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where should i start to get into the film industry?

please help

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Subject: Career question for you

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Gregory’s Answer

That's a brilliant query, and the responses from Dillon and Temitayo are robust, leaving me with minimal additions. The movie industry is predominantly occupied by "intelligent" individuals. Besides learning about the filmmaking process, it's beneficial to have a basic understanding of diverse fields such as politics, poetry, philosophy, photography, painting, and more. The alliteration was unintentional, but it happened! Hence, a comprehensive education, whether acquired from college or extensive reading on various topics, is advantageous.
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Larry’s Answer

Hey G! Well the first question I have for you is what is it you want to do? The "Film Industry" is comprised of literally hundreds of positions. Do you want to produce? Direct? Shoot? Edit? Grip? AC? Accounting? AD? You see what I'm getting at? And most if not all positions (and I know I'm going to hear from others about this) require any "formal" education. Can it help? Sure. But not like what learning on-set will teach you and you can take that $50k/year on film school and use it to live in NYC or L.A. while you hustle for work. I suggest you consider what role you'd like to check out first, knowing you can always change your mind. Start by finding a production company, rental house or even a studio to work at or directors or student films etc. to work on. And be willing to work for free! At least at first. NY is good. L.A. is better for no other reason than there are far more opportunities.
Hope this helps even just a little.
Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Well said Larry. In NY, Camera Mart and the Panavision rental houses were good training grounds. Gregory Andracke
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Dillon’s Answer

Well, now more than ever there is so many ways of getting into the industry but the important thing to know is that it is going to take time and not to rush the process. These are important first steps for beginners in the industry.
First step: Make a film. Even if it is a minute-long short with your Iphone, you will be a better filmmaker after making it. (And if you enjoyed doing this, keep doing it to perfect your craft and maybe submit your film to film festivals)
Second step: Get into gigs using popular websites and apps. Websites like Backstage are great because they put out casting calls all over the world and it doesn't cost any money for crew. You can build a profile and be alerted for positions you want to apply for. Apps like Facebook and Instagram are also great for building your brand as a filmmaker and putting your name out there for others to hire you.
Third step: Film Festivals. This applies more to the directors, writers, cinematographers, and producers of the Industry but Film Festivals are the true key to success in the film industry. It is how you meet people, show your work, and get future gigs. Submit your films to FilmFreeway to apply for film festivals (applying for film festivals near you is the best shot of networking) and if you get into one, make sure to attend it so others can see the filmmaker who made it. Network and talk to others, there has been too many moments in my career where I got gigs because I met people at these events.

Main thing, don't rush it. There is good progress and then there is beating yourself up because you are not directing a feature film when you are 20. The small moves build your career and your portfolio so do not underestimate any gig because if you make the most out of it, it can change your career for the better.
Thank you comment icon Great advice, I will use your suggestions, thank you! Luke
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Garrett John’s Answer

Write. It all starts with a script. Write a script, it can be a 5 minute short film. If it is, all the better because then you can film it yourself. Bear this in mind whilst you write, 'I will need to film this,' so no cast of thousands, no explosions or people on fire. Write about what you know, set it in the streets, or the student dorm, or in the house that you live in, write about what it is to be a human being of your age in your neck of the woods. Make it as deeply personal as you can. Film it on anything you have access to, if you can't get hold of a camera film it on a mobile phone. Get yourself some cheap or free software to edit it (Capcut or similar). Edit it, add music, titles. Hey presto. You are a filmmaker. If you are happy with the result (or even if not), post it on youtube. Get some feedback, but don't let it overrule what your heart tells you (you know where the mistakes are). If your efforts turns out terrible, analyze where you went wrong. It is still progress; look how much you've learn't. Do this again and again, improving and taking more risks each time. Along the way you will have found a network of like-minded people, perhaps some will already be in the film industry. Networking is very important and your short film/s will be your launch pad. If you manage to make something wonderful you won't need to get into the film industry, the film industry will get into you. Good luck.

Garrett John recommends the following next steps:

Write
Shoot
Edit
Promote
Network
Thank you comment icon Great great advice! Luke
Thank you comment icon As a writer, my wife always says it starts with the words. Those words don't necessarily have to be dialogue but just description of scenes. Gregory Andracke
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Bryan’s Answer

There are a couple different ways you could go around doing this. I would recommend joining some of your local film work groups on Facebook, especially ones for local film festivals. As much as it sucks, if you have zero on-set experience I recommend doing some of the unpaid gigs first. There are going to be groups that just focus on making extremely low to zero budget films for film festival challenges, and most of the time these will have filmmakers with some experience working on them either for fun or to try new ideas. It’s usually pretty easy to discern between ones that are serious and the ones that aren’t. (Only do these to gain a little set experience if you don’t have any.)

