The 4 steps to finding film work online

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I have created a video presentation that you can watch letting you know all of the steps in detail. If you are new to finding work in film and want to soak up a ton of new information to help with your future career then check out this video below. 

Watch the video in full screen here  You can read the basic transcript  below -

Step 1 – Bookmark 5 websites

If you  can download a list of updated film jobs sites here. You will want to find 5+ websites that advertise work in your location. I say 5 plus because if you can find 10 then find 10 but I would suggest a minimum of 5 sites.

As well as jobs sites you can also find work on local film council websites. This may be a film website dedicated to your region or state. These local film councils sometimes have a database of crew that you can add your contact details into and also advertise jobs.

Social media is a new way to find work in film. It is nothing fancy you use the search bar of your social media to search for jobs being advertised. Facebook also has groups, and one of these groups might advertise work in your area or there maybe a group chat for filmmakers in your area on twitter. 

Step 2 – Your filmmaker CV

After you have found 5 job sites you will need to create a CV. If you think filmmakers don’t need a CV you are wrong, when you don’t know enough people in film to be called up with job offers its likely you are going to be applying to films online and when you apply to a film job online you will always be asked for a CV. So it is misconception that filmmakers don't need a CV, if you are applying to work online you will need one.

A filmmaker CV is different to an ordinary CV, perhaps in school you where taught to create a 2 -3 page CV or resume full of info on what jobs you done. A filmmaker CV is short, simple and to straight to the point.

It’s important for a filmmaker CV – when someone glances at it they need to understand what job you are applying for. Even if they just glance at it for 5 seconds it should be obvious what job you do and are applying for.

So right at the top of your CV write you name and job title. A producer should be able to look at your CV for just a few seconds and know what job you are applying for. Producers are busy, you want to make it easy for people to hire you.

You CV credits are also nicely listed down your CV - mention the production title, the date and your job role. You can also mention the genre, the director, producer, production company. You could also mention the head of your department. So if you are a camera assistant you could mention the DOP you worked for on each production. You can download a filmmaker CV template here.

Step 3 – Cover Letters

Your filmmaker cover letters, should be just like your CVs – short and simple. Overly formal and long cover letters are not needed for a film job. The role of a cover letter is to get someone to look at your CV. It will be your CV, your experience or showreel links that will get you the job, not the cover letter.

A long cover letter will not be read. For a cover letter formula start with an introduction, give reasons for the person to hire you and end will a call to action. A call to action lets the reader know what to do next, examples of a call to action are, check out my CV, take a look at my show reel, or asking a question would you like to have an interview this week? 

For Full time jobs your cover letter can be a little longer but still no longer than 3 paragraphs. Keep your cover letter friendly as opposed to formal even on full time job applications. Mention more fully your experience, often these full time jobs have job requirements which can act as a guide for your writing your cover letter – go through the requirements mentioned in the job description.

The cover letter was not what got me the job – it was the CV, the experience I had that did.

Even if you have little experience, keep your cover letter short and your CVs simple. This allows you to apply to more jobs and keep a consistent job hunt going.

Step 4 – Emailing

When you send your cover letter and CV off to a job save your CV in PDF format if I didn’t say it before save this file as your name and job title.

Applying to jobs in bulk – you need to be applying to jobs in bulk because the film industry is very competitive. I would say if you are applying to jobs correctly expect to get 1 out of every 10 jobs you are applying for.

Try to apply for 10 jobs per week. Film industry production jobs are usually freelance and temporary add that with the competitiveness jobs can sometimes only last online for as little as two days at a time. And jobs may only be a few days long. So you need to keep applying to jobs consistently in film.,

A specific job, a well designed CV and simple cover letter is how you get jobs in film.

Here is a Breakdown of what we have learnt

  • First Find a focused job role or department to work within
  • Then Choose a location you wish to work within
  • Create you filmmaker CV
  • Create your filmmaker cover letter
  • And Apply to jobs in bulk (10+ a week)
  • Make sure to apply to jobs on regular basis

Do filmmakers need a CV?

film production cv

It is a misconception from some filmmakers and creatives that they don’t need a CV. That all of their work will come from word of mouth. In time you will become well known enough to not need a CV however at the start of your career, when you don’t know enough people to recommend you for work, you will need a CV to send off for job applications. Your film work will likely at the start of your career come from online and these online jobs will always ask for a CV. 

