Working in the film industry is an exciting career. It is filled with fun, hard work, creativity and endless possibilities. Unlike all my friends, when I started out, I decided to skip college and look for a job in the industry. I signed up for a 12 month media course and after 3 months got my first job as a freelance animator.

Fast forward 30 years and I have worked in most areas of TV and directed on movie sets. I now run a global video marketing company called Girl Director with my partner Michael, where we teach business owners and entrepreneurs the secrets of video marketing.

If you have a burning desire to work in the film industry, there are many doors open for you that will take you there. The first step is to never believe anyone when they say it’s too hard to get into the industry. If you want something, go for what you want and don’t let anyone stop your dream.

Below are a few ideas for getting into the film industry; my advice is to pick one that suits you and go for it!

film school

Film school is the path most people think of when they get their foot in the door in the industry. It’s fun and creative. And it allows you to find what’s lighting you up.

Pros – You build friendships and find fellow crew members that will last a lifetime. You learn history, new techniques and immerse yourself in everything that has to do with film and video. You will meet people who will help you on your path, and you can try a lot of different roles to see where you fit in.

cons It can be expensive, competitive and sometimes limited in what you learn. The equipment may be older and does not represent an actual movie set. This of course depends on where you are going and what is available in your area.

Start making movies now

You now have one of the best little devices for making movies in your pocket: your phone! If you want to work in the industry. Find a topic, make a movie and enter film festivals. Learn what it takes, how to plan, and how to shoot and edit photos. Being a good filmmaker takes practice, the sooner you can start making movies the better.

Pros – You can create anything from a music video to an advertisement to a short film. More and more projects are completed by telephone. You can use your talent and movies to market yourself, find work and show people how passionate you are. We are always looking for people with a great attitude and initiative when hiring staff and crew. You learn more and more with every film you make.

cons – It can be time consuming if you don’t know what you are doing; find people who can help you on your path.

Join a network group

Being a filmmaker is one thing, promoting yourself and networking is another: the best business know-how to build relationships. Join a meetup group or movie club to find like-minded people. I remember joining one of them, and it was so valuable in finding work and connections.

Pros – Learn how to network even when you’re scared. Communicating and sharing with people you are passionate about is a skill many people don’t want to focus on. If you’re going to do what most people don’t do to get ahead. Get out there and find like-minded people.

cons – It can be awkward at first, meaning you have to step outside of your comfort zone. All your growth will come from stepping outside your comfort zone. All you need is 20 seconds of courage.

Get on a set as soon as possible

When I wanted to get into the industry, my goal was to get a job as quickly as possible so that I could learn and get paid on the job. I wanted to skip the traditional ways, and I did. The great thing about getting a job on set is that you learn quickly.

Pros – You are paid to learn; you start with hands-on experience that can be difficult in a school setting.

cons – You can miss some of the history and basics. You may also be categorized into one career if you have no vision or desire to continue where you started.

work on TV

Getting a job in television is also a great way to earn an income while making short films on the side. It can fund your projects and give you a foundation for learning. It doesn’t matter what camera you pick up, what gear you work with, the principles are the same.

Pros – You can learn many roles that can transfer to film. It may be easier to get a foot in the door and get to the other side.

cons – Going from TV to a movie can be difficult. Create your path. There is no right or wrong.

Be an extra on a set

Since you often have to wait for hours before your scene is filmed, this is the perfect opportunity to watch and learn from the crew. You get to see a live version from behind the scenes! There is always a great story behind every video and film.

Pros – You are paid to learn; you meet like-minded people and are in the industry. You go on big sets and experience what it’s like. Look and think about how you would do things differently.

cons – There can be quite a few hours waiting for the set. If you are not interested in the topic or interact with people. Use the time to study and read. Use your time wisely.

It’s time to get out there and go for it. Believe in yourself. Ask lots of questions, surround yourself with people who know more, and before you know it you’ll be well on your way. The best thing to do is get started, it’s exciting to work in the industry!

This guest post was written by Rachel Dunn

Rachel is the co-founder of Girls Director and has spent the past 30 years behind TV screens mastering all facets of production as a producer and director. She has developed several projects, has been nominated for 2 music video awards and is working on her documentary “Through Elephant Eyes”. A highly talented director and designer, she brings a unique style to all the videos she has created, attracting millions of viewers online.

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