Film school is expensive and can range from anything between one to four years. For anyone looking to short cut their way into the industry…this article is the one for you.
Decide what you want to do.
It sounds simple but trust me when I say it’s not. Film and Television crews are like entire ecosystems — they have so many people doing so many jobs just to keep it alive. To make it simpler first decide which sector you’re interested in. The main two are: factual and scripted.
Factual sectors usually involve jobs in:
- Reality TV
Scripted sectors usually focus on:
The two genres rarely cross and if you want to work your way up the ladder, it’s best just to choose the one. After you have ticked that box, you need to decide which crew position you are interested in. TV Watercooler is a super helpful website that lists various jobs in the industry that you might be suited for. (They also list websites that are looking for people to employ, so jump on it.)
So now you know what you want to do.
Well done. Coffee break yes? You need to make a CV that screams “Employ Me!” The best way to do this is to get on ye old internet and join various Facebook groups that post advice for newbies and free CV tips. (A great one for this is People in TV: Runners.) Experience isn’t required on a CV but generally these can be some useful things to add if you fit the requirements:
- Knowing how to data wrangle.
- Having logging experience of some kind.
- Owning a driver’s license.
- Being over 21/25 (just for insurance reasons.)
- Having your own car with business insurance.
Now you know what you want, you’ve got a banging CV.
It’s time to make the leap into (drum roll please) work experience and apprenticeships. Work experience and internships are SO valuable and can teach you a lot whilst earning a bit on the side.. (but if you are already feeling very qualified then go to the next bullet point to learn about employment.) Still here? Lucky you. Work experience and internships are great ways to make connections and learn more about the industry as well as yourself. The key word here is “Networking.” If you get onto one of these schemes then make sure to leave a good impression. By that I mean, make yourself ‘the easy option.’ If somebody wants something done efficiently and effectively then make sure your name is the first on their lips. If you are successful in this, then chances are, they are going to ask you back. Here are some good suggestions for places that offer work experience:
- Creative Opportunities is a website for regular events and fun projects to get involved with.
- ITV always do apprenticeships in London, Manchester and Leeds. The apprenticeships last about a year, it’s paid work AND you get a qualification after. Do it for the CV.
- Endemol Shine always lists paid work experiences in TV and Film.
- Backstage is a popular US website that lists opportunities for work experience.
- Internships.com (What it says.)
- Barefoot Student
- Sony Pictures Internships
- California – Street Lights
If none of these websites appeal.. then have a look at popular production companies and see what work experience programs they offer. Film and television crews are always on the lookout for young people to employ so put yourself out there and get applying.
Want a job straight away?
I hear you. If you know all you need to know about yourself, can data wrangle, and make good cups of tea… then you can bypass the work experience stage and look for your first job. Reality TV and game shows are often keen to hire beginners — listed below are some great places to start:
- TV: Flog It
- Britain’s Got Talent
- Dickinson’s Real Deal
Facebook group chats are also brilliant ways to find jobs. Groups like “People In TV: Runners” often post job applications in the chat forum, so do a bit of digging for that. If that’s still not working out for you then have a look at some of these websites:
- Talent Manager
- CallTime Company
- C4 Opportunities
- Creative Access
- TV Collective Opportunities
- The Unit List
- Media Match
- UTA Jobs List,
- New York – NYC Film Crew
- Texas – Texas Film Commission
- Dallas Film Jobs Georgia – Georgia Film Council
- Florida – Sparxoo
Now you have all you need to break into the film industry without a fancy film school certificate! All that’s left to say is Good Luck!