One of the most important parts of securing and excelling at your job is networking. This is especially important in the Film industry, where creative collaboration and diversity serve as essential parts to the creation and execution of film production. Whether you’ve been in the Film industry for many years or you’re just starting out, joining a certified Film organization can be a fantastic way to connect with other professionals in the Film industry and boost your career. With many different options out there, it can be difficult to decide which organization to pick, and why. Here are just a few of the great professional organizations that we recommend you research further if you are looking for a way to keep yourself knowledgeable and actively engaged in the field of Film Production:
- American Film Institute (AFI)
For more than 50 years, the American Film Institute has championed the moving image as an art form. They believe in the revolutionary power of visual storytelling to share perspectives, inspire empathy and drive culture forward. The American Film Institute is the nation’s nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that develop and evolve the past, present, and future of the moving image. With various tiers of memberships, the AFI offers its members access to the AFI Conservatory, an opportunity to network with other professionals in the film industry and develop valuable connections to enhance their understanding of the evolution of film. Members also have access to designated private events and parties at AFI Festivals to connect cinematographers from around the globe. AFI also offers a Directing Workshop for Women, a hands-on training program committed to increasing the number of women and gender non-binary artists working professionally as narrative screen directors. This initiative has fostered a robust network of storytellers empowered to lend their voices to film and television in even greater numbers.
The American Society of Cinematographers was founded in Hollywood in 1919 with the purpose of advancing the art and science of cinematography and bringing cinematographers together to exchange ideas, discuss techniques, and promote the motion picture as an art form – a mission that continues today. The ASC has more than 400 active members working and living around the world, with hundreds of associate members who represent the many technology and services companies that support them. The ASC Education & Outreach committee program provides free events for emerging filmmakers and industry professionals in an effort to promote a greater understanding of the cinematographer’s craft. ASC members volunteer their time to participate in panel discussions, Q&A and lighting/camera seminars at the historic ASC Clubhouse in Hollywood and at trade shows, schools, film festivals, and other industry events around the world. Their Friends of the ASC membership offers a unique opportunity for cinematographers looking to further their professional education. This membership allows users to gain access to ASC members sharing their knowledge, along with discounts on equipment & services from affiliated companies, and much more.
- Women in Film (WIF)
Women in Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture. WIF offers a Mentoring Circles and Peer Mentoring program to offer a safe and open environment for women to cultivate the next generation of women seeking professional guidance as they build their careers and networks. Their Legacy Series showcases trailblazing women whose accomplishments paved the way for new generations of women working in front of and behind the camera. The WIF Financing Intensive is another popular program, a two-day workshop that equips filmmaking teams with financing strategies advised by industry executives, and introduces them to leading financiers. WIF’s INSIGHT is another program that focuses specifically on talented, emerging women of color filmmakers, providing support through a strong network of advocates, mentorship and continuing education. The Women in Film Scholarship Program provides funds to female students to help them continue their education to ensure that female voices are heard and cultivated. By becoming a member of Women in Film, you gain access to all of these resources and much more to help you advocate for and advance your career and those of others working in the screen industries.
Hopefully, this list has shown you some of the differences between the many organizations and opportunities available to Film professionals and help you choose the organization that’s right for you. Please note that these organizations have various membership fees, so be sure to check out their website to find out more information about how to join. Remember, in addition to this list, there are also local chapters to consider. Local groups tend to provide information tailored to your location. Between access to resources, connecting with other experienced professionals and continuing your education, joining a Film organization should definitely be at the top of your list for furthering your professional development. If you want to find out more about any of these great organizations, we recommend following their profiles on LinkedIn. Creating a LinkedIn profile is essential to professional networking and career development. If you have any questions about creating and maintaining your own LinkedIn profile, feel free to schedule an appointment for a LinkedIn consultation with a Career Coach at the Center for Career Development.