Blog - News

March 18, 2024

By Samantha Rifkin

In a sector that’s dominated by ‘big’ personalities, it’s easy to feel like Film & TV is designed for extroverts: a sphere where the gregarious, the loud and the go-getters can thrive. But extroversion is by no means the only language the industry understands. Like extroverts, introverts have an innate ability to build earnest and meaningful connections, and thrive in a creative atmosphere. They are adaptable; possess the enviable ability to push themselves into intimidating spaces and to hone skills that might not naturally be there – even if just for a short while, and at exhausting mental cost. But with recent YouGov data indicating 50% of Britons identify as introvert compared to 42% extrovert (9% aren’t sure), we need to ensure these spaces can welcome and nurture personality traits from across the spectrum, from all sensibilities.  

From pitching a script, to managing a team to virtual and in-person self-promotion – there are lots of tricky industry tasks that require navigation; spaces that introverts wouldn’t ordinarily traverse. And as the creative organisations helping facilitate those spaces, it’s up to us – including the wider industry – to employ more thoughtful practices to better leverage introvert skills and creativity. To foster a more welcoming atmosphere.  

A self-identified introvert may appreciate the following statement: introverts are sensitive, introspective and thrive in deep, meaningful encounters with a few, as opposed to many. Energy tends to be gained from periods of quiet reflection, rather than from huge crowds – and so job posts seeking “confident, outgoing candidates with exceptional communication skills” are less likely to inspire.  

When it comes to applying these skills in the workplace, the Film & TV industry offers a plethora of opportunities to maximise creativity. With 5 core departments (Development, Production, Technical, Craft and Post) and more than 100 roles, there’s a job to suit and satisfy all personality types and skillsets. But whilst successful careers thrive on social relationships and interactions, and introverts can and do excel in all sorts of environments, there is one hurdle that for many remains impossible to overcome: networking.  

From the beginning, we’re told that networking is a crucial step; a necessary evil on which our early and continuing success hangs. Because in many ways, this is still a ‘who you know’ industry. And with networking events often acting as a gateway; a chance for new entrants to engage with experienced professionals in-person, networking really can’t be underestimated. After all, it isn’t just about finding that next job. At its core, it’s about building a supportive network of contacts that can provide advice and guidance along the way. In short, networking is a positive thing. Why then, does the idea of it fill some people with dread?   

Committed to demystifying the networking dilemma is The Kusp – a social enterprise supporting personal and talent development within ethnic minority and lower socio-economic groups. With the ethos, ‘curated for introverts and accessible for extroverts’, The Kusp understand all-to-well the importance of improving accessibility. Its founder, Amos Eretusi, says: 

“I am a firm believer in that community flourishes when it embraces diverse individuals with complementary personalities. Within the film and television industry, I’ve felt that there is a genuine value in establishing more intimate and secure environments that foster deeper connections among creatives. This forms trust and a clarity of each creatives’ needs, which is crucial in the progression of talent within the industry. 

I’ve frequently heard that individuals along their creative journey experience feelings of isolation and vulnerability, and our curated experiences – masterclasses, portfolio review sessions – provide them with an opportunity to feel seen, heard, understood, and supported. It’s important to acknowledge that supporting talent requires a nuanced approach – even for extroverts too. So creating spaces to meet creatives where they are and offering tailored support can significantly impact their career trajectory, and these consciously curated spaces makes such support possible.” 

In a brilliant move to strengthen access, The Kusp recently launched a programme of regional activity targeting Black and Global Majority and other under-served creative talent in Brighton, Bristol and Manchester. Their Future Creatives Tour, which began in September 2023 and ended in December, was in partnership with The Film & TV Charity, and aimed to provide a carefully curated and creative space for participants. Across the programme, attendees were encouraged to network with one another, make meaningful connections, and were introduced to experienced professionals in a bid to expand their networks and contacts. A key aspect of Future Creatives, and The Kusp at large, is to ensure new entrants feel equipped to start their careers with confidence; enabling and advocating for wider well-being support.  

© The Kusp

The Kusp recognises that instilling confidence in entry level professionals, particularly in social environments, is a big step in ensuring career success. Connections are important, which is maybe why it feels like there’s a subconscious bias towards extroverts within the sector. After all, networking requires the ability to not only converse with total strangers, but to promote yourself, and your work, too. To enact an air of confidence. It’s understandable that there’s a certain level of pressure to make a good first impression. But something The Kusp and the Film & TV Charity espouse is its okay to not be that person that wows a crowd. Because networking shouldn’t be a popularity contest that awards charisma over dedication and skill. In short, networking events need to do more to cater towards those with less experience and self-confidence.  

