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.
I 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 detailed guide on finding work in film (with case studies) that you can find in my blogs resource library.
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. Any questions ask below.