Blake Farber is a director who made his way into the industry by making music videos. He’s traveled all over the world and works with everyone from Korean K-Pop bands to Beyonce. The main take away I got from his talk was that we as filmmakers need to see the whole market place. There is work all over the world, not just in New York, Los Angeles and other major American cities, and if you want to be successful, you have to go where the money is.
Another huge part of his success was networking. Farber started out as a musician and was in a band. He went on tour and made friends with other bands and started shooting music videos for them. He built his reel working with people he knew. Word of his talent spread through the music community, and with a reputation as a highly capable director, he was referred to more and more clients. It’s a very traditional “go with what you know” approach, but it works.
He also wasn’t afraid to go out and find work. When he wanted to work with K-pop bands in Korea, he made cold calls, found connections, and was able to get bands to work with him out there. It’s a lot of leg work, but he was successful because he made the effort.
Every director needs to be his own agent when starting out. If you want to get something made, you have to have that business sense and ability to sell yourself. Building a reel and marketing yourself is essential. This interview again stressed the importance of networking. If you’re a filmmaker, and you don’t feel confident talking to people at an event or asking your friends to work with you, or selling yourself to a new client, it’s definitely a skill to improve. Blake Farber took himself all over the world and built his career on his talent and his ability to sell himself.
If you’re not networking right now, start looking on social media for filmmaker groups. They’re are quite a few on Facebook. Start checking resources like meetup.com to find events in your area. Those are good places to start.