Why Networking and Referrals Will Kill Your Career as a Filmmaker


Hi guys, so Clarke Scott here from Next Level Filmmaker.

In this video I wanted to talk about why networking and referrals will kill your career as a filmmaker. It's kind of a weird thing to think about, but I believe this is true. I know it is true, and I can prove it as well. Before I start all of that, I want to say this as prefatory remarks so that you don't think that I'm saying never rely on networking- I am saying that- never use networking or don't do networking because that's crazy obviously. What I am saying however, that's what I'm saying you have network, you have to take jobs that are based on referrals. However, what I'm saying is that relying on networking and referrals will kill your business. 

Here's the reason why, when your business is solely based on networking and referrals what you will do on set or through the client relationship is what you are doing is giving all of the power to the current client because you need them to say nice things about in order to get work in the future. What that does is gives all of the managerial power to the client, and it also gives all of the creative power to the client. Again, this all to do with hope marketing, it's all to do with a camera marketing as well, particularly around a dude with a camera marketing. If you're a dude or a dudette, I want to say this again this is not about excluding anyone it's about including everyone. It's just a funny turn of phrase, dude with a camera.

There is a dude with a camera whose half your age just down the road, and if you're in certain parts of the world there's like a production company on every corner. They'll work for half your day rate, they'll sleep on a couch, and two minute noodles just to break in. Don't position yourself as a dude with a camera, but when you do what you're doing is giving all of the power to the client, the current client in order to get future work. 

Where that can go wrong is an example- I've got many examples. One of the examples that I'm going to use is from- actually do I want to tell you that story? I probably do, but I'm not sure I want to tell you it in this video. It's a cool story, but I won't tell you in this video. I'm not trying to be a tease. Although I kind of am. I don't mean to be a tease. The reason is I don't want it to be a long video basically, and it's a long story. In the end what we want to try to keep is the power of the relationship with us. The way we do that is to be business advisors, not just dudes with a camera. 

The reason why we want that to happen is that we want to be able to say no when a client says I want the video to do this. The client doesn't know anything to do with stories, doesn't know anything about how to create the right kind of stories, and get those kinds of stories in the front of the right kind of people at the right time. In order to drive a business result because that's not their expertise. Their expertise is in whatever it is their business does, or whatever that is. It almost doesn't matter what it is. Their expertise is not what we do, what we do we are experts at. Therefore when we walk into a business as a dude with a camera then they can dictate to us what they want. 

However, when we walk in as a trusted business advisor, as an entrepreneurial filmmaker if you like, we are a very different beast. Immediately they see the benefits of working for us. We are the choice, not a choice because we're no longer a dude with a camera. We are the choice because we understand their business problem. We're able to translate that into visual images. Drive our business result for them, and so in doing that the focus is always- here's the real key point. The focus is always on the business result, it is not on the video. It's not on the aesthetics, it's not whether you're using this camera or that camera or lighting, or shit loads of lighting or no lighting. 

I've done spots where mini branded documentaries where I've turned the lights off in houses, and shut curtains in order to make it as dark as possible. I wanted a particular aesthetic, and then pump the ISO up so it's a particular aesthetic. That's what I wanted, the client would never have gone for that if they had all the power. I know that without a doubt, but I didn't have to tell them what I was doing because I had all the power. Why, because the focus was not on what I was creating, although we all knew that was part of it. The focus is on what the business is going to get in terms of value in a business perspective because of what we are creating. 

It's through that they will retain you as a retainer client. They will retain you because you're not just a dude with a camera. You are a trusted business advisor, who just happens to be a filmmaker. What I mean by that, I don't want you to become a business person who just does video, that's not what I'm talking about. Think like a filmmaker as I always say, and be able to translate that into business to get a business result for a business owner. They will love for you life, retainer client. More about retainer clients in another video. 

That's all I wanted to say about this video, stop relying on networking. You still need to it, stop relying on it, stop relying on referrals. You still need to get them, in fact here's the really weird thing. When you're under this model, when you're able to get the next level filmmaker model. When you're able to get a business owner what they actually want because they're not interested in videos. They are interested in a business result, when you're able to get them a business result, and on an ongoing basis, they will love you forever. 

As long as you can continue to get that result for them, they will continue to pay for that result. Very different, very different than dude with a camera marketing. It's got nothing to do with hope marketing. It's a lot of strategy, a lot of tactics in the next level filmmaker methodology of levelling up your career and business as a filmmaker. That's all I wanted to say for this video. Hopefully that was helpful, hopefully that was useful for you guys as well. 

Yeah leave a comment if you like. I'm happy to respond.


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