Skills in Film

Jobs in Film

The film industry is huge, with job roles to reflect all personality types. While the traditional on-set roles like Camera Operator or Director are what the industry is most associated with, there are a slew of roles based in production offices or editing houses, such as Distributor or Editor, meaning that even if you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to go on location, there are still jobs in the film industry for you.

Even if you’re looking at on-set roles, there’s still a lot more to consider than the norm. There are plenty of niche markets within film that may be quicker to work up to and offer great creative opportunities, such as fashion filmography or commercials.

Getting Into Film

When preparing to enter a career in the Film industry, it’s vital to get an idea for which specific part of it you want to enter. There’s a lot of individual roles, but knowing if you want to work with sound or post production, for example, will help you nurture the correct skills in working towards your goal.

The industry is also very competitive, so even when you’ve found the niche you want to work in you’ll find a lot of competitors for positions. Being able to stand out from the rest is key, and although holding a degree isn’t necessary when applying for jobs, having one will certainly boost your chances. Degrees in film production, sound design or post production would offer you the most, depending on which discipline you want to pursue. Choosing a location is important as well – While the major studios are in and around London, there are emerging markets in Scotland and South East England.

A major decision for any creative is whether to take their work freelance or not. Freelancing typically pays more and allows more freedom with your time, but doesn’t offer the stability that traditional employment offers. There’s also other work place perks, such as pension plans, that freelancers will miss. However, many creatives find it a more desirable way to work.

For most creative industries, going freelance is a choice. And if you want to go into post-production, that still may be true (though not necessarily), but the majority of the Film workforce will be freelance.

If you’re interested in reading more about going freelance, consult our Freelance Toolkit.

A recruiter might read hundreds of applications, so when applying you’ll need to make sure your CV is as close to perfect as possible. We have a great guide for writing a CV, but for film you’ll find that a CV takes a different form than the traditional format. Rather than listing employment or educational history, you’ll instead want to provide a list of credits that detail the previous productions you’ve worked on.

If you have some quality credits on known productions or music videos, then you could possibly base your entire CV around your production credits, listing the name, company and directors involved.

The credits should be the central point of your CV, though if you’re new to the industry you may want to elaborate more on your roles and education. If you are applying for a post production based role, it’s also wise to include the software suites you are familiar with.

The most important thing when looking for work in the film industry is a showreel. This is typically a creative way of showing off you’re your talents and skills by using previous works. Even if you have limited experience in filmmaking, you can show what sort of skills you can bring to the table with a well-constructed portfolio. It’s a chance to showcase the best of your pre-existing work, making sure to label clearly what you did for each piece that you include.

One of the best ways to build up experience on film-sets is through a Trainee scheme. Have a look at Trainee Finder on Hiive to see what kind of placements are available.

Working in Film

Film crew will need to know the proper etiquette for working on-set. If you role has a direct superior, then all queries and problems should be reported to them rather than anyone further up the chain of command. For example, a Clapper Loader should never go to the Director of Photography with a question, as the Camera Assistant is their direct superior. It’s also expected that everyone remains polite and courteous, even during highly stressful situations.

The film industry is one of the quickest evolving sectors, especially when it comes to technology. Keeping up to date with the new, cutting-edge hardware and software will help to keep you employable. Staying in the know can be easily achieved by attending industry workshops and seminars, and following blogs or websites.

No matter what industry you’re working in, it’s always wise to know where to seek legal counsel and aid if required. The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union represents most sectors in the film industry.


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