Everything you need to know about writing your film production resume (or film production CV if you are from the UK as the word resume is rarely used over here). I also have a 1-1 CV design service you can read more about here
Regardless of which continent you are from the same rules apply for all filmmaker resume design. This post also comes with a free Filmmaker resume template to download, in the resource page you will also find a copy of my own Script Supervisor CV for reference. Let's begin!
Why is a film production resume needed?
When you first start out working in the film industry you will have little to no contacts. Yes finding work in film is all about who knows who. But at first you will have to apply to jobs online, and you will be asked to show a resume every time you do so.
There is a general idea that a filmmaker does not need a resume since all of their work comes from word of mouth. This is more likely to happen later on in your career especially with the technical jobs Sparks, Riggers, Camera Assistants. However when I was a Script Supervisor I have always been asked to show my CV. Even if I know the director and they got me the job, the producer may want clarification that you can do your job. On any production you may be asked to show your film production resume.
The ten second rule
I have been educating myself on CV writing and I see that most industries recommend a 20 second rule. Meaning that the person hiring you should be able to get the basic facts on who you are and what you do within 20 seconds of glancing over your CV.
For a film production CV you need to think much shorter (and I was going to write a 5 second rule but that might have seemed a little harsh?). Imagine that a busy production assistant has been handed a pile of CVs onto their desk, they are asked to find one person to bring on board for this specific role likely they will just flick through. So Your name, your job role, and the clarity of your experience must stand out straight away.
You can download a copy of the film production resume template below.
Alternatively a handful of resumes have been sent to the producers email , the producer is already super busy and they want this process to be as easy as possible. Most resumes contain a lengthy personal description, it is not clear what job the person is looking for or what experience they have. Make yours say immediately that you are after the job advertised, list your credits in the right order, the information must be neat and easy to process. Give the producer a reason to stick around and scan through your whole resume.
Does your film production CV pass the 10 second rule?
- Your CV is 1-2 pages long
- Your CV is saved in PDF format
- Your name is at the top and clear
- Your job role is at the top and stands out
- You have shown your contact details
- Your personal bio is a short paragraph
- Your credits are listed most recent at the top
- Your education is short and ideally relevant
- Your CV is streamlined and neat
- Your CV is saved as your name and job role
I save my CV as - Amy Clarke Script Supervisor CV. PDF format is also important as you don't know what computer your file will be opened on, all computers open Adobe PDF files.
Film Production Resume Layout
At the top of your Resume
What job do you do (or want to be hired for). Your job title and your name should be the first things that catches an employer's eye. You should show confidence and place the job you are applying for at the top of your CV. Even if you only have student film credits place your job title at right at the top.
Your name should also be at the top and clear (ideally on a line of its own so that people remember it). Include links to your professional website or to a showreel if needed. This would be necessary for jobs such as Set Designer, Props, Editor, cinematography, any job in which you create things.
The Personal brief*
*This could come at the bottom of your CV. This would be a quick breakdown of who you are and your skills. You could also mention here why you want the job or even show some personality. Anything goes just try to keep this part professional and brief 3 sentences should be enough.
The Film Credits
Your film production credits should be listed down the page. These are listed in the order - the name of the film production, dates you worked on it, and your job position. You can also put what type of production it was feature short, television, commercial etc. I also put names of actors, producers, directors or production companies. Name dropping works very well.
Here list reverent skills that you have for the job, for example an editor listing down what programmes they can work with, what equipment you may own. However feel free to put down any interesting skills and you can show personality, sports achievements, talents, skills such as multiple languages.
At the bottom of your CV list your education or training. This isn't too important when applying to a film job but it can show dedication to the role. A degree at a prestigious film school can work wonders. List any education Bachelors or higher, and any additional courses or classes you may have taken.
Can you make it more personal - yes, you can show personality on your CV, everyone need not look robotically the same. Feel free to stick to your own font choice, general style (as long as the layout format is the same and the CV still passes the easy to read test). Avoid using images and colour (other than on hyperlinks).
Once again stick to saving your CV in the PDF format - these days your CV is likely to be viewed from a mobile phone so make it easy to download and view.
The Film production cover letter
Cover letters need only be short and simple. It is unlikely anyone will have the time to read a lengthy cover letter, a short paragraph saying who you are, what you do and why you are fit for the job is all that is needed. No need to overcomplicate a film production cover letter!
Contracted lifetime jobs working for companies will have a longer process than temporary film production work. These types of jobs (such as if you were applying to the BBC) will have a lengthy interview process and a more formal cover letter will be needed.
When you work on a film production, you work as a freelancer (aka your self employed) and these jobs hire people on a job by job basis. In film you will be hired a few weeks before production begins (and more likely the week before production begins). Producers are busy with so many different tasks they don’t have the time for formal interviews. This is why film production CVs need to be short and to the point.
What to do with your filmmaker resume?
A list of places to find jobs online can be found via my blogs resource page. Applying to jobs online is easiest way to start film production work. I also have a free 5 day email course on how to find jobs in film, you can sign up to this on my home page here.
Also see if there are any filmmaker meetups in your area, events for local filmmakers or general creative hangouts to start making contacts. Place your resume on film crew dictionary’s like Mandy and for the UK Creative England. You could place your CV onto your professional website, make it easy to find and easy to download.
Note: Make sure to update your CV after every production. I hope this has been helpful, any questions ask below!