How to “Get into the Film Industry” – The Best Untold Advice
It’s a glorious, beautiful, fierce and competitive sector. From the outside, the Film Industry is often perceived as being a really glamorous environment to work in. Maybe you’re thinking, Hollywood, drinking champagne at the Oscars, the red carpet and the adoring fans….
But how do you get into that world? A world that is evolving and growing globally. (Even the Irish Film Industry– has been estimated to be worth €692 million to the economy, albeit pre-Covid)
First of all of course the ‘film industry’ is more than just the red carpet. And yes it’s true – to carve out a successful career in this industry typically takes a lot of hard-work, rejection, leveraging contacts and a bit of good luck.
But before we dive into the different ways you might get work and develop your skills in film, let’s establish what the career choices are – and what might you being doing if you are working in the film industry.
What roles exist in the film industry?
There are many. For example
- Film Director
- Film Producer
- Film Editor
- Light Technician
- Runner / Assistant
- Sound Technician
- Costume & Makeup
- Location Manager
- Post Production Manager
Often there’ll be a cross-over of work between skills and film work inevitably involves an extensive amount of collaboration – no matter what field you go into. But how to get in the door…..?
Best ways to get into the Film Industry
Network. Network. Network.
You might have heard the term – your net worth is your network. Well there’s a lot to it. The people you know and the people that they know are often missing link between you and your dream job. Developing your social skills and putting yourself in a position to meet people in industry is one of the best ways to go. (Obviously at the moment – that is tricky but we do have the internet!).
Social Media (think Facebook groups, Insta of course) and people you have worked with before or maybe your fellow students or lecturers…basically anyone with a connection into that world can be very helpful to you.
Film festivals, Screening Events might be off limits at the moment but historically these would have been important and watch out for virtual events and these key networking opportunities evolve to take into account Covid.
Of course, in order to be helped, you must help yourself and others. This brings us onto the next point –
If you want to get into the film industry for the fame and prestige alone – quit now. Otherwise you probably won’t be able to maintain your enthusiasm long-enough to make it to the ‘top’.
Being humble and adopting the mind-set of learning before earning will take you a long way. Read as much as you can, watch related youtube channels, take a course (see below) and be patient. Like any career path, when starting off – patience is important. In this early process, maybe you will have to live frugally. Maybe you won’t find work straight away in the exact area you are looking for. (You are not going to walk straight into the director’s chair!)
And it’s exactly for this reason that passion for this art is what pulls you through. Creating something for your personal fulfilment and creativity versus creating something because it will give you celebrity status are 2 very different motivations.
Of course we are not suggesting you ignore the practical side of things either! You have to pay the bills. But don’t forget about why you want to get into film. Don’t forget about the art.
“It’s not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human.
Art is not in the …eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist.”
― Seth Godin
There will always be a critic out there – learn from the feedback but if you feel inspired – sometimes you need to go with that flow!
Get started with Your Film Career
Create your own Work
In 2020, there is no shortage of options to create your own work. You don’t need permission or a career in film behind you. Likewise, you don’t have to be in sunny California either. A lot of the tools can be found on your laptop. You can create a YouTube channel, start a blog, a podcast – all ways to A) speed up your learning and B) showcase your talent and work.
Consider a showreel –
Also consider submitting your projects to film festivals. There are many free festivals out there where you can showcase your work. You never know who will come across it and take a shine to what you’ve done.
Bottom line – by creating your own work and getting it in front of an audience on a consistent basis – you are giving yourself the best chance of success in the short and long-term. Maybe you meet that right contact in 3 years time – you will have a bank of work to show them. On top of that you are fast-tracking your own learning experience.
Enough Said. Go. Create.
(Practical Tip: Screen your films to a live audience – getting real-life reactions is a great way to gauge your work and especially what can be improved when editing)
Think like an Apprentice.
A great way to get into the industry is to just to get your foot in the door. Again with the core objective of maximizing your contacts and learning experience – you don’t always have to do exactly the thing you ultimately want to do. By doing different jobs – you are getting a fuller and more holistic understanding of how the different components of the film industry come together.
If you end goal is to become a producer for example – this understanding is only going to serve you in the long run. And again through this process you’ll have a great opportunity to network and meet like-minded people.
Play the long game and taste the berries of different roles and experiences.
Choose a course in Film
For all the reasons combined above – choosing a course focusing on the film industry can be a great place to start. You will have the opportunity to network, hone your skills & craft and develop your passion into something that is tangible and real. You can learn the skills necessary to succeed before being thrown into the deep end.
Considering a course in Film?
Pulse College have 2 main courses – one full time and one part-time for those particularly interested in getting to the world of film (and tv). Both courses are extremely hands on and practical – covering a variety of areas and career possibilities in the industry. They are very much up to date using the latest industry standard tools.
Our courses are run by industry professionals who practice what they preach. You will leave with a real and tangible working knowledge of what it takes to work in in the film industry.
Many of our alumni have gone on to establish their own production companies and have produced work that has appeared at numerous international film festivals or been shortlisted for national film funding awards.
Final Words on getting into the Film Industry
It can be an exciting but difficult industry to break into. However if you have the passion and the grá for the art – then you will set yourself up for long-term success. If you have any questions about any of our Film courses, then please give us a shout.
“A Film has the potential to kindle such a spark of inspiration in an individual that it can alter the course of human progress.”
― Abhijit Naskar