Business cards? Need them or not these days?

Slightly off topic, but since we talk about how to store the things when we get them from other people...

How necessary are business cards to actually have to hand out these days?

I'm asking because I'm a college senior and becoming very aware of how important networking is (particularly in my area - film/cinema production) but all we ever talk about in classes at school is the importance of a good reel, and not any of the other elements of networking/making contacts.

So do people still use business cards frequently, or is it becoming a more dated practice?

(I'm thinking if I made one up that I'd include the obvious - name, contact information - plus a URL to a web page that would host some of the projects I've worked on, so people could view my reel that way.)

If they are a necessity, does having something that's pretty recognizable as a VistaPrint standard design look bad, or is it so common for people to use that site these days that it's no big deal? (I don't really want to spend a lot of money on the things, if I need them, but I don't want to end up with something that isn't professional, either.)

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Check out Moo.com.

Check out Moo.com. Something like their minicards may work for you.

Business cards are still useful

Business cards are still very relevant. They're one of many networking options and are very useful when you want something a bit more formal than just giving someone your cell number and less formal than a letter.

e-Business Cards, Cell/Mobile phone contact forms, and twittering business contact info has become more popular and are also good networking options. But they all suffer from being deleted easily, being misfiled in the depths of someone's e-records, and some people don't want to receive them.

I think your contact info is a good idea. I'd be tempted to add a very brief statement about what I do.
eg dancing koala trainer :D

Probably stating the obvious

Probably stating the obvious but do not include your personal address on the card. PO Box, email, phone numbers, web sites and url's are all OK.

Your email address and any online stuff should come across as professional, i.e. JSmith@... rather than sniffysmiffy@... however the film/cinema industry may be more tolerant of creativity in this respect. Clean up and secure your social networking in case some old photos surface that should not.

Give yourself a title, such as "Senior Student, Film and Cinema Studies, XYZ University", makes you more memorable than someone without a title and it also describes you for later reference, e.g. "Who was that person from XYZ University? He/she had some good ideas".

Not familiar with VistaPrint but do not perceive any problems with standard designs provided they are clear. Stay with the one font, maybe bolden or italicise for emphasis.

I would also ask this same question of your lecturers.

Yes, I think they are useful.

Bob H.

I stump my lecturers a little

The program is relatively young, and most people in it want to be directors or cinematographers or editors, so there's only a handful of us going "but we really enjoy producing!" and I'm not sure they quite know how to give us proper guidance, since for production jobs a reel is not necessarily all that useful - sure there can be a film that looks gorgeous and obviously has good production values, but that doesn't tell you what challenges the producer had to deal with in making it, or if it was on budget, or what skills the producer actually has.

So there's a lot of focus on having a reel, and then for production concentration folks, we get a bit of a confused look and then "um, well, make sure your resume looks nice!" Gee, thanks. (They're getting better - I think it's just a growing pains issue.)

I'll have to think about a title. I'm not specifically doing a production concentration so I'll have to figure out some way of wording it that makes it clear my primary interest is in producing without claiming to have something I don't, in case they follow up and are then wondering why none of my school information says anything about having done a specific concentration.

(Even though my primary interest is producing, I elected not to do the production concentration track because the 'general' Cinema & Digital Arts degree requires you to study a wider variety of topics associated with film making - while I don't feel like that qualifies me to, say, go out and be a cinematographer, I do feel that the better I understand what the other people in the creative team are trying to accomplish within their roles, the better I can be as the person trying to organize and coordinate everyone to make it actually happen.)

Since we are talking

Since we are talking business cards rather than a CV I would keep any title or description simple and generic and let any specific interest or direction come about as part of the networking situation. The rationale being that a more specific title/description could limit the opportunities whereas something more simple will not.

Bob H.

Sounds reasonable

I have used a simple business card with a URL to a web page containing a detailed resume with links to download a Word, RTF, and text copy.
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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

Mac...

Others have given some really good advice. I'll add a more technical bit.

Since you are in film, you should probably have a Mac. If you do have a Mac, you should check out Business Card Creator by BeLight Software. It isn't free, but they do have academic pricing. ;-) It will give you the fastest, and probably nicest-looking business cards you can come up with. These guys know design, and I bet they have a template that will make you look good. I heartily recommend their software.

