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How did you get where you are now?

What were your first steps into working in film?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Devin’s Answer

There are many paths to getting into film – virtually everyone I've worked with in the film business over the last 3 1/2 decades has had their own unique story of how they made their way in.

For me, my childhood interest in making things led me to work on films and TV commercials as a special props fabricator. I enjoyed creating unique things that weren't available to just go out and buy.

After years of crafting special props and observing film production, I became interested in cinematography and editing. I found a super 8 movie camera in a thrift store and starting making my own short films. Gradually, I upgraded to a 16mm movie camera and eventually transitioned to digital cameras when they came along.

When I first started learning cinematography, I couldn't afford film school. Instead, I went to my local university bookstore and looked at the list of books that professors were requiring for their film courses. I bought these text books, brought them home and read them (they're still in my bookcase). While working on set, I used quiet moments to ask questions from the Director of Photography (DP) and the 1st Assistant Camera (1st AC).

Remember, everyone has unique skills. The key is to identify and hone these skills to make yourself stand out and valuable. If you're unsure about your skills, start as a Production Assistant (PA) on a film set. It's the best way to learn the filmmaking process and discover what you're passionate about.

Wishing you great success!
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Sherie’s Answer

In speaking with actors, I was told the first step is to find a really good class that teaches you about film making and acting.
Try to get internships with major networks if you can
Try to also get involved in independent films or films that are being created while attending school.

Good luck to you.
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Ted’s Answer

I started out as a Production Assistant. My career goal post film school was to become a director. But I had no idea how you get that job other than just director something. Working on sets, I got to see how a film was actually made. There’s stuff film schools can never teach, especially since the film and television industry is ever evolving. Eventually I fell into Assistant Directing. Because of my interest in directing, I already had a healthy appetite for everything that goes into making a film, and I discovered that’s the perfect passion for ADing. BUT… My AD experience was always a learning experience towards the goal of directing. Every film project there was something new to learn. During the many years working as a 1st AD, I was always writing screenplays. Terrible ones at first! Then I got a little better. And eventually entered a few contests that confirmed my belief that I was on the right track. Next, I used every AD gig as a networking experience. If I got friendly w the producers, I’d let them know my career goals. Eventually, a few would ask to read my work and then one day one of these producers optioned one of my scripts! But that wasn’t the IN… there was still years of ADing and hustling until I was given the opportunity to direct a Lifetime movie. And from there the hustle continued (!) as I wanted to direct thrillers. Presently, after over twenty years in the “biz”, I’m in post production on my 5th feature film as writer/director.
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