To expand upon Bri’s point of “engaging with their work”, when I’m introducing myself to a fellow filmmaker I like to compliment something specific about their film. If I think I’m way above someone in terms of skill or experience, my tendency is spout off on all the things I hated under the guise of “constructive criticism”. Whereas, if someone is clearly way beyond me, it’s a little intimidating to make any comment at all, ‘cause “why would they even care what I think?” Neither of these outcomes are especially helpful for either party.
But if I start off by complimenting a relatable and tangible aspect of their work (“the framing of this shot”, “the editing in this scene”), I think it shows that we’re all filmmakers with the same goals and struggles. It also tells someone that I did actually take the time to watch and think about their work, and hopefully that should encourage them to reciprocate. Once that initial connection is formed, I think it becomes a lot easier and more natural for education and criticism to flow between us.