Making It in Film


Making it in film isn't easy, but for those with the drive and talent to pursue their dreams, it can certainly happen. Whether your goal is to be a director, actor, screenwriter, editor, or any other position in the industry, making it Hollywood (or New York, or anywhere else, for that matter), requires dedication and a very thick skin to handle all the highs and lows that come with the territory. Although it may seem daunting, remember that every Oscar-winning star or world-famous director had to start somewhere. Below are a few things to keep in mind when embarking on a career in the film industry.


1. Get educated. It can be tempting for aspiring filmmakers to just pick up their cameras and start shooting. While it's great to get that kind of hands-on experience, it's best to pair those do-it-yourself-movies with a solid education in the world of film. Understanding the history of movies, various film techniques, cinematography, music, and how to work with actors–to name just a few skills–are best learned by working with seasoned professionals. Does having a degree from a film school guarantee making it in film? Of course not. It's not about the piece of paper. It's about the actual knowledge you gain from the schooling experience.  And another big perk you get out of film school is the opportunity to…


2. Make connections. For better or worse, connections are the lifeblood of the movie industry. Just ask Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Douglas, and Jeff Bridges, none of whom might be where they are today if not for their famous parents. For those of us unlucky enough to be born to mere mortals, film school provides an excellent way to make professional connections–to professors, classmates, at internships, and through alumni. Then once you graduate, you're ready to get out there and…


3. Start at the bottom. Yes, it's a sad fact of life; even those who excel in film school, winning all sorts of prizes for their work and graduating with excellent grades, will still be expected to work as assistants and even interns once they leave school. No one is going to hand over the reins of a feature film or even music video to someone who is still relatively untested in the professional world. If you start your job search knowing that, you will save yourself a lot of frustration and disappointment. This is where college internships can come in especially handy. If you've already worked as an intern during your years at school, those same employers might be willing to hire you for a job with more responsibility–or at the least provide a great reference. Be smart, pay your dues, and you'll find that making it in film can be a reality.

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