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. 

5 of the best CV Writing Tips for Filmmakers

CV writing and resume tips for filmmakers

I have worked on a lot of film sets. It even got the point where I would send a CV off for a job and I could pretty much guarantee I would be working on that film.

In time credits build up, people recommend you, finding work on film sets is not impossible.

have had a look at some CVs student filmmakers are sending off to film jobs recently. I always got compliments on my own CV when I worked in film from producers. I have worked on 10 feature films and 40 or so other types of film productions by now, so I think it is justifiable to say that I know what I’m doing when it comes to CV writing for filmmakers. 

And you can download my own CV below to see what I am doing that has been working so well for me. I also have a 1-1 filmmaker CV design service you can read more about here. 

I also created the E-book 'Find Work In Film' which goes into detail on how to find and apply to film jobs - More Info Here

1. Make it clear what you do and what job you want

At the top of your CV have your name in bold followed by what your job title is. Make this text big. If you’re after a runner job but don’t have runner experience still put the job title 'Runner' at the top of your CV.      

If a producer is looking at 20 CVs your CV needs to stand out so make them remember your name and know what job you are applying for.

A lot of people send CVs off and don’t make it obvious what job they are looking for. This is the biggest mistake you can make on your filmmaker CV. 

2.  Don’t make it wordy. a very short biography is best

Don’t make your CV wordy, the producer needs to be able to scan your CV and get the jist within 10 seconds. I have three sentences at the top of my script supervisor CV that says it all.

My biography says what I have done, what I do and what type of person I am. I wouldn’t include more than a short paragraph about you. If you’re applying for your first film job then say you’re looking for a runner or for an assistant position (even if you don’t have experience yet). Say that you have experience on student films and are passionate and want to learn more. If you are a runner with a car you’ll probably get the job. 

3. Keep everything relevant at the top of your CV

In this business your work at the supermarket is not so relevant. Put you film work at the top of your CV. Put any film experience you have at the top of your CV even student films, keep all other jobs right at the bottom. I have never put any normal jobs on my film CV- after all why would my job as a waitress convince a producer to hire me as a script supervisor. Keep your CV relevant as much as you can.

4. List and bullet point all credits

Keep your CV streamline and clear. Lists and bullet points are great for this. List all the film jobs you have done going down the page with most recent at the top. I have a feature film list, short film list and television list on my CV. If you’re new to film work, then list any relevant jobs at the top. If you’re after a runner job then put any runner jobs you’ve done at the top of the CV (even if it was just that one short film you helped out on in University – include that, put it right at the top). 

I include the title of the film, the date of production, director and producer names, production company and any famous people I have worked with.  Not everyone will put this information down but you need to make yourself look good. I heard that Quentin Tarantino lied about acting roles he got on his early CV to make himself appear more important. Once again you can check out my own CV below.

Name dropping does work (it is show business). The film industry works in circles of contacts, the last job I got worked out because the director noticed on my CV that I worked with a producer a few years back who he met at a networking event. What are the chances, quite likely in an industry where everyone knows one another.

5. Keep your CV 2 pages max and keep your education short

A clear to the point one page CV is better than 2 pages of filler. What GCSE’s (high school grades) you got are not that important, credits and experience outweigh education.  I include that I studied film at university right at the bottom of my CV. Don’t include things like I got a B in science A-level. Just Like the rest of your CV keep your education relevant. You might want to say – I’ve studied media since high school and studied production at university.

So to conclude CVs are an important part in getting your film job (especially at first when you have no contacts). Credits and contacts is what it’s all about. Don’t make your CV wordy keep it streamlined and clear. For those starting out once you’ve got those first 3 professional credits you’ll be flying. Let me know what works for you. I also have a 1-1 filmmaker CV service find out more here. 

How to write a Production Assistant Resume

 
production assistant resume
 

How to write a Production Assistant Resume. I  also wrote a popular article with CV writing tips for filmmakers here. You can watch the short video I made below or read the post - 

There is a small art to CV writing. The biggest problem I see with resumes is that are too detailed. They are not clear enough.  A producer needs to  simple glance at your resume and know that  you can do the job. 

