How To Get Your first Job in Film? 5 Tips for filmmakers

In this following post - you will learn 5 Tips on how to get your first job in the film industry. 

It’s hard to take the first step - just how do you get a job in the film industry with no experience.

It is likely you will have to do some free work experience at the start of your career. Film is a very competitive industry and people with some experience will be hired over those with none even for entry level work.

Once you have a handful of work experience credits you should be able to start finding paid work. 

This info-graphic below shows you how -

Your First Job in Film - Infograph.png

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. Decide what job you want

It might seem obvious, but you need to know what specific job you are applying for. 

Most people will suggest you start out in film as a Runner. A Runner is the first entry level job into film. You will learn the basics of how a film set works within this job role.

It might be a good idea to start out in film by being a runner on one or two film sets at first. For most people this is their first job in film, however you probably won’t be paid and the work will be menial. 

Alternatively if you know for certain what department you want to work within you can work as trainee / assistant in that department. 

I created a list on where to find film internships - Read here

2. your cV should Say that job

Handing in a CV with your part time supermarket job on the top of it isn’t going to work. Put all of your film related experience at the top of your CV.  

At the top of your CV place the job title you are after at the very top. If you are looking for a camera trainee position your job title is Camera Trainee. Try to include all camera related experience on this CV such as student films, equipment you have worked with, any workshops you have attended. 

Click To Tweet: When a producer looks at your CV they should know instantly what job role you are applying for #filmmaking

I wrote a detailed article on filmmakers CV design which comes with a free template - Read here

3. Apply to jobs in bulk

Expect to get one job out of every ten jobs you apply for. 

This will change when you get more experience. At first apply to jobs daily. Often freelance film jobs wont stay online for more than week, you need to make a habit of applying jobs before they are taken down from job sites. 

There are a few places you can find film jobs - online job sites, Facebook groups and Forums, Careers pages on Production companies websites, applying to companies directly.

You can download a list of Film Job sites here

4. Be willing to travel

If you live in a major city such as London, LA or Toronto you might be able to find frequent work staying in your city, if not you will likely need to travel to find work. 

For lower budget entry level job roles producers will require you to live close to the production. This is to save money on accommodation. Sometimes the pay and experience makes up for the cost of a hostel. Sometimes you can arrange with other crew members to rent out a cheap apartment for the shoot.

A film with a budget will be able to provide accommodation. Sometimes you need to push for a job if travel is the only option. I found once I focused my job role from runner to Script Supervisor I was always given a hotel room to stay at. The higher up your job role the less travel is a problem. 

5. Take the risk

To work on a feature film you will be expected to work 12 hours a day for a month or two straight. So having a part time job won’t work. Take the risk and go freelance. When that dream entry level job comes up be prepared to quit your job, pack a suitcase and go for it.

Once you have a handful of film credits within one job role (even if these are all low budget) you can start to work your way up the film set ladder.

I started off by working on student productions and I ended working on major budgeted film sets in three years. I will tell you film work is not for everyone but if you want to work within the film industry the experience you gain is invaluable.

How to leave your job for a career in film - Read here

Resources

Links to useful websites with advice for first time film job seekers on how to get your first job in film – My list 20 places to find work in filmMy First Job in film (UK) Creative Tool Kit (UK) Creative SkillSet (UK) Creative England (UK).