A DOP’s Perspective on how making the most of Sundance

Plannig in advance is always the best option, so in case your are thinking of going to Sundance this 2017, in Zeferino Professional Lighting we want to offer your a few tips on how to get the most from your trip to Sundance.


1. Know what you want to get out of the festival

Know what you want before you get to the festival, and be focused. Have a plan.

If your goal is networking, reach out to friends and acquaintances who are going, and ask if there are parties you could attend. Seek out vendors or manufacturers who may have a space or events at Sundance. Ask collaborators if there are people they think you should meet.

Let your friends know your intentions so they can help and make introductions that support those goals, and be sure to return the favor. For example, if your screenwriter friend is looking to get into horror writing and you meet the programmer of a horror festival, you can make an introduction and let them take it from there.


2. Be open

There’s a great openness at Sundance, more than 40,000 people are taking over a small town and it lends a great sense of community that you don’t find at other festivals. Everyone is extremely accessible there.

The fact you’ve come to Sundance legitimizes you enough that you are worth talking to. Jump into strangers’ conversations in the grocery store, or in line for the bus, or with the couple seated next to you in the theatre.

3. It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Take care of yourself. Drink water. Eat. Support your immune system. Go to bed at a reasonable hour so you can jump back in the game in the morning.

Particularly at Sundance, the altitude takes a toll, and you can easily become dehydrated and fatigued. Often folks become sleep-deprived and their immune systems suffer.


4. Bring business cards

People have different approaches, if you enter a number in your phone, you won’t recall who that person is in a week—and the most important thing about collecting business cards is following up.

Pro tip: write notes on the back of the business card, such as where you met and what you talked about, so that you have references when you follow up. Do it that evening while you still recall the conversation. And bring a lot of cards so you don’t have to be stingy.

5. Make time for follow-ups

If there is a stack of 200 business cards, pick who you think is most beneficial to stay in touch with. Or even if you don’t think they are beneficial, but you had a connection and you just like them.

Allow some time after the festival and reach out to the people who you want to follow up with.


6. Networking is all about genuine connections

People want to hire people they know. You can’t just throw around business cards. It’s a balance of having a real connection, and also not spending all your time at the party talking to everyone. Once you establish that you’ll follow up later, it might be time to start working the room.

Some people may think of networking as intimidating or fake and self-serving and therefore negative—and that’s the wrong attitude. It is great to touch base and meet other people doing interesting things, and perhaps you’ll be able to collaborate or help each other in the future.

You’ll be surprised who you meet, nothing you do all year long pays off like coming to Sundance festival.


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