How to Get a Job in the Film and TV Industry

As with many creative fields, the hardest part is getting that first break—that first job. If your heart is set on a career within the film and TV industry, be prepared. The film and TV industry is competitive. You’ll need to be patient, dedicated, and determined. That said, it’s not impossible to break into the film and TV industry if you’re willing to do the work. The only way anything is impossible is if you give up. Here are three strategies to help you land that critical first job.

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1. Build Your Network

With so many people interested in a film and TV industry career, people hiring for positions have lots of choices available. They’ll almost always select a person they know over someone they don’t. This strategy makes sense. They already know that person’s work ethic and personality. They know how the person interacts with other people. This factor is critical as having a peaceful, conflict-free set is important! Therefore, work on building your network. Remember, most people start with a small network. That’s ok! To make your connections:

  • Build your presence on social media, including YouTube.
  • Follow key industry professionals and engage with them as appropriate. However, don’t just hit like’ on posts—comment and ask questions. Just don’t ask for a job!
  • Go to film festivals or industry events.
  • Attend workshops.

Go where the industry professionals are both in-person and online. Be sociable and engage with them. But remember, you’re building connections, not asking for work.

2. Gain Relevant Experience

At the start of your career, you may not have a lot of experience. That’s ok. To be successful, you will need to seek opportunities to help you build your skills and your portfolio. This process doesn’t require you to have paid work, so think creatively. Your goal is to show what you know and what you can do. Here are some tips for gaining experience:

  • List any student film credits you’ve completed on your portfolio.
  • Volunteer to help others with their student film projects.
  • Look for volunteer opportunities in your community.
  • Attend relevant workshops and include them in the education section of your portfolio.
  • Showcase your skills through social media, such as running a YouTube channel or a blog.
  • Having your portfolio online can also be helpful.

3. Apply for Entry-Level Work

Everyone has to start somewhere. Look for entry-level positions like being an assistant. While your role may be basic (for example, grabbing coffee for people), pay attention to everything around you. This role provides you with the opportunity to learn by watching how your boss handles problems and interacts with other people on set, and how the different positions on a set work together. Also, be sure to be professional at all times. Give your job 100 percent of your attention and effort. You want others to know that they can rely on you to get the job done, no matter how minor it may seem. You’ll be remembered as a dedicated, hard-worker that people liked working with. Ultimately, this role will help you build your network and get you one step closer to the job you want.

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