How to Get Work in Film?

How to Get Work in the Film Industry?

Film crew and Film Connection graduate Steve Pitts works as camera operator on Janelle Monáe music video

Film Connection grad Steve Pitts, camera operator on Janelle Monáe music video

Although every industry has its share of “insider” hires, the film industry can be notoriously difficult to break into. Once film directors, cinematographers, and other production staff find someone they like, they stick with them. When film jobs open up, it can turn into a very “who you know” not what you know situation.

So it can be hard to get work in the film industry but not impossible. When you finally get a position on the set, you’ll need to do everything you can to make sure you stay there. Because climbing the ladder from the inside is how many film careers get started.

4 Ways to Get Work in Film

Once you find yourself on the set of a film project, all of the steps you took to get hired are even more important there. Luckily, you don’t need a diploma from a four-year university to get most jobs on a film set, but you will need drive, determination, and a reputation for being dependable. Having a few talents won’t hurt, either.

1. Have Multiple Skills

Just like in other careers, the more you know the more valuable you are. By wearing several different hats and making yourself indispensable, producers and directors will likely want to keep you around. With your foot in the door, it’s all about soaking up as much information as you can.

The more you know about editing, camerawork, writing, sound effects, and so on, the more you can help a film production. As a production assistant, you’ll be expected to know who everyone is and how to communicate with them. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be gleaned from these exchanges with the crew and cast.

2. Always Be Following Up

When one job ends, it’s nice to have another one lined up. Staying in contact with past colleagues as well as potential employers should always be a part of your weekly routine. By staying in front of those who can hire you (and alert you to job openings), your name can be the one that pops up when there’s an opening.

Don’t be too pushy about it, though. Perhaps send off a quick text or email about a new skill you’ve acquired or the last film or tv show you worked on. Make sure your contact information is clearly listed. And when you get the call to work, take it: Work begets work, so make sure to take advantage of each and every opportunity.

3. Make Your Own Opportunities

When you’re not on a job, what are you doing? Now is the time to start working on your own projects. Finish editing that short film, start working on your own screenplays, or take some time to volunteer on a film or two. If you truly have a passion for film, you’ll want to make yourself available as often as possible to be a part of it.

Scour local listings for production work, take positions as a production assistant, director’s assistant, to assist the lighting department, and do whatever else you can get. So much of working in film is networking. By keeping yourself out there, your name becomes more and more familiar. And when it comes to making your own film, these very same pros (of their connections) just might be willing to help you out with their expertise.

4. Shelve the Ego

If you want to work, don’t get hung up on titles. When you’re starting out, there’s no undesirable position. Take cues from the seasoned pros and you’ll see that the vast majority of them keep their egos and attitudes in check. Taking an entry-level job on a surefire summer blockbuster will get you working with even more people, and that credit will look great on your CV! Get jobs being a camera assistant, as a PA, a key grip, and even 2nd 2nd work.

A job is a job and building connections along the way will steer your career in the direction you want. Forget about the title, focus on doing great work, and start building relationships. If you show responsibility, a willingness to get your hands dirty, and take care of your job, you can establish yourself as a known commodity in a relatively short period of time. And that’s more valuable than anything you can learn in school.

Work Towards Your Future

Building a career in the film industry takes time, effort, and dedication. The biggest film directors don’t just start at the top, they had to work their way up, just like everyone else. And in many cases, helping out in different departments gives you a better overview of how films actually get made, with every person and every department working in concert to make the magic happen.

Sometimes it seems like working on getting a job is just as hard as actually working. And, frankly, it can be. But if this is what you want to do with your life, you can’t just shrug your way to the top. Keep yourself busy. Keep those lines of communication open, and make yourself available for the work!

Want to Build Industry Connections?

The Film Connection Film School will place you within a professional production company, working side-by-side with an industry professional as your mentor. Along with the technical aspects of how to become a professional directory.

Our curriculum is based on what you need to know when working towards becoming a director and filmmaker. Our learning system has many externs move on to the silver screen and the TV screen, but they earned their shots. Will their success become your success? Well, that’s up to you. Apply to the Film Connection today.

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