Over the last 26 years, I have been asked countless times “How do I get started working in film and TV?” The answer is simple. First contact your state or city film commission. Every state has a film and TV office. Next, you must change what you currently believe is necessary to work in this incredibly fun, ever-changing, and global career path.
Film Producers and department heads want the best people they can find. Nearly every crew person has started at the bottom usually as a PA production assistant. Landing your first job on a production requires you to think like a new business owner. You need a can-do attitude, strong work ethic, you need to network and market your abilities. Above all keep a first-rate reputation.
Resume, Cover Letter, And Thank You Note
You do not need to be a super talent to work in the film business. The fact is 90 percent of all jobs on a film set are not actors or the above the line personal. Fact two. We all have skills. Therefore, your resume must reflect your current strengths and transferable skills. Know your audience. Film sets require many skilled and creative, problem solvers.
Research your future producer and create a cover letter that expresses your desire and passion while letting the reader know how you will help them. Your cover letter will end with a call to action. Ask for an interview. Ask who you need talk to for a department you find interesting such as a set PA, camera to the Art Department hair and Makeup.
Lastly, send a handwritten thank you note to the producer for his or her time. This will remind the producer who you are. Remember you are a business owner. The cover letter and Thank You note each enhance your resume helping you get ahead of the competition.
When you land you first film or TV job, you will make mistakes. Mistakes can cost a film producer millions of dollars. Mistakes have cost live with one mistake look it 1994 the Crow. Another important fact is everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn. When you do mess up, own it.
Get yelled at and learn from it and move on. Even the most seasoned film professionals make mistakes. Do not let your errors distort your work ethic. Your attitude and willingness to do what it takes from long hour, to brainstorming is vital to working this complex business.
You can read more in Christopher S. Mahan’s book: TAKE ONE! No Film School Required. How to work in the Film and TV Industry without a film Degree. Christoper’s passion is empowering individuals to achieve their full potential and success.