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How to Get Started in a Film or Television Career


Anchor people on set in TV newsroom
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Getting Started:

One of the hardest things about starting a film or television career is getting that first job. But, it doesn't have to be that difficult, especially if you're armed with the right information. What follows below is a list of various articles and reference materials that will help you navigate your way toward getting your entertainment career off the ground.

What Type of Career Are You Looking For?:

Start by narrowing down the selection of career choices. There are literally hundreds of entertainment careers. Many of which can be quite lucrative and fulfilling. But you should know what you're looking for before you start looking. Here are some career profiles of some of the more popular film and television career choices:

Assessing Your Skills:

What type of schooling does your particular career choice require? What types of things are you good at? You'll be surprised (and maybe happy) to know that most people in the entertainment field do NOT have any sort of specialized training. Most of the training they received was while working on the job for which I strongly believe there is no real substitute. But, here are a few pieces that will help you figure out which careers best match your abilities as well as helping you to get over the fears of not having enough experience, or figuring out whether or not film school is for you:
  • Assess Your Skills: You want to find out what you're good at. What innate skills do you have that you can immediately apply to a film or television career?

  • Valuable Skills You Might Not Know You Have: You probably took a number of classes that at the time you thought were useless. You might be surprised to know that many of these skills will come in quite handy as you hone in on your entertainment career path.

  • Should I Go To Film School?: This is a question most people entering the entertainment realm ask and this article helps to provide an answer to that age old question.

Where do You Start Looking For Jobs?:

With the advent of the internet, finding jobs in the entertainment business became quite a bit easier. It used to be that the only way to find a job in the biz was through word of mouth. Now, most production companies have more work than they can handle and try to fill these positions with the most talented people they can find. Here are a few resources you may want to check out to see if you can find an entry level job that's right for you:
  • Variety Job Classifieds: Variety is one of the two biggest trade mags and has a great jobs section each day.

  • The Hollywood Reporter Jobs Classifieds: The Hollywood Reporter is another great resource for finding entry level work. Be sure to check their production listings for phone numbers of the production offices. You can often contact them directly to see if they're in the market for someone with your particular skill set.

  • Major Media Company Job Boards: Most of the major media companies (Disney, NBC-Universal, Warner Brothers, etc.) have pretty thorough job boards as well as a list of available internships.

How do I Write a Resume?:

When looking for your first job in the entertainment field, you will often be required to provide some form of resume. Even if the only other job you've had was a part time gig at the local fast food restaurant, you can build a solid resume that will help you get your foot in the door. Here are a few resources to help you build a high quality resume that will get results:

They All Started Somewhere:

Here's some good news -- the vast majority of people who work in the film and television industry had no prior experience, no prodigy-like talent, and even fewer had an uncle with the last name of Coppola or Spielberg. Most people approached their entertainment career the same way you are -- one day at a time. So, don't worry if the "big break" doesn't come in your first day, month or even year. Remember the three P's of just about any film or television career -- stay passionate, persistent and patient and you will dramatically increase your odds of succeeding in the entertainment industry.

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