This article is for intermediate filmmakers who wish to level up their film careers. I have written articles for beginners before, but perhaps you are past the starting line, working in film and hoping to progress onto bigger film sets.
These following tips can be applied to all film crew jobs roles -
Success looks different for everyone. For some, the dream never shifts from working on major film sets, for others the objective is to be home by six in time for dinner. After you have worked in film for a handful of years, you will have a more solid idea of how you want to work and what type of job role fits you best.
The following tips are for filmmakers hoping to make the next step and level up within there film career -
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TIP 1 - Focus Your Job Role
Having a focused job role can make you easier to hire. I get daily emails off beginner filmmakers that go something like this ‘I am a writer, director, editor, and actor’.
This is fine when you are first starting out, but having a focus can be beneficial in the long run. Not only do producers (on film and tv sets) only hire one person per job role but it can be hard to be an expert at everything.
If you want to do it all, then make your own independent films, start your own YouTube channel or create your own company. If you want to work in professional film production you will need a job focus.
TIP 2 - Make a Portfolio
A professional portfolio, showreel and resume can help. Likely these days when you apply for a job the person hiring you is going to Google search your name. Make sure you have a professional-looking website, showreel (if necessary) and a good resume/cv to send them. Also make sure that your social media is appropriate.
I have a one to one CV/Resume service where I will create your CV for you and can provide feedback on portfolios.
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TIP 3 - Get Some Feedback
Gaining feedback and criticism can be hard but helpful. It can be nerving to hear what others really think of your work but it is necessary for improvement. I had a filmmaker a while ago asking me why he wasn’t being considered for bigger commercial projects. I looked at his showreel and it was obvious why (his work was of a student level) he was overvaluing his talent. One way to get honest feedback is through Facebook groups and online forums. Knowing your weaknesses is the first step to improving them.
TIP 4 - Take a Workshop
Attending an extra workshop or short course can help. You may have got far in your career without formal education but a professional class can help you master any skills you might have missed. This could be a full-time course; film schools occasionally offer short workshops that can be more affordable. Then there are also online film courses, courses held by unions and film councils.
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TIP 5 - Upgrade Your Equipment
It might not be you, but the tools you are using. Technology is moving fast, make sure that you are keeping up with it. There is no doubt that better equipment can lead to better work (especially for videographers). Updating your equipment every few years and keeping clued up on any changes to technology is necessary for filmmakers. Even when I was in my continuity job roles on set I upgraded from paper to iPad the process not only got easy but made my notes more professional.
TIP 6 - Take a Chance
Have the confidence to apply to work on bigger projects. Sometimes we stop ourselves from leveling up, I think the internet calls it imposter syndrome. If you are getting paid and being asked back by clients it is a sign that you are doing well. Be brave and apply for more challenging jobs every new year.
I hope this article has helped spark some ideas on how to level up in your film career. Find me on Twitter @amyclarkefilms