25 Networking Moves to Uplevel Your Screenwriting Career: Part 1 - Festivals and Groups

Isabel Drean

December 28, 2023

25 Networking Moves to Uplevel Your Screenwriting Career:  Part 1 - Festivals and Groups


In the world of screenwriting, talent and hard work are essential, but they’re only part of the equation for success. Networking is another crucial component, often making the difference between a script that gathers dust and one that's turned into a blockbuster. In this series, we delve into the first five of twenty-five indispensable networking moves to elevate your screenwriting career, beginning with leveraging film festivals and screenwriting groups.

1. Attend Film Festivals

Film festivals are not just platforms for showcasing cinema; they're bustling hubs for networking. Whether it's a local event or an international gala like Cannes or Sundance, these festivals offer unique opportunities to connect with filmmakers, producers, and fellow writers. But how do you make the most of these events?

Maximizing Your Film Festival Experience

Research and Plan: Before attending, research the festival schedule. Identify panels, workshops, and networking events. Planning ahead ensures you don’t miss valuable opportunities. 

Prepare Your Pitch Thoughtfully: While attending film festivals, it's crucial to be ready with a pitch for your screenplay, but remember, the context matters. Avoid pitching at social gatherings or parties. If someone expresses interest, keep the conversation casual and engaging, focusing more on sparking interest than making a sale on the spot. This approach is about cultivating curiosity and potential collaboration.

Networking Cards – A Digital Approach: In the digital age, traditional business cards are evolving. Consider using digital card apps like Blinq or Linq, which allow you to exchange information seamlessly. These apps not only enable you to collect the other person’s contact details effectively but also share your portfolio in a comprehensive, eco-friendly manner. An innovative option is an NFT business card, which can be tapped against a phone to exchange information instantly.

  • Advantages: Environmentally friendly, easy updating of your contact information, and a unique, memorable way to network.

  • Cons: Dependence on digital technology.  If the connection is bad, it doesn't work. Not everyone may be comfortable or familiar with this method.

Traditional Paper Cards – Balancing the Old with the New: While digital cards are on the rise, paper business cards still hold their charm. 

  • Pros: Universally accepted and easy to use. Tangible, leaving a physical reminder of your interaction.

  • Cons: Can be easily lost or misplaced. Less environmentally friendly and harder to keep updated.  Most people will come home and place them in a drawer or box, never to be seen again. 

The key with any networking card, digital or traditional, is to ensure you can easily access the information of the people you meet. 

Follow Up: After the festival, reach out to the connections you’ve made. A simple email referencing your conversation can be the start of a valuable professional relationship.

Building Relationships, Not Just Selling Scripts:

Remember, your goal at these events is to build relationships, not to directly sell a screenplay. Avoid asking someone to read your script during the event or doing a hard pitch. Focus on making genuine connections; these relationships can lead to opportunities organically in the future.

2. Join Screenwriting Groups

Screenwriting groups, both online and in-person, offer more than just feedback on your work; they're a gateway to a community of peers, mentors, and possibly industry insiders.

Leveraging Screenwriting Groups for Networking:

Active Participation: Don’t just be a passive member. Engage actively by sharing your work, providing constructive feedback to others, and participating in discussions.

Organize or Attend Meetups: If the group is local, organize or attend regular meetups. Face-to-face interactions can forge stronger connections.

Online Forums: For online groups, contribute regularly by sharing resources, asking questions, and responding to others. Platforms like Reddit’s r/Screenwriting or dedicated Facebook groups can be particularly insightful.

3. Regular Meetups with Peers

Consistent interaction with fellow screenwriters can lead to a wealth of opportunities. Regular meetups are not only great for exchanging ideas but also for staying abreast of industry trends and opportunities.

Effective Networking at Meetups:

Be a Regular: Consistency is key. Regular attendance helps in building trust and recognition among peers.

Host Your Own: If there aren’t many meetups in your area, consider starting one. This positions you as a proactive member of the screenwriting community.

Share and Learn: Use these meetups as a chance to share your experiences and also to learn from the journeys of others.

Collaborative Projects: These gatherings can be the birthplace of collaborative projects, providing practical experience and exposure.

4. Film Industry Panels and Q&As

Attending panels and Q&A sessions offers a unique opportunity to gain industry insights directly from the experts. These events are often attended by a mix of beginners and seasoned professionals, offering diverse networking opportunities.

Maximizing Panel Participation:

Ask Insightful Questions: This can help you stand out and be remembered.

Network Post-Event: Use the opportunity after the event to introduce yourself to the panelists and other attendees.

Connect Online: Follow up with connections made during these events through social media or email.

5. Engage in Community Film Projects

Participating in local film projects can expand your network beyond just writers. Working on such projects provides practical experience and the chance to meet directors, actors, and producers.

Community Engagement Strategies:

Volunteer: Offering your skills as a writer or assistant on local projects can open doors.

Show Genuine Interest: Be involved in projects not just for networking but also to genuinely contribute to the community.

Build Relationships: Use these projects to build long-term professional relationships.


The first part of our "25 Networking Moves to Uplevel Your Screenwriting Career" series has focused on group interactions and community engagement. These initial steps lay the foundation for a robust network that can support and elevate your screenwriting career.

Stay tuned for the next article, where we will delve into digital networking strategies that can further enhance your professional connections and opportunities.

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