry that uses networking to the Nth degree it would be the film industry. Networking in general is important no matter what field you are in. The more people you know, the better. In film it can be even more important. Theoretically you could conceivably make your first film without doing much networking, but you’d only be making things hard on yourself. The key is to network. Get to know people in your field, and people who will be able, and willing, to work with you on future projects. There are some steps you can do to make this easier.
First, you can join a club or a society. If you’re in college and there is a Film Club of some kind on campus, join it! It will be a wealth of resources. Not only will you probably have access to filmmaking equipment of some kind, but you’ll also be with likeminded people who want to make films too. Help them with their projects so that they help you with yours. It’s a give and take scenario and it works wonders. If you put effort into their project, they will do the same for you. If you’re past college, look to local cities or towns where there may be film societies you can join. There may be a small fee, but you’ll get opportunities to network with people. You’ll get the opportunity to brainstorm ideas you have and learn about what’s going on in your community. Not only that, but they probably have fun film screenings, newsletters, and film themed parties too!
The more people you meet that have a passion for film, the better. You never know who they know. Maybe that filmmaker you met last Friday at the monthly networking dinner knows someone who handles actors. Once you network with that one filmmaker you now essentially have access to his connections. It is LinkedIn in the real world.
Speaking of LinkedIn, you may as well create a profile and try to join filmmaking groups on there as well. You’ll be able to meet people in your field over a greater distance, and open your circle of contacts even more. Although, I would still recommend to network in real life first, nothing can beat the face to face interaction.
All this being said, everything I’ve mentioned here works in any field. If you’re a writer, an engineer, a painter, a teacher, or anything else you can think of; networking can only benefit you, it can never hurt you. A connection doesn’t work out? No big deal, you’re in no worse position than you were before you tried. Take the risk. It’s better than not taking the risk and wondering later on; what if?