1. Write your name and job title at the top

On your production assistant resume put your name and job title at the very top. It must be clear at first glance who you are and what job you do.  Write your name in bold at the top of your resume along with the job position you are applying for. Even if you have never worked as a production assistant before claim you are one, have confidence.

I also have a 1-1 CV design service for filmmakers you can read more about this here

2. Lists and bullet points

Keep everything as lists and bullet points on your CV. Someone hiring you should be able to to skim down the resume and see that you can do the job within a few seconds.

For previous film work write your job title, the production company and the date you worked on the production. You could also write the producer’s name or any details of the production that might sound sexy (Name dropping on your CV does help).

If you have never worked as a production assistant before, keep any jobs that you mention on your CV relevant to film. Student films are OK to mention if this is your only experience. Just don’t say you worked as director on a student film if you are after a production assistant job.

3. Keep everything relevant 

Keep everything relevant to film work if you can. If you worked in a supermarket stacking shelves and have never worked on film job in your life you could write this under a section called other work . 

Supermarket Staffer 2yrs. – Good with customers. Confident on the telephone and with Computers.  If possible don’t put down anything other than film set work. 

When I first started out looking for film jobs. I put a number of student film projects onto my CV (The producers didn't know that these were unpaid jobs).  I also put down that I had done some student radio work ( With the hope of showing that I was confident with media and technology). Some people say not to mention anything other than film work on your Production Assistant Resume but this is not always possible when you're first starting out.

What your CV must do is say that you want the job, that you can do the job and that you are passionate about film.

One Skill that is very useful – Driving. If you can drive and or have a car – put this in Bold onto your production assistant resume. If you are licensed to drive other vehicles and have a clean license put all this on as well.

Other Skills - Computer literate, confident on the telephone,  confident with technology (all of these are good things to put down).  Anything impressive – I won a screenwriting award once so I put that on there. Name dropping helps, name dropping well known production companies helps a lot.

4. Keep it short 

A Production Assistant Resume should be 1 page long. Applying for any other film role never make it more than 2 pages long. A filmmakers CV should be short clear and straight to the point.  Write in one sentence what education you have. I write that I Studied Film Production at Liverpool Hope University  on my CV and that is all (I don't mention my GCSEs).

5. Cover Letters

Filmmakers cover letters should be just like their resumes short clear and straight to the point. Here are two examples of cover letters I sent off for film jobs. 

The first one was for a camera trainee role found Via Mandy.com. On the CV I sent along with this I listed what camera I had. I also listed what editing software I can use. This was the cover letter that got me the job.

Hello, my name is Amy Clarke and I am a local filmmaker from Liverpool. I am interested in the job as I have been looking for local film work for a while now to develop my skills as part of the camera department. I would love the job as it would give me the opportunity to work and learn without the worry of having to travel for long distances to find it. I am hugely passionate about filmmaking and believe I would be a good choice for a new member of your production team.  

thank you for your time. yours sincerely,
Amy

For a job on a high budgeted film as a Script Supervisor ( I was sent the listing to this through Creative England ). I sent off this cover letter with my CV attached.

Hello,
My name is Amy Clarke and I am freelance Script and Continuity Supervisor from Liverpool.I would love to be part of your production I am free all of June, July and August to work on your film. Please see my CV attached.
We could always meet up and have chat about the film this week. All the best,
Amy

My CV was read and I had tea with the director that very week.

There is nothing special about my cover letters they are short, clear and to the point. To wrap it up all resumes for film jobs must be short, clear and neat. When I first started out I applied to tons of job applications, I was cocky too. When I narrowed down my crew position finally to Script Supervisor (because you don’t plan on being a production assistant forever right)  I found getting a job was much easier.

When I had 5 credits of being a Script Supervisor on feature films I could get any job I applied for. Film crew work is all about credit collecting. It’s a tough game, not one I play anymore but it is definitely possible to get work in film.

I also created the E-book 'Find Work In Film' which goes into detail on how to find and apply to film jobs - More Info Here