Thursday, February 16, 2012

The value of being LinkedIn

I don't care to belong to any club that would have me as a member.
                                                                - Groucho Marx 

A few years ago I found a website called Linkedin which promised to be a vital connection source for the film industry to find partners and investors for our movies. Actually it's more than just filmmakers, it's a connecting source for all businesses. You can post jobs and look for jobs too.

But let's look at the film end of it.

They have a couple of different sites independent filmmakers,  feature financiers, etc. I joined two of them, I think, and every morning would go through the postings anxious to find my angel (a term used by filmmakers to describe someone who puts the first money into your project or helps you get your money).

Most of the posts were self-guided, in that "I need money for my project". These posts were often answered by ambiguous "angels", people who would be able to find you money, but first you have to give them money.

Yeah, right.

There were also posts from service companies and individuals who would also be glad for you to pay for their services once you get going. Grips, gaffers, accountants, consultants and many more.

But where were the angels that I was led to believe were in abundance on Linkedin? In that first year I didn't find one single posting that would help me finance a movie. Instead all I got were emails asking me to connect with them.

Sort of a working world version of Facebook.

Pretty soon I had 50 people, none of whom I knew. More followed, would I link up with Sarah or Fred or Jack or Mahmood, and they were actors, actresses, lots of people who called themselves producers even though they had no credits. And again, nobody I knew.

It didn't take me long to see that Linkedin was Facebooking as hard as it could. I got emails from more people I didn't know, lots of people wanted to link up with Jim. Trouble was, I was of more value to them than them to me.

And that brings me back to the Groucho Marx joke, if I was the highlight of their connections, I feared both for them and me. Then, about a year ago I began getting old friends asking to join up, and of course I "accepted".

I realized that I had never sought out anyone, mostly because nobody I ever came across, really didn't have the ability to help me at all. More than likely, most would be happy for me to hire them.

Since then I rarely go to Linkedin, they send me notices that I haven't been checking my messages, which consisted of, yes, more requests to join me. But then I learned that Linkedin also does it's own requests to me, in the form of re-requesting me to accept people who I didn't accept. And even friends of mine who did accept.

So I have to accept a friend who was already accepted.

I'm getting a headache.

Is there value in Linkedin? People say there is, yet when I question them closely, they really have never got a single reference, job or funding. It sounds terrible to be interested only in someone who can get you money, but that's what the film business is about; finding and getting money.

But they assure me it's a matter of time; you can't win if you don't try.

I think I'll stick to a lottery ticket. The odds are better.