Look for ones that will give you a credit and send call sheets, because you’ll want to keep a very detailed log book of each job you do and what you did. They probably won’t be good productions that you’ll want to show a lot of people but it still shows you have experience. This also gives you the opportunity to practice your networking with local filmmakers and try out different departments you’re interested in. Watch out for people trying to take advantage of you especially when you’re starting out with the unpaid gigs. once you have a little experience, you have to know your worth and stick to that. Do not get stuck just doing unpaid gigs, take any opportunity you can to start working on paid productions and get out of free stuff.

Once you have you have 3-5 gigs you should be in a decent position to start looking into paid gigs, if you’re in or close to hub city like NYC there will be plenty you just have to look. Every area has a local or regional film commission which have crew resources on their website. Start out with PA work, and do the PA work that most people don’t want to do, (it will be a lot easier to get hired on a gig if you offer to do work that most don’t want to do.)

If you can, try to work your way into being a Walkie PA. You’ll be handing out walkies to pretty much everyone on the crew across all departments and if you do your job well you’ll definitely be remembered. Walkie talkies are expensive for production to replace and people forget about having them and walk off set with them at the end of the day all the time. So if you’re extremely diligent and keep an organized log of who has what walkie and make sure to distribute them efficiently at the beginning of the day and round them all up at the end of the day you’ll be noticed and asked to come back on other shoots.

However, make sure you express your desire to move into the different departments you want to be in after you’ve shown that you’re a hard worker so you don’t get stuck in one area. You can move up from there.

Make sure you build out your network of hard working peers you can trust, that way if you get an opportunity to work on a better project than one you have scheduled you can recommend one of your friends as a replacement so you can take that better opportunity without burning any bridges. People will always tend to hire someone they trust or someone who is recommend to them by someone they trust over somebody who might have more experience. So always have a recommendation for someone if you get offered a gig you can’t do.

Just remember you’re not going to be able to start out doing the job you want. Don’t have an ego, just be friendly, work hard and be willing to do work others don’t want to. You’ll move up pretty quickly to the job you actually want to be doing.
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Steve’s Answer

This lively group sure has a ton of fantastic ideas!

I can't stress enough the importance of pursuing a formal education in film production. It gives you a chance to dip your toes in student films and experiment with various roles. The film industry is a vast sea of opportunities, and it's evolving at a breakneck speed. Particularly with the advent of AI, it's like a whirlwind that's about to flip the industry upside down.

I'd also encourage you to grab your own camera and start filming short movies. Share them on your social media platforms and see what clicks and connects with your viewers. If you manage to create an amazing short film, don't hesitate to submit it to film competitions and festivals.

Remember, it's all about who you know, so NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK till you drop.

Best of luck on your exciting journey...
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Nathan’s Answer

During my time at the University of Washington, where I studied Cinema and Media, I had the good fortune of delving into hands-on film work in my second year. It was an engaging screenwriting class taught by a genuinely kind and supportive professor. He was always ready to help and shared valuable insights on making a mark in the film industry. Here are some of his golden nuggets of advice:

1. Join a film club. Most high schools and universities host film clubs. It's likely one of the best places to gain your initial hands-on film experience.
2. Enroll in a film class. Whether it's within or outside of your school curriculum, taking a film class can be very beneficial. It could be a practical class or a theoretical one focusing on film studies.
3. Connect with local creators and fellow film students. Often, they need assistance with their film projects. By offering your help, you can gain more experience and broaden your understanding of film production.
4. Produce your own work. Be it a short film or a mini-series, if your content garners attention, it could lead to collaborations with others who may wish to contribute to your projects.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear G,

Embarking on a Career in Filmmaking

Embarking on a career in the dynamic world of film can be exhilarating, but it requires careful planning and preparation. Here's a practical roadmap to help you navigate your way into this competitive industry:

1. Acquiring Knowledge and Skills:

Film School: Think about joining a well-regarded film school or a university known for its robust film curriculum. It's a great way to acquire essential knowledge, develop your skills, and make valuable connections.
Online Learning: If traditional education isn't an option, numerous online platforms offer courses in various filmmaking disciplines such as directing, cinematography, screenwriting, and editing.

2. Gathering Practical Experience:

Internships: Apply for internships at production companies, studios, or with independent filmmakers. This first-hand experience will offer you invaluable insights into the industry.
Volunteer Opportunities: Participate in student films, independent projects, or local productions to build your portfolio and network with industry professionals.

3. Building Connections:

Industry Gatherings: Make it a point to attend film festivals, workshops, seminars, and networking events. These are great places to meet like-minded people and forge industry connections.
Join Film Associations: Consider joining industry associations like the Directors Guild of America (DGA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), or Women in Film (WIF) to broaden your network.

