Video Production: The Best Ways This Side Of The Mississip To Find AND VERIFY Emails (Updated for 2018)

Today, I'm going to teach you video producers and aspiring filmmakers the 9 best ways to find emails to anyone that you want to reach out to.

This technique (or rather, set of techniques) works if you are trying to find new video clients to cold pitch, it works if you need to find the HR director for E! because you want to take that editor job from StaffMeUp, it works if you are trying to find new guests for your podcast, and it works if you are trying to find your 93-year-old grandmother who got an email address way back when Windows 95 was King but she never used it ‘til now because your wife's cousin found a way to make the current OS look like 95..


These techniques are easy, but they are not always quick when you do several of them at once to find one person’s email.

Slackers be warned!

Bury your lip service, don’t make up excuses, and go make Jack Canfield proud.

Total time to find an email: 1-5 mins

Note: the best way to land clients is still by word of mouth and second to that is by meeting people face-to-face. The third runner-up is cold email and cold calls.

Okay, let's dive into the first three.

0. Contactout

FREE service… for a time.

They say you get a 100 uses every 2 days (more than plenty). 


Sign up, head over to LinkedIn (if you need help finding an exact person or title on LinkedIn, read up here), and hit the little arrow in the top-right corner.

Sometimes there's a bonus phone #.

Most times there is an email that is still functional. It's an email tied to their LinkedIn account. Click the email and you will copy it to your clipboard. 


This tool was my favorite in 2017 for finding emails.

Headsup: even though your credits reset every two days in theory, in practice, they do not. My credits didn't reset for days, even weeks. Don't panic. Use the tool as is - it's really too good to be true… until…

They randomly decide you’re out of free credits. Cue the Charlie Brown Christmas sad jingle for yours truly. Still, for the newer microbudget filmmaker, give it a whirl!


1. Email Hunter

I've talked about Email Hunter before.


Head on over to their site; sign up to get 153 searches every month.

Well, it’s 150. I don’t know how Google Docs thought I said 153, but it’s learning... as am I on how to work with gDocs voice dictation.

The Chrome extension works wonders 2. There it goes again. The Chrome extension works wonders too.


It no longer integrates with LinkedIn to find people's emails. Bantha fodder.

Back in the day, for example, if I wanted to reach out to an architecture firm, I would look to find the firm on LinkedIn, and then I would look for somebody with a marketing title.

Still relevant today: not every business uses the title of chief marketing officer, but there is always somebody that is at the top of the food chain when it comes to marketing - head of marketing, director of marketing, marketing director... know what I mean Vern?


Whoever that turkey is, that's the person you want to pitch! Like it or not, whoever wears this hat at your client’s business is your boss… possibly.

Videos fall under marketing. If you’re pitching a non-profit, here’s how to find out exactly how much your non-profit spends on marketing. It’s public information, so read up!

Email Hunter assigns a reliability rating:


If the check mark is not green, don't worry what the percent is. Chances are, when the check mark is not green, you have a bogus email. Which is why I love...


This site is very simple. Plug in the email address, and if it is legitimate, then you will get green across the board.

Warning: while a great tool, it can be as slow as Christmas.

If the email you feed it is simply a bad email, you will get a red notification.

If an email comes back orange, then you might be in the clear (it's a gamble), if the domain is green. Does that make sense?

Mail tester is pretty religious about giving you a red email handle if the email doesn't exist. If they return with something about being unable to verify the email because the server doesn't allow it, then you might actually be ok.


You might not. 

It's Vegas baby.

Recap: red means you’re outta cards hombre. Any other color could possibly maybe hopefully potentially mean good news and green means you’re golden.


When Mail Tester fails me…

3. Rapportive

This plugin is free as well. If you use Gmail, then you are good to go.


How it works is simple: if the email that you enter into your new composition is associated with the person you are trying to email, and if it’s the email they use with their LinkedIn profile, then their LinkedIn profile summary will show up in your right sidebar.


Now, a lot of people do not understand the converse.

If their LinkedIn profile does not show up in your right side bar, that doesn't mean that email is bad.


For example, if I have two nickels, then I have $0.10. But the converse, which says that if I have $0.10, then I have 2 nickels, is simply not always true.


Don’t panic if their Linkedin profile doesn’t show up in your Gmail. Just try another tool on this list.

Together with Mailtester, the Rapportive plugin works beautifully.

Now that you’ve got their email, it’s time to message them. I wrote up a detailed plan with sample pitches you can peruse here. Don’t be lazy with that email. Have a clear plan, treat them with respect, and personalize your pitch. 

Personalization and outstanding service win over laziness and lukewarm attitudes every time.

Video production is tough. Filmmaking is tough. If you’re not okay with the thought of getting 100 no’s and 250 no-replies to get a YES, then you better stick to your day job.

I jumped in head first last summer, and I didn’t know a thing about business, marketing, or how to run a one-man LLC. But I’d rather dive in than learn from a textbook forever. Film and business are full-contact sports bucko; get in the game.

If you’re tough, if you have grit in spades, and if your faith is where it belongs, don’t quit. Keep praying, don’t quit (check out Luke 18).

Supposedly less than 1% of indie films make it. Don’t give up.

The global market is driving down the going rates for editors, assistant editors, associate producers - you name it. Even big networks like E, Discovery, and Fox are all looking to get the most bang for their buck.


When you get to that point in your life where you are making the hiring decisions, remember, cheap begets cheap.

At this point, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “gee, I ain’t gonna spend no time on this…”

That’s fair. That’s why there is Upwork, and there’s a detailed writeup on hiring someone through Upwork here. There are people who will do this for you, and you can pay them to get the email monkey off your back. Be prepared to teach them though - these tools are not in your everyday high school or college education, but even those three tools should get you where you need to go. 

Need more? 

If you’re ready to get started, here’s the full rundown on all 8 techniques that I sometimes use and so can you!

Which of these tools works best for you? Comment below!

Original post: July 29, 2016; updated July 24, 2017, Oct 21, 2018

Jake the film guy

I want to encourage others and bring honor to the Almighty in everything that I do with film and video. My goal is to take the first 11 minutes of my tv pilot and seek out decision-makers who can further the conversation about developing it into a show. If my team and I can do that, then we can teach 100,000 other microbudget filmmakers how to do the same thing so that we might tell stories of hope to millions. In the meantime, I'm a son of the King, a family man, a lifelong student of film, and the author of two microbudget filmmaking books.