How to Get Into The Film Industry While Working A Day Job

You’re not alone if you’re trying to get into the film industry. When I started, I didn’t know anyone. Since then, I have raised over 25 million dollars to produce multiple feature films. And it is my goal to share what I see so you can learn filmmaking, avoid common pitfalls, and level up your career.

Getting into the film industry means different things for different people. Some people want to write, direct, or edit. You have to have a very clear vision of what you want. And it would be best if you were willing to ask for it. More importantly, you need to know WHY you want to work in the film industry. There are easier ways to make a living.

How To Get into The Film Industry While Working A Day Job
How To Get into The Film Industry While Working A Day Job

Attend Film Markets

If you’re committed to doing what it takes to get into the film industry, then it’s essential to know that relationships are everything. Film industry success is not created in a vacuum. Your success is made with the help of friends, associates, mentors, and movie industry professionals.

When I was new to the industry, I thought attending networking events was the way to meet movie industry professionals. But I was wrong. The people you NEED to meet (to become a filmmaking success) do not usually attend new filmmaker networking events. But they do attend film markets.

A film market is an industry tradeshow where people meet to buy and sell movies. The film markets are AFM (The American Film Market), EFM (The European Film Market: Berlinale), and Cannes (The Marche Du Film). When you attend the markets, be friendly. Have a story to tell. And talk to everybody. Doing this will increase the odds of meeting people who can help you learn filmmaking and level up your career.

Make A Movie

Attending a film market is much better if you have a feature film to sell. Of course, if you had a fully finished feature film ready to sell, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. So let’s focus on the next best thing. Do you have a short film? If not, make a plan to make a short film this weekend. It could be a good story that you produce on your phone.

When you finish your short film, you can send it to film festivals. When you get to film festivals, you meet people. More importantly, seeing your movie on the big screen will motivate you to keep pushing forward. You will attend more film festivals. And you will keep going.

You will eventually level up into more significant projects. Maybe you will write or option a screenplay. You will find actors and crew who want to work with you. Then you will find the money to pay these people. Once you’re ready, you will go into production and go the distance to get your movie made, seen, and sold.

Balancing Life and Your Film Career

Manage Your Time

One of the best ways to get into the film industry is to keep your day job. Your job will give you survival money while you hone your craft. The obvious challenge with this is your time. Every wasted minute counts. So to succeed, you will need to learn how to maximize your time.

The topic of time management comes up a lot in our filmmaker membership. A while back, one of our members told us how her day job distracts her from getting into the film industry. To help her and the other members get better at time management, I came up with the following challenge:

  1. Make a list of all things filmmaking that you need to accomplish
  2. Break the list into micro-tasks. Need to finish your screenplay? Break it into “write one page per day.”
  3. Carve out at least 30 minutes a day to knock out at least on micro-task

Following this formula can make you a filmmaking success in 30 minutes daily. Doing this will give you 210 minutes per week. That’s 3.5 hours a week, or 182 hours a year that you can focus on getting into the film industry. That’s roughly four work weeks! What can you do with four weeks of solid work? Probably a lot.

The best time to accomplish your filmmaking goals is early in the morning. Each night before bed, prep your work area and plan your goals. Then get up at least one hour earlier and get to work. And if you’re still wondering how to get into the film industry, you don’t need permission. It would be best if you took action. If you enjoyed these tips, you’d love this online filmmaking course.

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Tom Malloy is a film producer, actor, and writer. Over the course of his career, he has raised over twenty-five million dollars to produce, and distribute multiple feature films. If you're ready to "level up" your film producing, make sure to check out Movie Plan Pro. The video training and downloadable film business plan template will provide you with the same tools Malloy uses when approaching prospective film investors.