The Difficulty of Networking at Networking Events
Very often, business connections are not made in places where they are expected to be made (e.g. business meetings, fairs, festivals etc.) but rather in places where you normally won’t expect them. The simple reason for that is that in situations like film festivals, potential business partners are in the mode of expecting people to approach them and to try to make business contacts, which makes it very difficult to stand out from the crowd. Producers get so many business cards and handshakes on such events that they barely will remember anyone.
In my experience it is way more effective to create business contacts in non-related events. Having a casual chat with someone on the hallway of an event might be way more effective than trying to make a business connection on an aftershow party etc. Of course, these “lucky meetings” can hardly be planned so always be prepared for that and also attend events where at first sight it might not be the best possibility to make new contacts. And of course make sure to always have a business card with you.
Of course, use common sense on such situations. Seeing someone you would like to network with at a restaurant eating out with their family and obviously having private time is probably not the best situation to step in and try to network with them.