Three experienced industry execs offered invaluable advice on networking – something many TV newcomers dread – at an RTS Futures event in mid-November.
“I’ve always avoided the idea of networking like the plague, so the fact that I’m on this panel is quite wild,” admitted Jasmine Dotiwala.
She currently works for Netflix UK’s editorial and publishing team, and has more than 25 years’ experience in TV, including stints at Channel 4 News and MTV.
Dotiwala advised: “Stop thinking about it as networking… it’s about making it fun and palatable for you.
“It’s an old cliché – they say your network is your net worth…. I really now get that.
“If you work in TV already, whether you’re researching people, getting expert voices, or finding new talent, you’re going to need a network. If you’re not working in TV yet, you’re going to need a network to… help you get that foot in the door.
“I used to set myself challenges, so I would go to an event and resolve: ‘I really don’t want to be here, but I’m going to stay for an hour and chat’. You don’t have to stay there all night making small talk because it’s exhausting.”
Simone Pennant, who founded The TV Collective, which supports diverse creative communities, said: “We use this term ‘network’, but it’s just people you know. Most of us work in the industry because we like people, we’re curious about people.”
She added: “Don’t just think about networking as this kind of industry thing that, ‘I’ve got to go along and talk to people to get jobs’…. Collect people… because you just don’t know when [they] will become useful.”
Andrew Zein, SVP for creative, format development and sales at Warner Bros International TV Production and former MD of Tiger Aspect, highlighted the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance: “There are dozens of schemes out there, initiatives or events that you can go to, but there are only so many hours in the day. Being targeted about what you want to do is really important.”
At the end of the RTS Futures event, which was chaired by Daisy Church of the Media Trust, attendees were given the opportunity to network in breakout rooms.
Report by Matthew Bell.