-Jon

Biz Cards still relevant

I'm not in the film industry but I do deal with a lot of people who need to give me contact information. Business cards are still very relevant. However they need to look clean and uncluttered. One of the best I've seen recently had a small GOOD quality pic of the owner on it, with usual stuff like name, title, company, phone and e-mail on the front. On the back was the other e-contact details - web site and twitter.
May I suggest that FaceBook and other electronic social networking stuff be left off unless it is the norm for your industry? Around here, where management is still mostly Gen X and older in most industries, openly displaying your social networking is still seen as (for want of a better word) a bit puerile. But the most dangerous thing about social networking (and I'm referring to FaceBook in this example) is that even though you may have deleted those photos of drunken frat house parties, they are still stored and accessible from profiles of other people who may have been tagged in the photos, even if you as the original uploader has deleted them and the albums they were in. Spooky.
Luc
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the moving cursor having written, blinks on ...

I don't really 'do' Facebook

I have one, and I use it occasionally for staying in touch with other classmates, but I've always been pretty aware of the whole "potential employers do not need to know everything about your life" aspect, so I'm not too worried about that. (It probably wouldn't even occur to me to put my Facebook info on a business card.)

One thing I am debating about is if I should actually get a domain and host my films myself, or if having them on YouTube or Vimeo is considered acceptable. It just seems more professional to do it all myself (and I have friends who could get me set up, so that's not an issue) but YouTube/Vimeo are becoming so ubiquitous... I don't want to seem like I don't know how to use them, you know?

As people not necessarily in the industry, would being directed to someone's Vimeo 'page' seem okay for sharing media, or does that seem 'student-y'?

smugmug?

One thing I am debating about is if I should actually get a domain and host my films myself, or if having them on YouTube or Vimeo is considered acceptable.

If you want to look truly professional, I might suggest getting a smugmug account (www.smugmug.com). It's not the cheapest, but Apple's MobileMe is even more expensive. :-)

-Jon

Even if you don't list Facebook on your card

you may be easily searchable to find on Facebook. Think of how you found all your classmates --- did you have their Facebook names or did you search and find them?

Potential employers, business partners, etc. can find you as easily.

If you're hosting films for display, Vimeo or Smugmug would be okay. You should also look into posting them to IMDB.com or similar sites. I searched for a person who sent me an email (to figure out who he was) and found his student film(s) on IMDB. That increased his credibility in my eyes...

Yeah, I keep my Facebook as tidy as possible

I think all of the photos I'm linked in on Facebook are just photos from on set and that sort of thing. Probably the worst someone would find out about me is that I have a weakness for those silly games. :)

But I am very aware that social networks can be a blessing and a curse. (There are some things my fellow classmates have said or done on theirs which just make me want to go "Did you actually think about that at ALL?")

I don't know about IMDB... It used to seem more prestigious, I think, but if just anyone can make their own page, it's a bit less interesting. Still, I guess having a properly set up IMDB entry wouldn't hurt. I'll look into that.

IMBD

"The" place where English speaking and Anglophiles film enthusiasts gather can only be good for a young director.

I suggest checking local, independently owned print shops in your area, see what they offer paper and design wise, compare price, try to get a student discount then have the best place print the fewest number of cards you can order at one time.

Make sure the colors and feel of your cyber identity reflects who you are as a director, then create the card accordingly.

There must be something that identify everything you create as PirateFoxy right away.

Think Hitchcock silhouette, Ford Western landscapes, Cassavetes and Rod Sterling dark and gritty universe, Stanley Donen bright, colorful and upbeat work.

You get the picture! :)

Directors are crazy people. ;)

I prefer to produce. (I also dabble in cinematography, but I have arthritis in my wrists that rules it out as my primary job area - my wrists just wouldn't hold up to the weight of the camera and equipment day in, day out.) I've done some directing, and greatly admire people who are extremely good at it, but it's not my 'thing.'

I think actually part of my problem with deciding on a design and content for a business card stems from the fact that I do prefer to produce, actually - I don't want to set myself up as an indie producer at this time, like I have my own production company, but that is my area of interest. I feel like just putting "Producer" on a business card gives too much of an "indie producer" impression. Could just be a weird personal hang up, though. :)

That said, there is one specific project where I am actually legitimately the producer (it's a personal documentary project that I'm working on sort of long-term) so I'm wondering if perhaps I should actually have two business cards - one that's basically for networking, and one that's project-specific. Hm.