Film Jobs: Who You Know Gets Your First Break
Film Jobs Theory
Deciding to be in the film business is the first step to being in the film business. Sometimes, the most fortunate and hard-to-believe opportunities knock at your career door when you least expect it.
You need to be knowledgeable about film production and keep your purpose of working in film. Imagine what yourself on a movie set working with a crew. Think of a true statement that delineates why you want to work in film. Write that statement down and attach it to your refrigerator or notebook. Place your statement wherever you see it every day to remind you of your goal to be in the film industry. It will make your drive to work in the business a reality.
You must not lose hope or doubt yourself because opportunities do knock. You need to be aware of how to recognize them when they do knock.
Here is a good example, true-life story, where Thomas takes full advantage of that opportunity knocking.
Thomas went to film school. Producing his own movies had always been his dream. So, when a friend told him about a job at Warner Brothers -- an assistant to the executive producer on a TV series. He jumped at it. He jumped at it. Keep in mind, Thomas did not want to work on a television series, but he wanted to work in film. The TV series gig became an opportunity to get his foot in the door and his feet wet.
Once Thomas got into the studio, he made it his business to learn everything he could about filmmaking and knowing as many people as possible. Because in his mind, it's what you know and who you know that builds a career. He's right.
Produce a Movie
Border to Border practically dropped in his lap. The movie's production value made it an ideal story for a first-time director/producer, about two guys bicycling from Canada to Mexico. He decided to produce it and moved into action.
Now pay attention because this is how he took advantage of working for the television series even though he didn't want to work in television but wanted to work in film.
Thomas got a friend to lend him a professional camera. He then talked Warner Bros. into letting him use an editing suite free of charge. Then, he got a longtime friend and high school chum, Karen, whom he had helped get a job as a production assistant on the same TV series he worked on, to become the producer and the all-around do-it-if-no-one-else-is-available person.
Next, he enlisted almost everyone else he knew at Warner Bros. to help him make the film. Of course, not everyone was willing to do it, but when someone turned him down, he just asked someone else and kept asking until he found someone willing to help. He just kept his eye on the goal. That is so necessary to understand. You need to keep your eye on the goal and never give up.
I shot scenes along the roads from Canada to Mexico. At points, they called and asked favors from people. They needed a cabin in Lake Tahoe and asked a friend if they could use his cabin for free.
Several months later and $250,000 of budget, he had his feature film, Border to Border.
The movie premiered at film festivals, and he did a huge premiere in his hometown to acknowledge all the people who helped make his dream come true. Not surprisingly, the one bit of advice that Thomas shared with the audiences is "Never give up."
In the film business, stories like this one happen often, and more than you would imagine.
Film Jobs vs. Film Careers
Stories like the one about Border to Border come out of Hollywood all the time. The technology to produce a movie is not hard now compared to ten years ago.
Since it is not as hard as it used to be, the competition is fierce. You need to know when opportunity knocks, and be ready to deliver the product. I mean, I haven't heard from Thomas in a long time. I don't even know if he is still in the movie business.
There are those who hit it big with a simple movie and end up making a lucrative career being a director, producer, or screenwriter. The point is to write down your goal and never forget it. You need to look at it every day and remind yourself of the reason you are working so hard to be in the movie business.
© 2007 Kenna McHugh