Success After Film School – Who wants to work with you?
If you happen to find yourself a graduate of film school, first off I say congratulations. My gift to you wont be an engraved fountain pen or cashiers checks but perspective. As a former graduate I would like to help breakdown the mentality of the world you’re entering. To put it simply, you need to think Who, What and Where.
Who wants to work with you? By now you should fully understand the scope of moviemaking. No man is an island. Filmmaking is a completely collaborative process, even the established screenwriter can’t be in Montana all year with a typewriter and fax machine. So when it comes to looking for work, the best answer is, “Who can you start with”? More than likely your professors are far more entrenched in their own careers as educators, working towards tenure instead of tent-pole filmmaking. Odds are they won't have any leads for you, other than a masters degree. You need to know enough people who are firmly entrenched in the world of active projects. People who don't have a list of former students a mile-long. Get out in the real world and get in front of some filmmakers like you. Start with those your own age and branch out to as many veterans as you can share a room with. Once you do that, keep them up-to-date with what you're doing, reminding them of your abilities and interest. Pushing people for jobs isn’t as effective as showing them what you can do.
What. Not as much what you will be doing, but what will you be working on, as in genre. Let me just agree with your first thought and say yes, when getting started it probably wouldn't matter to you what the film was about (barring anything too explicit). So the question really is do you know enough about every genre to be successful / assertive when working? You need to be able to branch out to as many types of films as possible and to do that you need to start studying all you can about every genre.
Where. When it comes to the term breaking into the industry it could be easiest to see as that, something you literally are trying to crack. Then when looking for a "weak spot" you should know if there are several, not just one. The more you know about the many facets of filmmaking the more you should know about the jobs that go into them. The more you know about these jobs, the more you can research and prepare for them. The more you prepare the better equipped you would be to not only present yourself accordingly (interviews), but be able to step in to the job at a moments notice. A Jack of all trades.