While you may be leaving the collective safety of your course mates, this is replicable through the plentiful communities that exist online. The options available for matching your CV, portfolio and skills to open positions has never been greater. Whether it’s an unpaid stint working with students, or long-term paid role on a television series (and everything in-between and beyond) the opportunities are out there, you just need to know where to look.
Here are a few tips to help you find Film & TV Jobs after graduation.
Get a top notch CV
They say your CV has about fifteen seconds to impress the recipient before they reach for the next one in the preverbal pile. While you might be tempted to jazz up your Film & TV CV to make it stand out, unless you are applying for a job in the art department, a standard format CV will be sufficient. Instead, concentrate on tailoring your CV to the role you are applying for, and highlighting your relevant skills and experience.
Sending out a generic one size fits all CV for every job won’t do you any favours in the long run. The building blocks of your film CV can remain the same, but you need to tweak your CV and cover letter to suit the job and make sure the skills they are looking for are prominently featured. Naturally, don’t over exaggerate your skill set, for example, if you’re applying for a Film/TV runner or production assistant role that needs to be able to drive, this will usually require you to have your own car. If you have a license but no vehicle, be honest about this.
You should keep your film CV up-to- date, and available as you never know who you might meet, or the opportunities that may present themselves. A great tip is to keep a copy of your most recent CV attached to a draft email, that way if you come across someone who wants to see it at a networking event, you can immediately email it to them. Being prepared and organised will serve you well, especially when applying for runner and production assistant jobs, as this is one of the main qualities a producer will look for in an applicant.
It doesn’t matter if the job is an unpaid student project or a big budget Film Production, you should treat the application process the same. For a basic guide on applying for Film & TV Jobs and creating your first CV, check out this article from TV Watercooler.
Get yourself a network
Film & TV Production is a team sport, so it is essential that you have connections to a larger network of crew, especially those that specialise in areas with which you have less experience. Helping other crew members out with their projects can be a great way of quickly gaining quality showreel material, but there are some things to remember;
- Check with the producer or director that you will be able to use this footage in your showreel, and that it can be shown publicly.
- Keep a note of all the people you help out, add them on Facebook and LinkedIn, and when you are ready to run your own set, bring those people on board.
- Don’t get taken advantage of – it is very easy to keep doing free film work for other more experienced people, but at some point you will need to charge for your services.
Stage32 is a great networking site for filmmakers and is a sort of Facebook for the Film & TV industry. You can also find great Facebook and LinkedIn groups for crew to discuss and share projects.
Join some members groups
You can also use social media as a means of finding work, getting advice and furthering your career. Searching on Facebook for Film & TV Jobs in your area will yield surprising results. Membership numbers and general activity levels will vary, but the informal atmosphere can be more welcoming. Often, closed-groups will be a more select crowd, which may vet you before allowing entry, but activity therein is likely to be more focused and potentially more lucrative.
The key to all online groups is that how much you get from membership is directly related to the enthusiasm and effort you put into them. Honesty about previous and openness to new experiences will always be appreciated. Here’s a selection of Film & TV Job groups on Facebook that are regularly updated and have an engaged user community.
Get out there
We have already discussed a digital form of networking, but sometimes you can’t beat meeting people face to face. There are many networking events for filmmakers, but most are not particularly well advertised. Some of these events will be a straightforward networking event, with a hundred people exchanging business cards, others will feel a little more tailored and include film screenings. Decide on an event that works for you and regularly attend with plenty of business cards (and your CV ready to send). Remember – everyone at a networking event has an agenda, as do you, but by attending frequently you can become a known face amongst that crowd and people will take the time to get to know you.
Filmfreeway.com is ultimately for filmmakers to easily submit their work to a range of festivals, but it can also be used to find good networking opportunities. Search for the film festivals that are happening in your area and get yourself a ticket. Not only will there be great networking opportunities with full (festival selected) filmmaking teams, but you will also be able to see what the judges are looking for, and keep up to date with the most up and coming talent in your area.
Applying for Film & TV Jobs
Now that your CV is ready and you have started your network, you can apply for some jobs. There are many Film & TV Job sites where you can upload your CV to a database, and actively apply for positions posted across various, often production-type- specific boards.
Signing-up for the main Film & TV Job sites is free at first, but they will cost you money to fully exploit the services on offer. There are trial periods, after which you can decide if you want to stay on with limitations, or you can choose from a variety of memberships with varying levels of access and early opportunities. Here are a few of our favourite free and paid jobs boards.
Finding Film & TV Jobs after graduation can be a challenge; not everyone in your graduating class will go on to find industry jobs. Some of you will land the first job you apply for, while for others it will take longer. Some of you might even find yourselves starting your own production company and finding your own way.
The important thing is to not give up. Every ‘failure’ can teach you something that you can improve on with your next try. There are many new and exciting changes happening in the industry; it’s down to you to utilise them.