You can download the simple Filmmaker CV template below: 

More reasons you need a film production CV:

5 reasons you need a CV if you are a filmmaker

1. You will be asked for one

Even when I was recommended for jobs I was asked to send over my CV to the producer. My CV was the last thing that stood between me and the job. Even if you get the job you still might be asked to send over your CV to the production office at some point. And why not have your film production CV filed onto the production offices computer, they might ask you back to work for them in the future, it's good to be more than a number on the producer's mobile phone.

2. It lets people know where your skills lie

You might have been asked to join the art dept from a recommendation, but where does the line producer place you. What skills do you have, are you good at making things and should be placed within props, or would you be best on set as an art dept runner? Your CV lets the department head know exactly what job role is best suited for you. It shows off all of your skills and talents so you can work to your full potential. 

3. To justify your day rate

Your CV will help you negotiate a higher working day rate. If a producer is recommended to hire you from a director,what should they pay you. They might under pay you a mates rate, they might undervalue you but your CV will help you prove to them that your day rate is worth it. Your film production CV is there to show off your skills in the simplest way, it lets people know your worth.  It shows how much experience you have and provides links to your show reel or portfolio for further testimony.

4. To identify gaps in skills, knowledge and experience

For your own personal reference a CV is useful, it lets you outline on a page or two what you have done in your career, how much experience you have, it lets you see what skills are missing, what could be added to look more impressive. It lets you know from a glance what are you lacking that another person in competition with you might have. It allows you to be critical of yourself, consider what you could add to be a more hireable person.

5. It shows off your personality

Lastly a small note, your CV serves as your first introduction, it is the first thing your boss will see before meeting you. I encourage people to show off anything interesting, unusual or special in their skills section in sports, languages, if they have travelled widely, can play on instrument or have an interesting hobby such as as fishing or even knitting. Whatever you are good at, if you are good at something this can show a little personality and it might resonate well with the person reading your CV. Your film production CV is there to sell yourself and you should be proud of the accomplishments you have made so far in life. 

So I hope I have done enough here to convince you to make your own filmmaker CV. I am currently creating a workbook full of CV & cover letter examples to be launched in a few weeks time.  If you need any more convincing or have any questions let me know below. The film production CV template download can be used to help you design your own CV in the correct industry format. 

A list of film production job sites (Last updated aug 2017)

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Jobs in the Entertainment Industry, A list of up to date job sites (last updated Summer 2017) and advice on how to apply for film production jobs online. Download the updated list below.

My experience applying to film jobs 

It was 2008 when I first started to look for work in the film industry. The great recession had just sprang and normal jobs were hard to come by. The film industry however was booming, more films were made between 2008-2012 than at any other time in history and it may stay the highest point of film production for a long time. Filmmakers of this world where going through the Digital revolution, the DSLR craze and jumping onto the Crowdfunding bandwagon. It felt that everyone back then was making a film.

Things change fast in the world of film, especially with how to apply to jobs online, with new sites being created and removed every few months. This list will be updated regularly.  

Download the full updated list below

Use social media to your advantage. Get good with Google search – bookmark careers sections on production company websites and check back every month, search specifically for job roles, Make it easy for people to find you and see your showreel online. Keep in touch with the crew you work with.

How to find film production jobs online

You must be persistent. Expect to get 1 out of every 10 jobs you apply for when you are first starting out. I have created a free email course How to find work in the Film Industry with more detailed advice on how to find film work. 

Make sure your CV is in the correct format, ideally have some experience credits already listed (you can place student films onto your CV). Find at least 5 websites that advertise jobs in your location, find production companies that you would like to work with, follow them on social media, bookmark their career pages. Set yourself a goal, such as apply for 5 jobs a week.  

The main reasons people struggle to find film work

  • They have not defined there job role. You are not a one man film crew, what is your job going to be on set, head towards where your skills lie.
  • They do not have any relevant experience. Try to list 5 credits onto your CV within that one specific job role. If you can not you may need to do some free/student work
  • They are not prepared to travel. Any major city in the world will have film work. Being open for travel will bring you more work in the long run. 
  • They are not applying to enough jobs. You're going to have to search and apply every week for work at first, until you have made contacts in this industry you need to keep putting yourself out there.

It won't be easy to land your first few film production jobs, when you don't have contacts applying online will be the simplest way to do it. After a year you will start to get called up with job offers. Get yourself into the habit of applying every week, every day and in time your work will be consistent. 

I hope this has been helpful. Are there any film production job sites that you would recommend? How do you find film jobs yourself feel free to share below.