Our top tips for finding collaborators

Sign up for the BFI NETWORK national newsletter and the BFI NETWORK Midlands mailing list to stay in the loop for upcoming events.

Follow relevant social media accounts to keep an eye on the feeds for local, regional and national support organisations, and where you can, take part in training initiatives. Twitter is often the best way to find out about local events. Some suggested follows;

@bfinetwork, @networkfhm, @UKScreenSkills, @BAFTA, @ShootingPeople, @weareparable, @BBCfilm, @Film4, @British_Film, @uncertainkngdm, @TheDocSociety, @My1stJobInFilm, @bbcwritersroom, @WeAreCreativeUK, @BBCAcademy, @Channel4Skills, @FilmTVCharity, @TheFilmSetUK, @the_tv_mindset, @_TheOtherBox, @InclusiveCinema, @DYSPLA_Festival, @ProspBectuTrain, @TriForceEvents, @Directors_UK, @APALondon, @AnimAllUK, @104Films, @BIFA_film, @OskaBright, @Deaffest, @WMWritersGuild, @PactUK,@raisingfilms.

Watch lots of shorts and see where your project fits in terms of quality, style, story and genre. If you're a Writer or Director looking for a Producer it's sometimes helpful to give them some comparables so they understand your aims.

Places to watch:

Attend festivals that have a particular focus on short films and industry. Below is a small selection of the great festivals in the UK. For more look at British Council's Key Festivals List

Attend regional events including; 

  • Nexus - Monthly Midlands filmmaker Q&As, pitching sessions and networking - Nottingham/Birmingham
  • Short Stack - Broadway Cinema's resident short film night - Nottingham
  • The Short Cinema Show & Tell - For Leicester/shire based filmmakers to show their work and network - Leicester
  • Overlap Animation Show & Tell -  A night for animators & animation lovers to show work, share ideas and hang out - Birmingham
  • screen_share - For artists making screen-based work of any kind to come together, share what they’ve made and talk about it in a friendly and informal environment - Leicester
  • Birmingham Young Film Network - Meet-ups, workshops and initiatives for West Mids based creatives aged 16-25 - Birmingham
  • Screen Northants - Hosting regular events and initiatives for Northants filmmakers - Northampton

If you run a regional networking event for filmmakers please let us know and we will add your listing.

Look at talent initiatives and labs to see who has been selected. These programmes include;

Create a pitch deck for the project. This is a visual document that communicates the themes, ideas, visual style and makeup of the team. Because you likely won't have any visuals created specifically for the story you want to tell yet, unless it's an animation, you can use stills from other films using sources such as SHOTDECK or Film-Grab.

Pitch decks could contain:

  • An attractive cover page with the film's name and an image.
  • A page that notes the genre, predicted length of the film, predicted budget, filming location, writer's/director's/producer's name (as applicable) and a logline (max 25 words)
  • Maximum 2 pages with the films synopsis
  • A few pages of mood boards which reflect the feel, tone, texture and vibe of the film
  • A short character breakdown for the lead characters
  • Comparable short films in terms of the scale of ambition, tone, narrative etc.
  • The writer's/directors/producer's statement and a short bio (as applicable)
  • A contact page

Finding a producer - real talk

Before approaching anyone to produce your film, or collaborate with generally, really understand what you’re asking of them. ScreenSkills provide job descriptions for different roles within the industry, including producers: you can find the list here.

If you find a producer that you’d love to work with, try to chat with them first. Maybe take them for a coffee, meet on Zoom or ask to talk over the phone about their work and why you loved it.

It’s much easier to strike up a collaboration with someone if you try to find out a bit more about them first before immediately putting your project in front of them.

Remember: a collaboration works both ways. They will be trying to figure you out too. You both want to be happy that you’re on the same vibe before working together. If you meet with a producer, you pitch your projects and they chose not to take it forward at this time, be understanding and polite. They aren’t the right producer for this project right now but they might be for a future project. When you meet producers to talk about your projects, be clear about how much creative input you expect them to have. Be open to compromise, but it’s also important to know what your boundaries are and which elements are essential for achieving your vision for the project.