A.LISTER EXCLUSIVE: RAMFIS MYRTHIL
Its all in the style you negotiate and network. Our A.Lister insight from Ramfis Myrthil, an award-winning film producer who has taken screenplays from idea to Sundance, on tactics that have helped launch his career. From how to capitalize on networking events, to the style that carries him from meeting to a movie premiere.
WHY HE IS FIT FOR PURPOSE
Since he started in film, Ramfis has been pursuing projects that ignite awareness or tackle controversial issues that intimidate others. This fearless attitude in his career has brought him to Sundance, Cannes, and Tribeca Film festival.
KNOW YOUR WORTH AND MAXIMIZE YOUR NETWORK
Knowing the worth of your idea is something many entrepreneurs struggle with, however in the film industry that is the only thing that matters when funding a film from conception to screen. It is a skill Ramfis Myrthil has learned over the last decade as a film producer in NYC.
“That is why understanding negotiations is key,” Ramfis emphasizes, “you never make the first offer.”
Easier said than done when navigating the tricky landscape of deals (and job interviews), but there are a few tactics he uses when discussions turn to money.
- Listen: “You want to hear everything the other party has to say. You don’t want to overbid or underbid.”
- Research: “Some times it’s not about the money, maybe its the role, or the credit, or working with the team or social impact. So it is about finding out what that party wants and finding a way to give it to them.”
He jokes, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason,” so listen up to what the other stakeholder wants, and at the same time be clear about what you want. This way you know when the deal is a good fit.
“Something that is worth pursuing has to have the whole package,” he says, “it about combining content and the team.”
This blend keeps the risk low, which leads to high upside. As a producer, he says the “budget is the bottom line.” And when you are making a film with so many moving parts, you soon realize that good team communication can make or break a budget. Like any successful business, once you realize how to optimize your teams strengths production scales.
But most importantly is relationships. “Great producers either have the best ideas or access,” he says.
Some people make networking look easy, and Ramfis is one of those people.
It is after 11 pm in one of NYC’s top film production offices, instead of heading home the party is just beginning. It’s the closing night of the IFP screenings, and through the dense crowd, you can spot people huddled in their crews, with one exception- Ramfis.
His style, a go-to black teeshirt and jeans, and a chain around his neck, as he eases his way from person to person greeting them by their first name. He is not the host of the party but you wouldn’t know that. Networking is not a tool in his business success strategy, it is a well-thought-out and executed plan because he understands the importance of relationships.
And he’s not wrong. No matter which industry your business belongs to, a part of the foundation lies in building strong relationships with everyone involved — from the stakeholders, to the customers, and in this case, the viewers as well. Companies that cater to a larger demographic may need to use survey software (check this page out to see what that is) to catch the pulse of the people and serve them better, thus enhancing the business-consumer relationship as a whole. Networking and brand building goes a little differently in the film industry, although the end goal remains the same — meaningful connection.
“Research is key,” he says. Though it depends on the venue, it is essential to know who will be at the event, no matter if it is a panel, party, or dinner. “I read up on their interviews, again to know what they do and hopefully what they are looking for.”
Then he watches body language. “80% of communication is body language, so I can usually tell who is running the event by body language.”
Now, for anyone who hates networking Ramfis has some easy to follow go-to strategies to nail the next steps of making a connection.
- Kill them with kindness: “Always use kind words.” Hopefully, you’ve done your research. Deeper questions:
- Always ask probing questions. “I always start my questions with ‘what’ or ‘how’, and am careful never to use a question that starts with ‘why’ which can make people defensive.” He explains, he stays away from questions that can be answered by a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ because they simply give you no material to follow up with.
- Move on: “I want to work the room, so I don’t spend too much with each person. I ask if I can follow up with them later and how I can connect.”
Need some questions to kickstart your networking skills? Here is where Ramfis says to start: What made you want to throw this event tonight? How did you come up with this idea? What is next for you?
For more, you can check out his upcoming class, “Produce Your Script”at Jacob Krueger Studio on October 19th.
From Meeting to Movie Premiere
“Growing up I have never been one to follow the crowd, for me it’s all about being unique, on a daily basis I incorporate accessories with my wardrobe which includes sustainable clothes and accessories like SWOOD Sunglasses made out of wood. Having items such as different style wooden watches to keep track of time which are stylish and sleek I wear to my meetings. My wooden diamond earrings usually leave a lasting impression, since they bling in a different way. Last but not least attending a red carpet premiere I will style a wooden bowtie with a matching boutonniere. Working out is an important regiment in my daily life so wearing fit clothing keeps me comfortable and confident.”
But, one last question we just had to ask about your travel style…
You recently traveled to Cannes. What is your A.Lister recommendation?
“Rue du Suquet, 06400 Cannes, France,” he says, “I love this street because you can find some of the best french dining you can find in the south of the country. Everyone is there.”
The A.Team key takeaways…
1) Whoever says the first number loses.
2) Have strong relationships because that opens doors.
3) And, Cannes has great food.