When I started trying to find movie industry jobs I was terrified. The BEST decision I ever made was to take film professionals to coffee and pick their brains. So, I thought I’d replicate that experience by seeking insights from some of the best minds out there.
I decided to reach out and ask one question of filmmakers, producers, and storytellers to get their take on starting at the bottom. I asked these folks:
If you started from scratch today, what’s one thing you would do to start your career in the film industry?
I want to thank everyone involved in this post, and everyone that has helped spread the word! Enjoy and be sure to take this advice to heart.
The one thing I would do to start my career: get a job. You’ll learn more in one day on a set than you will in a year in film school. Step 2: pay attention to everything, be nice to everyone, be so amazing that people notice and want to keep you around.
If I were starting out fresh in the film industry today, I would focus on short form commercial & narrative content. Leverage high-end camera packages & crew to produce fast while keeping quality as high as possible.
Try to make films, that are more efficient in the making process. And uploading it to the internet so you can share those videos. We think if your passionate, people will notice and that will open doors.
professionally: the best step was to go out of the same circle I learned the craft and enroll in some workshop or practice in another different environment.. . it broadens and deepens ones understanding of the craft.
PR wise: a lot
Don’t be a whimp with no work ethic and diplay your talent…To start in the movie industry one must get educated by doing, not by thinking, and thus it is imperative to first write 3 scripts before you believe you are knowledgeable to proceed.
The three scripts are (1) INDEPENDENT FEATURE FILM (90-100 Pages, Keep-It-Simple, 1-location story), (2) STUDIO FEATURE FILM (110-140 Pages, Never-Mind-Budget, multiple location story) and (3) TV SITCOM (25-30 Pages, Spec Script of present TV Series)
Plus, I strongly advise attending my affordable Streaming Film School (www.WebFilmSchool.com) and you will now know what to do with these 3 projects.
In short: Start working NOW. Aspiring to be is not the same as being. Jump right in. Don’t wait for anyone’s permission to make your career happen. Grab the bull by the horns, make mistakes, learn from your failures, and work hard at getting better at your craft.
I plan to discuss this at some point in a video but I’d pursue the film industry through YouTube. Whatever department in the industry. Acting- directing etc u can show off through your channel. I’d keep the videos short relatable as I built an audience and deliver it in a way that would lend itself to be easily shared (heavy in humor or as exceptionally awesome as I could make it)
Do free work. Very rarely will you get someone to pay you to push your boundaries, make something at a higher level that before, or do something you haven’t shown you are capable of doing with a portfolio piece. Do this by pitching companies or causes on an idea, tell them how much it would cost, but that you’re willing to do it for free to build your portfolio. Once you have a few of these then you can pitch (and get paid for) bigger budget productions.
I started out as an actor. Before heading to L.A. I wish I had gone to Second City in Chicago and studied improv and tried to become part of the company. What you learn about character, sharing a scene and thinking on your feet gives you such a solid foundation for whatever comes next. I slipped into the behind the camera aspects along the way, first by hosting a radio show and then writing and producing the majority of ads for our station and some for outside ad agencies as well as comedy sketches that aired on our station and on Wisconsin Public Broadcasting. Each break I had came from me producing something on my own which opened new doors.
If I were starting today, I would be producing videos and slapping them up on YouTube and Vimeo. This is truly an amazing time to be seen and to showcase your talent. Orson Welles fought all his life to get his projects made. What he could have done with the inexpensive tools that we now have at our disposal. I have no doubt that there are giant talents that could create the next Citizen Kane on little more than an iPhone and some audio gear. Create something you are proud of and get it out there. If you have talent there will be people who believe in you, whether at a studio, network, digital platform or through crowdfunding. Create a break instead of waiting for one.
Do a good University degree which combines practical and theoretical aspects of film making while simultaneously working on internship and part time roles in the industry.
If I were to start from scratch today, I would probably pursue technical education and training in the field of visual production; talent is more valuable when supported by adequate technical knowledge.
I would definitely give myself at least two years of screenwriting before jumping headlong into the film industry
get hands on production experiences as much as I can
I would move to Los Angeles as soon as possible and take an internship with a major producer. There is value in proximity. The other thing I would do is read every book on internet, direct marketing. I believe direct marketing is the future. And if you can learn it now, you’ll be valuable.
Jeremy Briggs, video producer / director / writer
My standard answer is still true. I would get into an acting class. It keeps you sharp when you get those first auditions. You meet other actors and can network. You hear about what is happening. New trends. This first step assumes you have money to take a class. If you don’t, that would be my first bit of advice. Get a job that is flexible and allows you to take class and not be desperate when you get those first auditions.
Collaborate every single day. It does you no good as a filmmaker to be off on an island by yourself. Collaboration is necessary for making films and for growing as a filmmaker. You will learn together. You will challenge yourself. And you will make stronger films if you value collaboration. Filmmaking is a team sport, and the more you practice that teamwork, the better you’re going to get at the game.
This is where you will learn first-hand what the entertainment world is all about, gain practical skills and especially make all-important contacts. Often a major part of that job is to read and evaluate dozens of screenplays… every night after work and during weekends.
Intern! 🙂 i did and learned so much 🙂
Marcio Novelli, filmmaker
Never back down from what you believe in no matter what.
The biggest thing I wish I had known is just how long it takes to get traction. It’s not just learning how to make great video, there’s an enormous amount about the online video industry that you can only learn by doing. Just be prepared to spend the time to understand the ins and outs.
If I had to start from scratch the first (and most important) thing I would do would be to set a goal for myself of producing a new piece of content every single day. In my opinion it’s not about who you know, where you studied, what gear you have, or how much talent you have. To me, it’s all about hustling to continually produce and not getting distracted by failure or success.
There you have it, the experts have spoken!
Whatever you do make sure you pick out your favorite tips & create a plan of action.
If you want to see fast results, focus on the tips with the least amount of time/money investment vs the biggest reward.
Got any extra tips? Let me know in the comments!