The following tips were presented by H.Cherdon Bedford at the Austin Film Meet on April 19, 2010 at Spiderhouse Cafe. The following info is intended to help you get gigs in the Austin independent film scene. Hopefully, it helps!

1 – Make friends. Be nice. Be friendly. Treat others as you want to be treated. Remember names and at least one thing about them.

2 – Strategic Networking, long-term networking, and regular network. Go to events where people are that might be able to get you a gig. Choose wisely, your time is valuable. Be a frequent face. Show up on a regular basis. Doesn’t have to be all the time, but at similar intervals.

3 – Remember people, their names and something about them. Figure out what kind of learner you are & use that to help you remember. If visual, try associating their name with something about the way they appear to you. If auditory learner, try to associate with their name with the way they sound. Put their business card on a board in front of you and remember that image.

4 – Let the smiles flow. When in doubt, smile.

5 – Business cards & branding. Get an image and stick to it. A logo if you will. A motto or title will send a clear message about who you are and what you do. Always have these on hand, even when you think you won’t need them.

6 – Be on time and on time is early. If you’re going to be late, call and let someone know. Know what materials are due when and be prepared on time.

7 – Get online. Find out where your community is on the internet and get connected. Get a Facebook account and use for networking. Get accustomed to email. A lot of people use this as their primary communication. Be willing to return phone calls with a decent, consistent time response. Get listed. List yourself in online galleries as often as possible. Most will render nothing, but at least this will help get your name and face out there.
Film Texas
Reel Women
Austin Film Society
Network Austin Mixer
Greater Austin Creative Alliance

8. Get a reel. Save copies of all the projects you work on so you will have them to take clips from for future reels. A reel is a necessity for actors, speakers, filmmakers, DPs, gaffers. For others, like illustrators, photographers, designers and set designers, a portfolio can take the place of a reel and is integral to ones success. A reel should be a representation of what you are capable of and the work you have done in the past. Only use your better work and replace old or lesser impressive pieces as you have new clips to replace them. Include your name, website, phone number or email.

9. Get a website with your resume and reel. Actors need a website with their headshots, a small photo gallery. Offer a subscription to an e-newsletter with updates on news about your performances, projects and recent news. This is getting your face in front of people regularly. Put together a downloadable PDF of your professional resume. Use proper formatting and good grammar. Maintain your resume.

10. Always be working on your craft. Continue study. Continue practicing. Of course, we always want to get paid for our work, but we never want to be out of work. So, work for free for your friends and special contacts. You’ll be more likable and this will give them a taste of how you might be an asset to them.