Standing in solidarity with The Kusp is our very own Filming in England – a long time facilitator of networking events, which last year re-branded into our Connect Mixer series. These mixers, taking place quarterly across the English Regions, welcome a mix of skills and experience levels. Our aim? To unite regional based crew, supply chain businesses, locations and supporting local partners, and bring together Film & TV crew from all backgrounds and experience levels. Because ultimately, we recognise that creativity and productivity often come from those serendipitous meetings, from chance encounters outside of our usual day-to-day.  

Taking on board feedback to include more ‘structure’ for our unpractised attendees, we were all too happy to adapt our strategy for our last mixer. Hosted by the fabulous Shinfield Studio and Screen Berkshire, this mixer saw the addition of exhibitors – businesses operating within or local to the region, each with a designated area within the venue space, where attendees could freely roam and find out more about that business.  

“There was a great atmosphere, and it was the perfect location to see the facility. Interesting local suppliers exhibiting and it was nice to talk to some of the people manning the stands. A lovely mix of friendly attendees. The relaxed atmosphere really lent itself to socializing.” 

One such exhibitor was the Film & TV Charity; the national organisation providing mental health and financial support to freelancers. After an unprecedented year of financial hardship for the UK’s creative sector, the charity remains an integral industry resource. Offering a free 24/7 Support line and legal advice, to its stop-gap grants for urgent financial needs, to its Bullying Advice Service, the Charity offer a wide-range of services to all skillsets and backgrounds working behind the scenes.  

Reflecting on their collaboration with The Kusp last year, Lajaune Lincoln, Head of Client Services at the Charity had this to say: 

“The partnership with The Kusp was hugely important for the Film and TV Charity. As an organisation we know how crucial it is for young creatives to become established in the industry, but how difficult it is for them to do so. And whilst as a charity we’re focused on supporting them to progress, we had to be honest with ourselves about the work we needed to do to establish trust, raise awareness of what we could provide and to begin to understand what more we needed to do. The partnership with The Kusp enabled us to build these relationships across the country and to also listen and respond to what young talent felt was needed in the industry. The work isn’t done, but we’re hoping to continue to work in partnership not just with The Kusp but also future creatives to continue to create the conditions for them to thrive.” 

© Rishi Rai Photography: Resource Productions 

Encouraging entry level professionals to engage with opportunities is a crucial step in supporting both their professional and personal wellbeing. So, how can we continue to boost confidence and safeguard against poor working and networking morale? When it comes to communicating and building relationships, we’ve identified some key learnings that we believe can lead to success for everyone on the introvert/extrovert spectrum: 

Start online – if the thought of in-person networking is too much, ease in by making targeted introductions to those who align with your interests or career goals. Use crew databases like the Filming in England National Crew Directory to find experienced professionals who can offer real guidance. 

Always be honest with your current skillset. Even at new entrant level, you will impress a potential employer or client if you can demonstrate a commitment to learn through experience. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for your chosen career path and your dedication to pursuing it. 

– If attending large, in-person networking events, gently push yourself to say hello to new people. Don’t feel pressure to ‘work the room’. Instead, concentrate on building meaningful connections with a select few. You can also ask the event organisers in advance for the attendee list to help familiarise yourself with the guestlist.  

– Embrace the fact that whilst networking, you may only have one significant conversation with someone – that’s still a success! Follow up with that person the next day via email.   

Know the landscape. Whether in-person or online, demonstrating a current knowledge of Film and TV content can help illustrate your enthusiasm for the industry – something filmmakers and commissioners will appreciate.  

Remember – networking isn’t just about finding that next job. At its core, it’s about building a supportive network of contacts. Accept early on that not every networking event will be successful. Allow time for your contacts to grow.  

– Listen, process and if appropriate – contribute. Empathy can go a long way when connecting with others in any social environment, and introverted personalities especially tend to capture information that’s often easy to overlook. Making valuable contributions with your unique perspective will help garner recognition.  

Like we said at the beginning, the Film & TV industry needs a mix of personalities and skills to thrive. And cultivating a workforce that understands how it can leverage its own unique skills, is a huge step towards fostering a powerful and positive industry. Because when all is said and done, introverts do just as well as extroverts – they simply do it differently.  

To find out more about The Kusp visit here 

To find out more about The Film & TV Charity, visit here 

To find out more about Filming in England’s upcoming networking opportunities, visit here 

To find out more about Filming in England Crewing Service visit here and for all other enquiries please visit: