How to gain film industry experience
Gaining experience in the film industry is such an important step in establishing yourself as a filmmaker. Most industries, of course, require experience to gain entry level, but with the creative industries, especially the film industry, it can be an uphill struggle, with its huge popularity and so few places available.
In this post, we look at a range of ways in which you can gain useful experience.
Join a filmmakers network
One of the best ways to get your foot in the door of the industry is to know the right people. So, by joining online forums, networks etc, this will increase your chances tenfold. There are many out there from social media groups to websites, such as No Film School - which gives budding and established filmmakers a chance to discuss things about the industry, as well there’s My First Job in Film, which offer a great set of career resources, as well as putting out regular competitions.
If you’re yearning to meet up face-to-face with fellow filmmakers, getting a membership to the BFI, is ideal, as membership will offer you chances to go to film screenings and other events where you can network and continue learning.
Start a degree in filmmaking
The UK is blessed in having some of the best film schools and film studies departments in the world, so taking up a 3 to 4 year degree is highly beneficial, as it will give you the required skills and also ample opportunity to network in the industry.
Make use of your spare time
This is a simple one, but if you put your spare time into working on your filmmaking techniques and learning from others, this will help you increase your chances, everyone loves a potential employee that has passion and engages in independent learning.
Get an apprenticeship
Apprenticeships prove to be the best route, as you’re able to both learn and earn at the same time, spending a few days at a production company for example and a few days at college learning the technical skills. Creative Skillset have compiled some information on getting an apprenticeship in the film industry underway.
Get your CV in order
A good CV is one of your best friends if you want to gain some experience in the industry, even if your work experience is limited, you can still write out a killer CV. Interviewed in The Guardian, Will Davies, director of programming at IdeasTap, speaks about writing out a CV for a job as a film runner, explaining:
"Simplicity, clarity and evidence, are the best tactics when putting together a CV and cover letter. And by evidence, I think the best CVs don't just list responsibilities but tell you what the person did to improve the work situation or achieve success. So instead of 'In my previous job I made tea', try 'In my previous job I was responsible for making tea and initiated a system which saved the company money and improved efficiency'. The example isn't a serious one, but demonstrates you have initiative and are savvy enough to improve a situation, which is a godsend in a runner."
Make yourself known
Finally, gaining some experience in the film industry will take time, but it’s definitely worth it if this is your true calling in life. Something that always helps is to make yourself known to people within the industry, you can do this by simply sending in speculative enquiries to production companies etc, explaining who you are, what you want to achieve and, of course, include your CV. Even if they say no, at least they have your details on file, to save losing touch, you can also get in contact again every few months or so.