How to Get a Job After Film School
Congratulations! Now that you are done with film school, you are probably more than ready to venture into the world, create your own film, and utter the famous words “Lights, Camera, Action!” for that you will need to know how to get jobs after film school.
But just like film school, getting a job right after graduating is usually a challenge, especially with employers opting
for more seasoned film veterans. Although you are a newbie in the world of movies, you can still land a great job, as long as you have the right mindset! Here are several tips on how you can get employed right after getting out of film school:
If you think that Paramount’s top film honcho will just come knocking on your door, you are wrong. They will not know your talents if you do not let them know about your capabilities.
In other words, search the city for any vacancies and leave your applications in their mailboxes. Walk up and down Hollywood Boulevard with your resume and reel in tow. Visit production companies and drop in your papers. Who knows? They might be calling you real soon – so put your phone on ‘loud’ at all times (with the exception of the church and the movie house though.)
If you have the contact details of production heads, it will not hurt if you get in touch with them personally. They are the ones who hire the workers, so they most likely know if there is room for applicants.
Work on your CV.
Like any other job, the first thing that an employer will need from you is your resume or CV. Even if the work you are applying for concerns film, it does not mean that you should pass a dowdy resume – or else it will just end up inside the trash bin.
If you want your CV to be read and considered by the employer, it should be simple, clean, and most importantly, well-written. Do not make the mistake of including all of your work experience in your resume. Only include
information that is relevant to the job you are applying for. The purpose of your resume is not for showing off, it is about telling the employer that you are the perfect man for the job.
Search for jobs online.
Compared before, the process of applying has been made easier with the availability of online job search portals such as indeed.com. Heck, even prestigious film festivals such as Sundance and the Tribeca post job openings in their websites! If you have 3 hours a day to use Facebook, surely you can devote an hour of your time browsing the web for job opportunities.
Remember: read the post carefully. Furnish all of their requirements and be in touch with these production companies as needed.
Reconnect with friends and colleagues from the industry.
In the world of film, the adage ‘whom you know’ is truly applicable. While you might be the smartest person in the class, it is worthless if you do not know anybody who can back this up to directors, producers and scouts.
With this in mind, make sure to remain ‘connected’ with classmates and professors from film school through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Keeping ‘in touch’ is useful especially if they have access to job openings and vacancies.
Another community you should join is shoutfilm.com, a website by filmmakers for filmmakers. You can post your videos here, ask for feedback from fellow members, and provide feedback as well. Networking with your fellow professionals through this portal is another way to get acquainted with individuals blessed with industry connections.
Take any film-related jobs you can get your hands on.
As with all other jobs, in the world of film you have to start at the bottom and claw your way out to the top. Scour employment websites and community boards for internship opportunities. Do not be ashamed if you get work as a gofer or runner, grip, film extra, cameraman or production assistant – because the experience you earn from these menial jobs (not to mention the connections you can establish as well) will help you get a great film job.
…Or Work for “Free”
Yes, the word free is a very unfortunate one, especially if it is your services that you are giving away for free. Sadly, as the lowermost person of the hierarchy, you might find it hard to get ‘paid’ jobs easily (most of them with low salaries anyway.) So if there are volunteer works and job openings without salaries, take advantage of it.
Working for free, however, does not give you the license to slack off. Be on time and be industrious. Show your employers that you are an asset to the company.
Be wary about ‘exploitative’ free work as well. Keep in mind that free work only lasts four weeks, and the employer should shoulder your travel expenses.
While working for free means you will not receive any penny for your hard work, it usually paves the ways for great paid opportunities where you can showcase your talent. This is especially true if you have proven to them that you are beneficial to the company.
Get Started on your Own Project
If you find it hard to get one, why not start your very own project? This does not necessarily mean you have to spend all of your life’s savings on this project, because there are many free programs that can help you create your own piece of film. You can also get help from your film industry friends for free.
While your project might not pan out, it can give you the experience, skills and knowledge that can make your resume more attractive to production companies and department heads.
When all else fails, don’t give up!
Even if you follow all the tips mentioned in this article, there is no 100% chance that you will become the next big film star right away. Whenever you find yourself down and hopeless, do not lose hope! Such hurdles were experienced by today’s biggest filmmakers.
Instead of moping around in the corner, get your hands on some inspirational reads, such as “Rebel Without a Crew” by acclaimed filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and “What They Don’t Teach You in Film School” by Camille Landau. Their motivating words will surely get you through the dark days of unemployment.
Getting a job after film school is no picnic in the park. You need to be experienced, connected and determined in order to get your feet inside film’s door. So in case you find yourself jobless right after graduation – do not fret! Just follow the aforementioned tips and you will be on your way to a promising career in film.