A few weeks ago, department chairman, Joe Pichirallo, gave his fall semester chair’s workshop where he gave industry advice and answered questions students had about the industry. Pichirallo has been the chair of the department for four years.
Pichirallo’s opinions on the industry come from common sense and human psychology. When discussing the answer to the classic question, “How do I meet people in the industry?”, Pichirallo compared it to dating. People must think strategically, flatter people in a way that they’re comfortable with, and ask the person about themselves, the one subject everyone loves most. At the end of a conversation, lay the groundwork for a follow-up by asking if you can continue the conversation. This is key advice for film students, as networking is one of the most important skills for students who want to go into this industry.
The next topic of conversation was about how to find people who can become connections. Pichirallo recommended emailing assistants. When emailing assistants, always mention that someone referred you. By having someone refer you to the person/company, the company sees that you are respected by people they trust.
When meeting people in the industry, it can be easy to forget who is who and who you have met, so creating a contact list is very important. People who you meet at internships should go on that list and can be good references. Adam Underhill is a great resource to find internships, as he is the internship coordinator and is always available to help.
One last piece of crucial advice from Pichirallo was to read scripts. The best way to do so is to do script coverage for a production company. If you need help finding a company to work for, turn to your teachers or classmates.
Overall, Pichirallo’s talk was enlightening and insightful and a truly valuable resource for students finding their way into the industry. If you have any questions about your career or about industry advice, it is highly recommended that you attend next semester’s workshop.