Entry Level Job Perfect for Starting a job in Hollywood
Getting Your First Job
How do you get the "first job" that gets your foot inside the magical Hollywood door? You have the options of internships or volunteering.
In other words, you will demonstrate the ability to do whatever is needed and will do it well with no or low pay. Therefore, once you are in and do a professional job, the proverbial door is always open.
Most important to the process, however, is that you are willing -- in the beginning, at least -- to work on the cheap or even free. The idea is to accumulate a list of "credits" -- that is, a portfolio, a reputation.
Hollywood is big on reputation along with perseverance. Knowing who you know is another way to get your foot in the door.
Building a portfolio can only done by being willing to take on whatever work is being offered by the production at whatever pay is being offered, even if that's zilch.
An entry-level job, like a production assistant, can make on the average a flat rate of $100 a day, which could include meals. The best rate I have experienced as a production assistant is $150/8 hours, which means overtime is considered.
Nevertheless, don't get too excited because even if you offer your services free, you may still find it hard to attract any takers, as even an unpaid crew member needs to be covered by insurance, shown the ropes, fed - you get the idea.
Your best opportunity to build your portfolio is to work on smaller independent shoots where the production, most likely, can't afford to pay you or feed you well. On the upside, track these shoots down and volunteer! Once your resume begins to show the depth of your experience, you can start to aim for bigger crews on larger shoots and better pay.
It is best to start making contacts in your local area. You can contact your local film commission and see if they have a hotline number or a Web site. Most big city film commissions do. Check with your film commission once a week to find out if a production company is coming to town. Even take the time to visit the film commission office and make yourself known, hang around a bit, even help the office. Sometimes the production companies will leave a contact number with the film commission.
Places to Look
Another idea, you can contact local casting directors and see if they know of any production companies coming to town. As you call these contacts, make sure you find out about other production coming up and their contact numbers - in other words - network.
Here are some general numbers and Web sites to contact for information on film work in the area. In my book, Breaking Into Film provides a comprehensive listing of key film employees.
California Film Commission -- 800-858-4749
San Francisco Film Commission Hotline -- (415) 554-6244
New York Film Commission -- 212-803-2330
New York City Film Commission -- 212-489-6710
Texas Film Commission -- 512-463-9200
Chicago Film Office -- 312-744-6415
Illinois Film Office - 312-814-3600
New Mexico Film Office - 800-545-9871
City of Seattle Film Office - 206-684-0903
© 2007 Kenna McHugh