I have been asked recently to help edit some CVs or more specifically writing a Production Assistant Resume. I wrote a popular article with CV writing tips for filmmakers here. The same tips do apply for production assistants but I will be more clearer here in this article.
I guess there is a small art to CV writing. The biggest problem I am see with resumes is that are too detailed. In other words not being clear enough. A producer needs to just glance at your resume and know that you can do the job.
1. Write your name and job title at the top
This might seem obvious but your production assistant resume must be clear at a first glance. Write your name in bold at the top of your resume along with the job position you are going for. Even if you haven’t worked as a production assistant before claim you are one.
2. Lists and bullet points
Keep everything as lists and bullet points. Someone hiring you should be able to to just skim down the resume and see that you can do the job. For previous film work write the job title, the production company and the date. 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 do mention relevent. If this is the case 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
Thought that I would mention this once more. Keep everything relevant to film. If you worked at a supermarket stacking shelves and have never worked a 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 work.
When I first started out looking for film jobs. I put a number of student projects on the CV (they didn’t know that the jobs where freebies or student films). I also put down on my earlier CV’s that I had done some radio work (This did not stop me from getting work – I am unsure if it helped but it did show 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 impossible when you first start out. What your CV must do is say you want the job, you can do the job and that you are passionate about film.
Skills that are relevant – Driving. If you can drive and or have a car – put this in Bold on your CV. If you are licensed to drive other vehicles and have a clean license put all this on as well.
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 Studied Film Production at Liverpool Hope University on my CV and that is all.
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 jobs I got.
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. I also put down the only job I had ever had at this point. My first ever job was at a Computer Game Shop – I put that I was confident with technology based work (this is a lie but I got the job out of many other applicants). 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,
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.
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,
My CV was read and I had tea with the director that very week.
There is nothing special about my cover letters they are just short and to the point. To wrap 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) 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.
Hope this was helpful.