Tribe Building 101: The Big Picture

Tribe Building 101: The Big Picture

Alright my friend, now that you know the value of a tribe, let's talk about how to build one.

And we're going to start with the 10,000 foot view, so that you have a good idea of what to expect from the rest of this course.

But before we get into the process, a quick warning.

Building a cohesive tribe is a long-term process. The results are great when it's built and firing on all cylinders. But it can take months, even years, for your tribe to get to that point.

That's because the real benefits of the tribe come from trust, mutual understanding, a shared language, and a sense of cohesion.

And those are obviously things that can't be developed overnight.

Anyhow, I say all of this to temper your expectations a bit.

Tribes can be a deeply powerful force in your film journey, but like all worthwhile things in life, it take continuous effort over a long stretch of time to reap those rewards. So don't try to rush it.

At the same time, I don't want you to think it's going to take years to build up a base of collaborators. If you work hard, you can meet a lot of quality people quickly. And you can collaborate with them immediately.

But that's not the same thing as building a tribe. It’s a step in the process, but it's not the "be all, end all." Tribe building is a deeper art—rooted in organization psychology—and like I mentioned, it takes time and work for it all to come together.

The iceberg and what lies below the surface

There’s one other thing I want to mention before we get into this. You’ll notice there are quite a few lessons before I teach you how to actually network and meet new people. This is intentional.

A great tribe is a lot like an iceberg. What you see on the surface—the collaborations and events and whatnot—is only a small part of a much larger puzzle. For a tribe to really work and connect over the long term, you’re going to have to do some deeper, more strategic thinking.

And that’s what those first lessons are all about. We’re going to build the 80% of the iceberg that isn’t visible on the surface, but is integral to the structure and stability of it.

So with all of that out of the way, here's an overview of the process for building your film tribe.

Step 1: Define

Like I just mentioned, before you start building a tribe, you've gotta have a strong foundation.

In this context, that means you need a couple of things. You must understand who you are, your vision for your career, your values, etc. Beyond that, you've gotta define what you're looking for in creative collaborators.

This is also where you lay the groundwork for how your tribe will function. You'll give it a name, set up barriers to entry, and figure out what kinds of things you'll do together.

Lastly, you'll want to define your tribe's value proposition. You need to understand the benefits that come from being a member, so that you can communicate those benefits to anyone who might be interested.

This first step is going to spread over quite a few lessons. This is the piece of the iceberg that lies below the surface. The strong foundation that allows the tribe to thrive.

Step 2: Build Your CRM

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it's a category of software that is generally used to help companies manage their sales process.

But we're going to take this idea of CRM and apply it to our networking and tribe building efforts. We're essentially going to build a database of contacts that helps us keep track of everyone we meet, follow up strategically, and build relationships with the right people.

In this stage, I'll share a custom CRM I built just for myself and people taking this course. It’s pretty rad.

Step 3: Research

Once you've got a strong foundation in place, and your CRM is set up, it's time to find some filmmakers and potential future tribe members.

Now, there are a crazy number of ways to find filmmakers these days, both online and offline. This section of the course is all about some of my favorite places to meet new people.

I’ll walk you through strategies for each social network, offline networking event, and plenty more. Even if you’re in a small town, you should be able to find local filmmakers with some combination of these tools.

Step 4: Engage

This stage is all about reaching out to people, making initial contact, and starting relationships off on the right foot.

We'll cover the basics of cold emails and messages, and how to get on people's radar, even when they seem content to ignore you.

Also, once you make contact with new folks, you may not be able to work together on a project right away, but through your initial conversations, you can learn a lot about whether someone would be a good fit.

Step 5: Audition & Invite

You need to be selective about who gets into the tribe, and who stays on the outside.

That doesn't mean you can't work with people who aren't in the tribe. By all means, keep those folks in your rolodex and work with them from time to time. But the tribe needs to be a welcoming, valuable, safe place for its members. And you get to that point by vetting people.

This stage of the course is all about using small projects (micro films) as a testing ground for whether or not someone would truly be a good fit for the tribe. And I'll also share a few other ideas for how to vet people to make sure they're the right fit.

Step 6: Nurture

Building a tribe is about building a series of relationships—between yourself and other members.

Like any relationship, the more you give, the more you get. That's why this stage of the course will be about how to make sure everyone involved is seeing consistent value and purpose in being part of the tribe. You'll learn the art of reciprocity, and how to make these relationships truly symbiotic.

I'll even give you some insight here in terms of how to make tribe membership a collective identity. Because once that happens, cohesion and trust will go through the roof.

Step 7: Lead

As Seth Godin says, a tribe without a leader is merely a crowd, held together by not much at all. In other words, a tribe without a leader isn't really a tribe.

To take that a step further, the real power of tribes comes when everyone is making progress not just on their individual goals, but when the tribe itself is making progress on its collective goals.

Make no mistake, your tribe is a living, breathing entity that has goals of its own, and in order for those goals to be realized, the tribe must have a leader.

That leader doesn't necessarily have to be you, but whoever it is, they should go through this section of the course. Because we'll be drilling into the essence of leadership so that you can inspire those you lead to do great things.

Step 8: Grow

Last, but not least, we'll talk about growing your tribe and expanding its capabilities.

A tribe can benefit from "network effects." Essentially, this means that the tribe gets more valuable to its members as more people join.

This can be a double edged sword though. Just as a tribe can become more valuable as it grows, so can it become diluted, disorganized, and segmented. A tribe that grows too large, or becomes full of the wrong type of people, can kill the magic of what made the tribe special for the initial members.

In this last section, we’ll talk about how to harness the power of growing your tribe, while avoiding those pitfalls and keeping core members more connected than ever.

So yeah, that's the overview of what you'll learn how to do in Build Your Film Tribe. You ready to get to the good stuff? Time to move on to the next lesson.

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