Just because you live in a small town doesn’t mean you are limited by the resources available locally. You can read acting books by all the great teachers, filmmaking books by great directors and producers, and of course you can watch all the television and movies that anyone else can watch.
Try to study and appreciate the sensibilities of people who you want to work with down the road. In the same way people from other countries often learn English from watching American television, small market people can learn big market lingo and skills by studying them through whatever media they can find.
1. Get to know the local film commission. Almost every region or decent sized town has a local film commission. Guess who the film commission deals with all day long? They deal with movie and TV producers who want to come to their area to shoot. If you volunteer or work at your film commission, you might be the one who talk to these producers. Need I say more?
2. Get to know the producers. Even the smallest towns have people who dream of being big time movie makers one day. If you don’t think there’s a film industry near you, think again. There are always people who are stepping out of their comfort zones and looking for willing partners to turn their dreams into reality. A good story is a good story no matter where it is told and no matter what equipment it is shot on. Robert Rodriguez made an incredibly compelling movie for a few thousand dollars and managed to create a bidding war among all the big studios. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Start asking around and find out who in your neck of the woods is as passionate as you are.
3. Do your own thing. If you really can’t find anyone who is making TV or movies in your area then maybe it’s time to break out the iPhone and start making your own short films. It doesn’t really matter if they are bad or good because what really counts is attracting some attention. Someone from somewhere we’ll see what you did and start a conversation with you. Keep getting better and keep looking for partners. Now there are even fundraising sites for aspiring producers to get free money from supportive people around the world. Take advantage of your situation.
4. Film festivals. It seems like every town with more than 500 people has a film festival these days. Get involved. Volunteer, offer to pick people up from the airport, or be a tour guide. Find out who the organizers are and then ask everyone you know if they have some kind of connection to them. Your imagination is your only limit. If a filmmaker has the wherewithal to travel to your small town, they might be going somewhere. Don’t wait until they show up in town before you try to contact them. Get the list of films and their producers and directors and reach out before they arrive and offer to help them in any way you can think of.
5. Hang out where the industry hangs out. If you have no connections to the local industry, then start hanging out near their places of business. Look up the local producers, directors, editors, agents, and casting directors and find out where their offices are. Knock on their doors, hang out at local coffee shops and restaurants and start listening in on conversations or start them yourself. It won’t be long before you make connections with the people you are looking for. Just find something in common and you will have the embers of a relationship that could last a lifetime and could springboard you from the backwater to Beverly Hills.
Think I’m nuts? We have members using every single one of these techniques to get where they want to go. You have the power, you just have to use it.