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Film Jobs is Who You Know to Get Your First Break

Updated on November 14, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna worked on many productions as PA, Craft Services, Talent Scout, Grip, and Producer. Credits include Bowling for Columbine, Wallace.


Little Help from Friends

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.

Be wise and keep your purpose to work in film. 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. Wherever you will 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. Never lose hope or have doubt because opportunities do knock. You just have to learn how to recognize them when they do knock.

Here is a good example, true-life story, where Thomas takes full advantage of that knock.

Thomas went to film school. He always wanted to produce his own movies, so when a friend told him about a job at Warner Brothers working on Lois and Clark: Superman TV series as an assistant to the executive producers. 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 Lois and Clark 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 to get to know as many people as he could. Because in his mind, it's who you know and what you know that builds a career. He's right.


Border to Border

Border to Border was practically dropped in his lap. Border to Border production value made it an ideal story for a first-time director/producer, about two guys bicycling from Canada to Mexico, he moved into action.

Now pay attention because this is how he took advantage of working for the television series even though he 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 Lois and Clark, 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 he someone turned down, he just asked someone else and kept asking until he found someone willing to help. He just kept his eye on the goal.

Several months and $250,000 later, he had his feature film, Border to Border, which was shown at film festivals. Not surprisingly, the one bit of advice that Thomas shared is "Never give up."

In the film business, you hear stories like this more than you would think. I will be sharing them with you off and on at this site. You are welcome to send an email to me about one of your own stories of how you started your career in the film industry.

© 2007 Kenna McHugh


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