We have to let go of the idea that creative work is found in some magical way. Like any other job you need to pursue the work and continuously apply to jobs. Finding work is hard work especially if you go down the freelancer route you have to make a habit out of looking for work and keeping an eye out for future projects.
The best way to find work is through word of mouth – being recommended from someone else for a job almost guarantees you the position. It is better to be recommend for a job than to apply faceless through an online job application like everyone else. However when you first start out you won’t know enough people to recommend you for work. This post will look at some of the techniques to finding work especially at the beginning stage when you have little contacts in the industry.
Download a list of film industry job sites below
Online job sites
This is the easiest way to find work in film. In time you will not need to look online for work as you will begin to build up enough contacts in film to start getting called up with job offers (this takes 1-3 years). I recommend you look for 5 job sites that advertise film work in your chosen location. Seeing as freelance work can be advertised for only a few days at a time you will need to keep a look out on these job sites every week.
Yes it will take a bit of effort but expect to get one out of every ten jobs you apply for. The biggest international film job sites are Mandy (one month free when signing up no card details needed), Stage 32 and Entertainment Careers. Make sure to have a through search online for job sites within your country / local area.
TIP - Find 5 job sites that advertise work in your job role and within your location
Find out where the filmmakers near you hang out online. Facebook is the easiest way of searching for an online community (I done a Facebook live on how to do this here).
Simply search and find the online groups for filmmakers like you. For example type London Filmmakers into the Facebook search bar. These groups may hold events, meet-ups or even advertise paid work themselves. To be a successful freelance filmmaker you need to meet a lot of people and becoming known within your local film circle is the first step. There is no such thing as having too many film contacts. This also works for other social media such as Twitter and YouTube. Find fellow filmmakers, follow, support and network.
TIP – Find and join your local filmmaker groups on Facebook and introduce yourself
Stepping outside and meeting people is not for everyone (I did not enjoy network meetings myself but I know others have had a lot of fun and success with them). Meeting someone in person other than online is going to make them more likely to want to work with you. Making contacts in film is necessary and it is unlikely people will hire you from watching a show reel alone.
Network meetings for filmmakers do happen. These may be held at local film festivals, cinemas or be organised by unions, government funded art events or production companies. I know a handful of these are held in my small city so likely they will be happening in your area just be sure to search and find them.
TIP – Search for organisations that put on filmmaker networking events near you
Ask your contacts
Sometimes all you need to do is ask. Ask the contacts you have already made in film - this may be a past class mate or co-worker. Is there anyone you follow on social media that you know is working in the film industry? Film sets always need helping hands, people who are willing to do the driving, lifting and cleaning up.
When you are working on set even in independent production ask crew if there are any upcoming projects that you could get involved on (Simple asking people on set what projects they are working on next has got me paid work a couple of times before). This is the cycle of film work begin by looking for jobs online and keep putting yourself out there, soon a handful of people will have you in mind for working on their next production.
If you have any advice to share on how to make contacts and find work in film let me and others know below. Also if you know of any good film job sites outside of UK and America it would be great to share them here -