Michelle Czernin von Chudenitz, Multi Award-Winning feature film Producer talks about building the right networks to create a lucrative career in the film business.
When I started in the business I read a book that had been written by the late Dawn Steel and to this day though she has passed away, she is both a role model and a mentor to me. Ms. Steel was the first female President of a studio, by happenstance Columbia Pictures – the only studio with a woman as it’s logo. The book is called, “They Can Kill You, But They Can’t Eat You – Tales from the Front“. In the book she writes about an incredibly impressive young man, who created a call sheet – where he would call 100 people every week for a few seconds to just see what was new – people came and went on the list depending on who was more active – this young man is Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is today one of Hollywood’s most influential players. He perfected the process of building and most importantly maintaining relationships. I am still learning!
After you have met a contact and followed up with your email or call, try to occasionally schedule an in-person. It is remarkable how things shift when you talk with someone eye to eye and have an opportunity to read and reflect on their reactions. Sometimes this isn’t possible with schedules as they are; I am personally overloaded, so it is difficult for me to get out and meet people, but when I do, it makes the world of difference.
The other component which I am a steadfast believer in, is creating your own calling card. With the constant evolution of digital – both media and devices, anyone can create a platform for themselves. If you are dedicated and truly want it, but are not being given the opportunity, create your own opportunity.
From Social Networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Blogs, Twitter to film festivals – they even have ones for films created on your cell phone – there are hundreds if not thousands of places to create virtually free platforms of your work. A lesson I have learned along the way: don’t try to be perfect – you can spend such a long time trying to make it “just right” that it never gets done and never gets seen.
Remember it often boils down to one individual saying yes. They may get a link in their email from a friend about an incredibly funny video on YouTube – after watching it, realize you are the perfect person to star opposite Vince Vaughn in their next comedy. Think it sounds like a dream? Have you heard of Justin Bieber? He is one of the biggest teen stars in the world, who made his own opportunity by creating home made music videos and putting them on youtube.
Create your own press machine. Create your own momentum. It takes one person to say yes to change your entire career. And, by not waiting around you can be certain that you are not leaving your fate in another person’s hands.
About the Author
Michelle’s background as a multi Award-Winning feature film, music video and commercial Producer provided a significant foundation for her foray into marketing independent films. However, when factoring in her extensive relationships in the international diplomatic community and an education in marketing and finance, the scope of her expertise is far greater. Michelle founded Popular Press Media Group (PPMG) as a firm that creates unique synergies between entertainment, domestic and international governments and corporate clients through distinctive marketing/messaging/branding campaigns; strategic brand relationships; perception management; endorsement campaigns; domestic and international relations; high profile, celebrity centric media events and more.
You can follow Michelle on twitter @MichelleCvCM