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How to Find Opportunities to Work in Film

Updated on August 10, 2023
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna wrote, and directed several plays, taught acting for kids. She is a former talent scout and directs and produces.

The movie set is a magical place.
The movie set is a magical place. | Source

Film Jobs Theory

Deciding to be in the film business is the first step to being in the film industry. Sometimes, the most fortunate and hard-to-believe opportunities knock at your career door when you least expect them. You need to be knowledgeable about film production and keep your purpose of working in film. Imagine yourself on a movie set working with a crew.

Think of a true statement delineating why you want to work in the film business. 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 industry. It will secure your drive to work in the business a reality.

You must not lose hope or doubt yourself because opportunities do knock. You need to know how to recognize them when they do knock. Here is a good example, a true-life story, where Thomas takes full advantage of that opportunity knocking.

Thomas went to film school. Producing his movies had always been his dream. So, he jumped at it when a friend told him about a job at Warner Brothers -- an assistant to the executive producer on a TV series.

Remember, Thomas did not want to work on a television series but 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 about filmmaking and know as many people as possible. Because, in his mind, what you know and who you know builds a career. He's right.

Produce a Movie

Border to Border practically dropped in his lap. Thomas decided to produce it and moved into action. The movie's production value made it an ideal story for a first-time director and producer. The story follows two very different guys bicycling from Canada to Mexico.

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, he wanted to work in film.

Thomas had a friend lend him a professional camera by meeting people in the industry through the television series. He then talked Warner Bros. into letting him use an editing suite free of charge. Then, he got a longtime friend and high school alumni, Karen, whom he had helped get a job as a production assistant on the same TV series, be a producer and be the all-around do-it-if-no-one-else-is-available person.

Next, he engaged almost everyone else he knew at Warner Bros. to help him make the film. Of course, not everyone was willing to do it. When someone turned him down, he just asked the next person and kept asking until he found someone ready to help. He just kept his eye on the goal, which is vital to this story. You need to keep your eye on the purpose and never give up.

The production was filmed on locations along the roads from Canada to Mexico. At points along the roads, they called and asked for favors from people. They needed a cabin in Lake Tahoe and asked a friend if they could use his place for free.

Several months later, with and $250,000 budget, he had his feature film Border to Border in the can.

The movie premiered at film festivals, and he orchestrated a large opening in his hometown. During his hometown premiere, he acknowledged all the people who helped make his dream come true. The one bit of advice that Thomas shared with the audience is, "Never give up."

In the film business, stories like this one happen often, and more than you would imagine.

Understanding the set lingo helps in advancing your career in film.
Understanding the set lingo helps in advancing your career in film. | Source

Film Jobs v 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 complicated 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 for a long time. I don't even know if he is still in the movie business.

Some hit it big with a simple movie and make a lucrative career as 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 why you are working so hard to be in the movie business.

© 2007 Kenna McHugh


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