Finding a job in the film industry is not an easy task. They’re not usually advertised, and most filmmakers rely on word of mouth and prior engagements with crew members to fill in crew positions. Most crew positions are filled before production even starts.
So how do I start?
Most people learn how to get into the film industry by asking filmmaking buddies. It’s definitely a “who you know”, especially at first. Maybe you have a friend that is a makeup artist on sets, or you have a cousin’s boyfriend who does PA work. Ask them if they know of any productions looking for PAs. Even when a job is posted in the classifieds, they usually already have someone in mind before they even make the ad. It can be frustrating to a newbie filmmaker that wants to get their foot in the door, but it also helps ensure that the quality of work is high. Like the Mafia, when someone initially introduces another into the fold, they are assumed to vouch for them. Working in film is one of the most demanding industries there is, and producers don’t have time for someone to wash out midway through production.
“I don’t wanna see ya resume, kid.”
Unlike acting, there usually isn’t really an “audition process”. There are sometimes interviews, but usually, it’s more of a formality. They know you’re just starting out. They don’t want to see the resume that just has your High School Set Design credit. The 2nd AD DOES NOT CARE. What they do want to know is if you will show up on time if you know the lingo and if at the end of the day you can do your job.
Be prepared for crappy pay at first.
By crappy pay, we mean probably no pay. You’re trying to LEARN how to get into the film industry. Think of it as an internship. Chances are if it’s your first set, it will be a low-budget production, not a multi-million dollar Marvel set. Yes, You are probably going to be the coffee gopher for a while. The pay should be looked at accordingly. Like internships though, the chances of moving up get better the more you apply yourself and as you get more experience.
Learn The Lingo.
The film industry has some of the wackiest, weird, and absurd terms for their tools of the trade. Know what a C47 is? Take a guess. It’s not some super expensive piece of camera equipment. It’s not a code word for moving the set around. It’s a clothespin. A CLOTHESPIN. What about a Martini Shot? It 100% isn’t a small serving of a cocktail. It’s the last camera set up of the day. Who even makes this stuff up?
Your higher-ups are going to expect you to know what they are though.That’s where GET REELISMS comes in. GET REELISMS is a field guide for anyone wanting to learn how to become a film professional. It includes over 100 film set terms and lingo needed to know before you set foot on a film set. You could scour the vastness of the interwebs to try and not look like a total noob on set, or you could just get the book. You should get the book. Noob.Use code LINGO at checkout to get $5 off your book purchase!
PEOPLE LOVE US
This is a great book for anybody. Sometimes it can be really hard to talk to my friends and family who aren't in the industry about what I do since we use so much jargon, but I can throw Get Reelisms at them and in an afternoon they've got the lingo down. I would get this for anybody interested in either going into film or being able to talk about film like they are in it already.
Calvin Carlsen, Script Supervisor
This book is a powerful and entertaining tool that teaches aspiring filmmakers the vocabulary and etiquette of their desired field. My students enjoy the book, and our class culture is benefiting greatly from its inclusion in our library.
Dr. Jay Schaertl, Teacher
This book is the real deal and a must for everyone in the film/tv business.
Bruce Nahin, Hollywood Producer
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