Your First Steps In The Film Industry

So you’ve made your decision on where you’re going but have you decided what you’re doing once you get there? Working in the film and television industry offers a lot of challenges to gaining employment. It’s important that you are prepared and have all the pieces that are required to land that job. A résumé and cover letter are sometimes not enough when working in the creative realm, unlike some other industries. Employers looking to hire someone who is contributing artistically look only for the best. Imagine your résumé with all the production and post work you’ve ever done; pretty hard to put on a plain sheet of paper. Since the suits don’t generally exist in the same realm of thought as artists it’s important to stand out. What’s the best way to stand out? USE YOUR ART! Make something and show it to people.

Brussels, Belgium --- Business executives working in an office --- Image by © Fabrice Lerouge/Onoky/Corbis

It’s important that an employer sees a résumé that is clear, shows what you have done, and highlights your skills. But, the best way to stand out is by having your work to show. Whether if it’s stills or a reel make sure to stand out visually. But what if I don’t have any work? This is often a common misconception. Mostly anybody has made some sort of artistic expression via a visual medium, even if it’s something you thought was bad or you don’t have much to show from it. Play it up, and stay confident because most people interviewing for your first job aren’t going to rip your portfolio to shreds in front of you. If it’s bad, and your interviewer doesn’t know that much about art, they might love it! Keep a cool head because you never know who that company is looking to hire next. It could be you.


What about freelance work? Great! Take it! In those first couple of months, understand that steady job employment isn’t something you’re going to have right out of school. You need those jobs that maybe only pay for two days of work. It’s important to get yourself out there to meet people and make connections. Everyone is going to need something made down the line, and if you’re on the “good to work with” list, they’ll likely call you first for some paid work.


Another thing to realize about independent work is sometimes things don’t work out. Funding fell through, someone backed out. It’s a fickle industry filled with business people and artists. Don’t let this get you down. Prepare for these things to happen and keep an open dialogue. If they wanted you to work but couldn’t pay, don’t be quick burn that bridge. Keep in contact with people who have work, check in with people every month or so, they may need someone to fill in for a position they hadn’t been advertising. When you keep in contact and have a good relationship with people in that industry, you just made hiring someone that much easier for them.


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