Getting Work in Film and TV Production

I work in the production office. In fact, my current desk faces the front door. I constantly have people coming in to drop off resumes. These are my thoughts on how to go about really getting a job in Film and TV production.

First, dropping off and sending in resumes rarely works. It sucks, but it is true. Don't stop doing it though. You never know when you are going to walk into a production to drop off your resume and find out they need a PA right then and there. But it shouldn't be your only way of going about trying to land a spot on a production.

The best way to land a job on a show is to know someone on the show. The only way to know someone on a show is to have worked with them or work with someone they know. This seems absurd, but it is very true. So you have to get to know people in your area who work on films and tv shows.

Take any gig you can find. Look for low budget, no budget films going on in your area. Work as a PA for a crappy rate. My first gig in New Orleans was working as a PA for $70/day. That is extremely low. From that job though I got to know people and got my next show, The Riches; and then, The Richest lead to another one. Those low budget shows are the gateway in. They are your training ground and your first networking gig. I currently recommend PA's from my last low budget show to others.

Apply to work at the vendors for film and tv shows. Apply to work at camera houses, Grip and Electric gear companies, prop houses, etc. If you are working at one of these companies, you are learning the gear and you are getting to know crew in your area.

Join the local Film Society and any film groups in the area and on Facebook. If you are in New Orleans I would tell you to join the New Orleans Film Society and to start going to the NOVAC Third Thursday event as well as take some of their classes. You will get to know people working on films or people who know those working on films. Watch the different groups on Facebook for who is working on what and where.

Follow the business. Read Deadline Hollywood and Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Get to know what is filming where, especially in your area. There are already two pilots scheduled to film in New Orleans next spring. I know this because I pay attention to what is developing.

Know the production office spaces in your area. In New Orleans, there are certain locations that production offices are located. You should frequent these offices. The best time to strike is when people are moving in, especially if they are not from the area. That means they will be looking for people who know the are and are wanting to work.

None of this will guarantee you a job. You still have to hustle. You still have to figure it out. And even if you get a job, you still have to do damn good work to get the next one.

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