Mostly putting this here for my own reference/recall - because I’m sure I’ll use it again.
I get asked from time to time about how I got a job in entertainment. It’s a mythical, closed, intimidating industry. So I’m always happy to offer up my very minuscule wisdom on the subject.
I just sent off this email to the niece of a friend who just started college and is majoring in film/media studies. It’s some general advice about how to start establishing a network in film production that will hopefully pay off with a full-time gig after graduation. While I’m advising on how to get a job in production, you can apply the same strategy to basically any aspect of this industry: PR, agents, managers, studio execs, development, production. They’re all pretty similar in the way the jobs are doled out.
It’s not different than the advice you’ll read on this topic anywhere else, but I figured I’d post it anyway in case anyone wants to hear it in my oh-so-charming voice.
The email is after the jump! Hooray for Hollywood!
I didn’t decide to move to LA until pretty late in my senior year. I had almost zero relationships in LA, and to be honest, I think I got super lucky to even get my first job. As soon as I got to town, I signed up with a temp agency that services entertainment companies, and I got a short gig at [redacted] - one of the biggest talent and literary agencies. There I met a guy who very kindly passed my resume along to the HR head at a talent management/production company. They didn’t have a job right away, so I took a permanent gig lined up by my temp agency at a very small commercial and voice-over agency as a receptionist. 6 weeks later, the management company called to offer me an assistant job that had opened up, so I moved over there. And that’s how I landed at my first “real” job in LA.
- Get involved with your on-campus student film community. Not only will you learn the vital ins-and-outs about all aspects of production and storytelling, but establishing this network with your peers can be really crucial when you’re looking for internships. Someone you know might hear of a company or production looking for a one-day PA - and if they’re not available, they might offer the gig to you.
- You’re really lucky to be in Georgia right now! When I was coming up, NOTHING was being shot there. Now, thanks to the tax incentives, tons of movies, scripted tv, reality tv, and commercials are being filmed in state. Again, the people who get internships or production assistant (PA) jobs on those things are getting them because they’re establishing relationships with the decision makers on those projects.
- So how do you get to know those decision makers? Intern. Start researching shows that are being shot in and around Atlanta. (Off the top of my head, I know that HALT AND CATCH FIRE, WALKING DEAD, and PROPERTY BROTHERS have been shooting there in the last year… that’s just the tip of the iceberg.) Look up show credits and figure out what production companies are behind them. Make contact with them - send your resume and offer to intern. Express your enthusiasm for learning from the ground-up. And when you get a job, treat your internship with the same respect that you’d give a paying job. Show up on time, do what you’re asked to do - no matter how thankless, and always be positive/friendly.
- The film world is very much a ladder. With no experience, you’ll have a much better shot if you start with smaller companies or shows (ie: reality/lifestyle tv). After you have a little experience, it will be easier to get your foot in the door with bigger scripted shows or films.
- Make use of your campus career services. It’s very likely that productions are reaching out to them to staff up lower level jobs/internships. Make sure they know about you and that you’re looking to get some experience.
When you’re digging through your trash trying to find the Piperlime promo code you threw away yesterday because you decided it was time to stop shopping, it is probably time to stop shopping… again.
But I reeeeeeeeeeally want this jacket.
Update: wasn’t in the trash. Was right there on my desk.
Update 2: The birthday month promo code I was going to combine it with is for Banana Republic only. All that effort was for nought! This is rock bottom. Step away from the computer, Katie.
Who parks herself in front of the milk/sugar station at Starbucks for 5 mins as she types an email during the height of morning rush.
Just don’t, okay?
Currently traveling everywhere with a rolling pin in tow. It’s a little awkward to explain to, say, your coworkers when they see it sticking out of your purse.
I’ve reached the point of half marathon training where I want my muscles kneaded 24/7. I’ve also reached the point where I spend the first 15 minutes of every run cursing myself for committing to this dumb idea.
I’m over running 5x a week.
I’m over all of my Songza playlists.
I’m over 6:15 wake up calls.
I’m over aching feet.
I’m over the dread I’m feeling about how hilly the race course is. (I’ve REALLY gotta go run some hills to prep. Ugh.)
I still like eating pretty much anything I want. That part doesn’t suck.
This whiney post is all to say: it will all be worth it, right?
6 weeks to go.