How to network with casting directors and producers
The most fundamental thing to remember before you even consider where and when you will network, is to be yourself. You, just like the people you seek to work with, are looking for creative partners. This means someone that shares some of your values, visions and perspectives on life, whom you can enjoy being around and working with.
The more you know who you are and allow that person to shine through, the more you will know better when you've found a good networking opportunity, and the more other people will get a better sense of whether they want to work with you. People value and remember others who are genuine and inspiring, and this is most crucially achieved by letting go and and not being afraid to be who you are. Allowing your real personality to shine means your reputation will be making impressions even when you are not actively networking and you will find more referrals coming through. Conversely, putting on an act when networking will have the opposite effect, repelling people because they will not feel they can trust you.
The next step is to work out where the people you want to contact are hanging out. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself as you research: How would they spend their spare time? Where would they study? Who might be out networking on their behalf? Keep your ears pinned to the ground for events that aren't advertised in the usual industry mailouts. Think about where particular disciplines may turn up - for example directors may be visiting technology expositions. If searching online, be more specific and niche with your search phrases, e. G. "producer social" may flag up an event specifically for producers to socialize, where as "media networking" will yield the same mass-publicity events that everyone else goes to.
Always proudly state your dreams with real passion when asked, but do not go about hard-selling to everyone you meet. At networking events seek first and foremost to connect with other people, to learn about them, laugh and joke with them. It should be a fun activity where you can find like-minded people! Don't immediately go about listing your credits and skills unless asked. Those conversations come later. The priority is to connect and make an impression with others (by being yourself).
Also, treat everyone you meet with equal respect, no matter what their profession as you never know where that connection could lead, (remember, your reputation does more networking then you will ever do in person).