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Want to get into the film industry. Any advice?

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Hello Everyone. I hope that everyone and their families are safe and healthy right now.

My name is Luke, I’ve been an originaltrilogy.com member for a few years now. Fanedits/fanediting/preservation have inspired me since I was 14, and doing my own edits/making shorts with my friends have really gotten me thinking about going to film school. Today I applied to Brooklyn College and a few other film production programs around the NY. I am happy with getting an ordinary job in the industry, I also really want a job right out of school. I know there are a lot of people on this site who are actually working in the industry, so I was wondering what type of advice you guys have.

I’m really interested in pretty much every aspect of film making. I like editing but I think my main interests are in hands on production stuff. I would love to be a gaffer, DP, audio engineer ect. But I’m extremely open to any job/career path. I know that most of the advice that will come from you guys will be things regarding ediitng, VFX, Color Correcting, and sound. I would love to hear what you guys have to say. IT WOULD BE GREAT TO HEAR FROM ANYONE REALLY. It’s a really weird time for everyone now, but if anybody is like me and who has a lot of free time I’d love to just talk.

This site has always been a great escape for me, and over the years I’ve realized how many extraordinary people are actually on here. Even though I don’t post much , I love this site, and now would be a good time to connect a littLe more with everyone. Anyways thanks. MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU…

-Luke

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 (Edited)

For the hands-on stuff you describe, it’s really just about making good impressions, being around others in the industry. Networking, basically. Film school and PA training is mostly useful for putting you in that environment. So as long as you make friends (that you keep in touch with) and keep a strong work ethic, it shouldn’t be too hard to get below-the-line experience and become employable (union) in that sense. You don’t even have to finish college if that’s all you’re aiming for. Depending on where you live, there will be FB groups, festivals, or other general meet-ups where you can socialize with the people that can get you in.

You’ll probably start as a PA, but then it’s up to you to get in good with a department you want to work in - sets, wardrobe, electric, grip, etc. College can give you more specific internship opportunities at studios, a lot of which can range from office stuff to equipment management.

That being said, it’s definitely a hustle, and the ideal “getting a job out of school” thing won’t mean the same thing as it does in other industries. Film/TV is seasonal work, and you’ll have to be looking for the next gig and the next and the next* until you’ve established yourself within the local industry and built relationships that will get you called, maybe to even those more important, higher up jobs. Upward mobility isn’t really a thing without relationships with the right people.

Pre/post-production work and other above-the-line stuff is less easy to get, and a lot of luck. But it’s a little more traditional. I think there’s more initiative to do things yourself here - write scripts, direct your own shorts, compile a portfolio, etc. And then submitting those to agents, post-houses, festivals, studios, production companies, etc. College learning is more useful here; that’s where you’ll learn technical craft and industry standard practices - but even that can be learned at home. The degree/certification itself won’t be more important than what you can show, but if the program is good or you did work hard throughout, you should come out with a portfolio. Just remember, that’s still not a guarantee of employment.

*(depending on your path, working at a studio has a little more permanence than crew-work but it’s not necessarily production work)

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Just echoing NFBisms here, find who you jell with, make friends, help each other, stay friends. Also remember it’s a marathon not a sprint.

“The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” - DV

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NFBisms said:

For the hands-on stuff you describe, it’s really just about making good impressions, being around others in the industry. Networking, basically. Film school and PA training is mostly useful for putting you in that environment. So as long as you make friends (that you keep in touch with) and keep a strong work ethic, it shouldn’t be too hard to get below-the-line experience and become employable (union) in that sense. You don’t even have to finish college if that’s all you’re aiming for. Depending on where you live, there will be FB groups, festivals, or other general meet-ups where you can socialize with the people that can get you in.

You’ll probably start as a PA, but then it’s up to you to get in good with a department you want to work in - sets, wardrobe, electric, grip, etc. College can give you more specific internship opportunities at studios, a lot of which can range from office stuff to equipment management.

That being said, it’s definitely a hustle, and the ideal “getting a job out of school” thing won’t mean the same thing as it does in other industries. Film/TV is seasonal work, and you’ll have to be looking for the next gig and the next and the next* until you’ve established yourself within the local industry and built relationships that will get you called, maybe to even those more important, higher up jobs. Upward mobility isn’t really a thing without relationships with the right people.

Pre/post-production work and other above-the-line stuff is less easy to get, and a lot of luck. But it’s a little more traditional. I think there’s more initiative to do things yourself here - write scripts, direct your own shorts, compile a portfolio, etc. And then submitting those to agents, post-houses, festivals, studios, production companies, etc. College learning is more useful here; that’s where you’ll learn technical craft and industry standard practices - but even that can be learned at home. The degree/certification itself won’t be more important than what you can show, but if the program is good or you did work hard throughout, you should come out with a portfolio. Just remember, that’s still not a guarantee of employment.

*(depending on your path, working at a studio has a little more permanence than crew-work but it’s not necessarily production work)

Wow this was amazing thank you both for taking the time to give me really solid responses. I know I can always count on OT.com users. As far as the “getting a job right after school” thing, it’s really not that important to me. I’ve just been feeling anxious lately now that I’ve had so much down time. All of your advice is really great and I think you are spot on in terms of finding good connections/portfolio/work ethic ect. Taking a leap of faith here, I’ll keep in touch. Thanks.
-Luke

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 (Edited)

Dig around a little and see if Brooklyn College (where you hope to attend, yes?) offers placement programs.
I have a relative who attended Syracuse, and the school helped with internships, career counseling, meet and greets.
Those initial contacts were invaluable, and my relative has been working in Hollywood steadily for several years now.
A friend’s child went to Emerson (Boston) and they also boasted a strong placement record.
Tuition costs are tremendous. A diploma alone is not enough, you want post graduate assistance.