Mentors. Behind the most accomplished minds in any business is a great mentor. How does one find a mentor in the industry?
Mentors Provide Connections
You have probably heard that in order to succeed in the entertainment industry, one needs connections. Essentially, the film business is built on interpersonal communication and knowledge of other well-connected people.
But simply knowing people in the industry is not enough. Years of experience, good reputation, and wisdom is what a lot of starting filmmakers struggle with.
Is there one particular person who can provide all of this?
In fact there is. This person is a mentor.
What is a Mentor?
There is not a single-sided definition of what a mentor is.
This dub entitles way more than a plain sailing definition. For some, having a mentor means having a person who is ready to step in and help solve upcoming obstacles. For others, a mentor is a person with whom you meet once in a couple of months, and who shares their stories, suggestions, and connections.
The best way to define a mentor is as someone who influences and guides the path; someone who takes you under their wing.
While, there is not a particular blueprint that one can use in order to guarantee a mentorship, there are a couple of aspects to consider that might help to find a mentor.
Where Do You Actually Find a Mentor?
Finding a mentor is an active process. You need to get yourself into situations where the chances of finding a mentor are relatively higher. Film festivals, industry parties, or other film-related networking events are a great place to start.
Social media also acts as a great networking outlet. In fact, with the COVID-19 pandemic a lot of people were lucky enough to connect to people, and find a mentor there. You will be surprised how many people are actually willing to answer your questions and respond to your inquiries. Social networks such as Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook work really well for these purposes.
Find something that connects you to the mentor.
Of course, some of the best mentors come during study at film school. Professors and instructors with practical experience in the film industry offer valuable advice and guidance.
When looking for a mentor, it is very important to know your intended career plan, and to know in which speciality you are looking for that particular mentor.
Are you an aspiring screenwriter and need someone to guide you through a writing career? A director? A cinematographer?
Connecting With the Right Mentor
Once you know what exactly it is you are looking for, you can start searching. However, sharing just the same career interest is not enough. There needs to be a connection.
A mentor needs to have a strong interest in a mentee, and therefore something needs to connect them. Whether two share a same hometown, particular hobby, or similar viewpoints, it is essentially important that both feel it.
Once you know what it is exactly, you can re-affirm it, and hopefully this will bring you together.
Find Authentic Ways to Impress Your Potential Mentor
Once you have already established a repeated contact with your potential mentor, you need to find smart ways to impress them. However there is an underlying quality that’s very important: authenticity.
Do not fake it, force it, or try to show-off your knowledge. Being maximally honest and true to yourself is a key.
Demonstrate your talent in authentic ways. Use visual evidence, such as your portfolio and filmography to make an impression. Do not make things up.
Having a mentor is a privilege. Not many have found one, but if you do, your career in filmmaking will definitely become smoother and more stable.