4. Producing Your Own Content:

Short Films: Begin by producing your own short films to demonstrate your talent and originality. This will also help you refine your skills and develop your unique filmmaking style.
Online Channels: Leverage online channels like YouTube or Vimeo to share your work with a larger audience and gain feedback from viewers.

5. Choosing a Specialization:

Pick a Track: Choose a particular field of interest within the film industry such as directing, cinematography, screenwriting, editing, or producing. Specializing can help you distinguish yourself and excel in your chosen field.
Develop Your Portfolio: Continually work on projects that showcase your strengths and expertise in your chosen specialization.

6. Maintaining Determination and Resilience:

The film industry is intensely competitive and demanding. It's crucial to remain determined, resilient, and open to learning from setbacks and rejections.

By adhering to these steps and remaining committed to your art, you can enhance your chances of making your mark in the film industry and carving out a successful career in filmmaking.

Top 3 Credible Sources Used:

Variety: Variety is a respected source of news in the entertainment industry, covering everything from film business news, reviews, analysis, interviews with industry professionals, and insights into current trends.

American Film Institute (AFI): AFI is a distinguished organization committed to promoting and preserving the art of filmmaking. They provide educational programs, resources for budding filmmakers, and insights into the industry.

The Hollywood Reporter: The Hollywood Reporter offers extensive coverage of the entertainment industry including film production news, interviews with industry heavyweights, box office reports, and analysis of industry trends.

Godspeed,
James C.
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Jennifer’s Answer

Dear G,
It's great to see your interest in pursuing a career in this field. I have outlined some tips below to help you navigate your way into the industry:

1. Join a Film Club: One of the best ways to get started in the film industry is to join a film club or organization. This will allow you to network with like-minded individuals, learn from experienced professionals, and gain hands-on experience in various aspects of filmmaking.

2. Attend Workshops: Another great way to kickstart your career in the film industry is to attend workshops and training sessions. These can provide you with valuable skills and knowledge that will help you stand out in a competitive industry.

3. Figure Out Your Interest: Before diving into the film industry, it's important to figure out what specific area you are interested in. There are several jobs within the industry, including directing, producing, cinematography, editing, sound design, and more. Take some time to explore these different roles and determine which one aligns best with your skills and interests.

4. Gain Experience: Once you have identified your area of interest, start gaining practical experience in that field. This could involve working on student films, volunteering on independent projects, or interning at a production company. The more hands-on experience you have, the better prepared you will be to enter the industry.

5. Build Your Portfolio: As you gain experience, be sure to build a strong portfolio showcasing your work. This could include a showreel, samples of your writing or directing, or a collection of your photography. A strong portfolio will help you impress potential employers and collaborators.

Overall, breaking into the film industry can be challenging, but with dedication, hard work, and a passion for storytelling, you can achieve your goals. I wish you the best of luck on your journey into the exciting world of filmmaking.
Best regards,
Jennifer
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Patrick’s Answer

Whereever you can. Can you get an internship? Take some classes? Do a summer program? Anything helps. Make your own stuff. Help other people make their stuff.
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Temitayo’s Answer

Getting into the film industry can be an exciting journey! Here are some steps you might consider to get started:

Educate Yourself: Learn about different aspects of filmmaking, including directing, writing, producing, cinematography, editing, and more. You can take courses online, attend workshops, or even enroll in film school if you have the resources.
Watch Films: Study films across various genres and time periods. Analyze what makes them work or not work and how they were made. This can help you understand different styles and techniques.
Practice: Start making your own films, even if it's just with a smartphone camera. Experiment with storytelling, camera angles, editing techniques, and more. Building a portfolio of your work will be essential.
Network: Connect with people already working in the industry. Attend film festivals, join online forums and social media groups, and participate in local filmmaking events. Networking can lead to opportunities and collaborations.
Gain Experience: Look for internships, entry-level positions, or volunteer opportunities on film sets. Even if it's just helping out with tasks like fetching coffee or running errands, you'll learn valuable insights about how productions are run.
Create a Reel or Portfolio: As you gain experience and produce more work, create a reel or portfolio showcasing your best projects. This will be crucial when applying for jobs or pitching yourself to potential collaborators.
Stay Informed: Keep up with industry news, trends, and advancements in technology. Being knowledgeable about the latest developments can give you an edge.
Persistence and Patience: Breaking into the film industry can be challenging, and success often takes time. Stay dedicated to your craft, keep learning, and don't get discouraged by setbacks.
Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all path into the film industry, and everyone's journey will be different. Stay passionate, proactive, and open to new opportunities along the way.
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