New York City was all about networking. The film business is all about networking. Now Munich has joined my all -about-networking list.
Luckily I like to talk, though ever since I’ve started writing professionally, I really enjoy not having to disperse my energy and that means, not engrossing in conversation. Writers are weird. We all know it. But on the average, when I am being social, which is not really all that often anymore, I really like to exchange thoughts and information, meet new contacts and then run into old contacts and give them the you-should’ve-been-there-story so we can keep the networking conversation up, which usually starts with: “I didn’t see you yesterday at so-and-so’s opening” or “I was at so-so’s benefit party yesterday” or “we had such a great evening with George Clooney’s neighbor’s daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s dog walker at this premiere…” Ok, I made that up. I’ve never talked to George Clooney’s neighbor’s daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s dog walker.
At most film related networking events you are usually pushing a project or selling your skills, ideas or yourself. You’re usually interested in people who hold positions, professionally or in social circles, that can “help” you down the line. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. You don’t really have time to take the time, so you target and shoot. You try your luck, try to get people’s attention. Specific people, that is. If someone doesn’t have an interesting position of some sort for your specific goals, you rarely take the time of day. But if you grew up in America you know that well, you just never know.
So now, having finally learned enough German to actually engross in small talk conversation, I’m fully equipped to attend networking events on my own in Munich. So the minute I got an invitation from this great initiative called the Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft Bayern, which is basically a national initiative to empower, advise and even offer solutions to those involved in some sort of creative field and need to earn a living with it, I said yes to it because, well, you just never know.
I figured I’d come in, get a coffee, small talk my way through the room, everyone would be wearing a badge with a name and what they did, and at some point I would thank the person who put it together and leave before it was actually over. Instead, we all sat together to have brunch, talked, expressed our concerns or fears regarding our different businesses, promoted projects, shared insights, discussed challenges that lie ahead and nobody got up to leave. The Brunch actually ran over, which is unheard of in this part of the world. At some point we were asked to pin point this week’s obstacle to overcome, you know, the “thing” we need to work on to get closer to our goals. My first inner monologue began with: I already have work, I have deadlines, I’ve organized my months, I’m exercising, I’m eating properly, I have my 5 year-goal plan, I have no existential uncertainties anymore, though I’m sure they’ll creep up at some point again in my lifetime. As the round inched towards me I thought: great, I have nothing to say, how disconcerting, everyone has to say something and I have nothing to say. Then it hit me: I’m not very happy about my current working place i.e. home. It has run its course. I’m itching to find a place to write, preferably an office, without spending the money that we don’t have. So when it was my turn, I said that I needed to pro-actively change my writing scenario until we could afford a real office. A few minutes later, someone who happens to own space was suggesting a tangible alternative workplace. 🙂 How awesome is that? Well, very awesome if you ask me, because at the least, I just articulated to a bunch of strangers my need for change, which now forces me to find a solution to something that is indeed bothering me and needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. I’ve been putting it off for months and now I can’t anymore. It’s out there. People know. It’s the push I needed.
And to think I assumed that all networking events were about targeting and shooting. I was definitely wrong.
For anyone living in Munich and working as an artist or creative, working in or catering to the Cultural, Fine Arts, Designing or Entertainment Industries, and especially those who are self-employed, have start-ups or are running small businesses, take advantage of this initiative. I fully recommend it. If you do, then I’ll see you around. If not, remember: you should give it a try because, well…you just never know.
Photos courtesy of Simone Naumann Fotografie © 2013