8 Steps to Land Your First Film Industry Job
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Research about the Film Industry
  2. Pursue Relevant Education
  3. Gain Experience with Internships
  4. Create a Portfolio
  5. Network with Industry Professionals
  6. Apply for Jobs
  7. Prepare for Interviews
  8. Stay Current with Industry Trends

Stepping into the world of glitz and glamour, the film industry is an exciting place to build a career. But it's not all about the red carpets and flashing lights. It's about hard work, creativity, and dedication. So, how do you get a job in film? Here are 8 simple steps to help you land your first job in the film industry.

Research about the Film Industry

First stop on your movie-making journey is understanding the industry. Hollywood isn't just about actors and directors. There's a whole army of professionals behind the scenes that makes the magic happen. So let's take a closer look at the film industry.

Know the roles: From screenwriters to costume designers, there are countless jobs in film. Understand what each role entails and figure out where you see yourself fitting in. For instance, if you're great at storytelling, consider becoming a scriptwriter. If you have a knack for style, a costume designer might be your calling.

Study the industry: Learn about the big players in the industry: Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, and Paramount Pictures, to name a few. Understand how films are produced, distributed, and marketed. This will give you a clearer picture of how the industry works.

Stay updated: The film industry is always evolving—with new technology, trends, and techniques. Make sure to keep up with the latest news and updates. Read industry-related magazines and websites, and follow film industry influencers on social media.

Watch films: Yes, you heard it right. Watching films can actually be a part of your research. It allows you to understand different storytelling styles, visuals, and filmmaking techniques. And, it can be a lot of fun too!

So, if you're wondering how to get a job in film, the first step is to know your field. The film industry is a big world, and the more you know about it, the better you can navigate it. So, start researching and let your film industry adventure begin!

Pursue Relevant Education

Once you've researched the industry, the next step towards landing a job in the film industry is getting the right education. You might be wondering, "Do I need a degree to work in film?" While it's true that some famous filmmakers never went to film school, having relevant education can definitely give you a leg up.

Consider film school: Attending a reputable film school can provide you with a solid foundation in film theory, production techniques, and industry knowledge. Schools like NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and USC's School of Cinematic Arts are renowned for their film programs.

Choose the right course: Depending on your career aspirations, you might choose to study screenwriting, cinematography, film production, or another relevant subject. Make sure you choose a course that aligns with your career goals.

Participate in workshops and seminars: These can be a great way to learn specific skills, like how to use a particular type of camera or how to write a compelling screenplay. Plus, they can be a fantastic networking opportunity.

Learn online: With platforms like MasterClass and Coursera, you can learn from industry experts right from your living room. Online courses can be a flexible and affordable way to gain film industry knowledge.

Remember, education isn't just about getting a degree. It's about learning and growing. So, whether you choose to attend film school or learn online, make sure you're constantly learning. Because that's how you get a job in film—by being prepared, knowledgeable, and eager to learn. So, grab your popcorn, pull up a chair, and start studying!

Gain Experience with Internships

Okay, so you've got the education part down. But let's face it, knowing the theory is one thing, being able to apply it is another. That's where internships come in. They are the stepping stones on your path of figuring out how to get a job in film.

Internships offer hands-on experience: You’ll get a chance to experience the day-to-day operations of a film set, understand various roles, and learn about the workflow. It's like a sneak peek into your future job!

Test drive your career: Internships can help you figure out which area of the film industry you're most interested in. Do you enjoy writing? Maybe a role in scriptwriting is for you. Love being behind the camera? Cinematography might be your calling.

Build your resume: Future employers will want to see that you have practical experience. Internships not only provide that, but they also show that you’re committed and proactive about your career.

Make connections: The film industry is all about who you know. Internships provide an opportunity to meet industry professionals and make valuable connections that could help you land your first job in film.

So, where can you find these internships? Start with your school's career center. Many film schools have connections with production companies and can help you land an internship. Websites like Indeed and LinkedIn are also good places to look. Just remember to be patient and persistent. Your dream internship is out there, waiting for you to find it!

Create a Portfolio

Having a killer portfolio is like having a golden ticket when you're figuring out how to get a job in film. It's your chance to showcase your skills, creativity, and uniqueness. It's the proof in the pudding that says "Hey, I know my stuff."

Show, don't just tell: A portfolio lets you show potential employers what you can do, rather than just telling them. Include samples of your work, such as scripts you've written, films you've shot, or storyboards you've created. This is your time to shine, so make sure you put your best work forward.

Keep it professional: While it's important to let your personality shine through, remember to keep your portfolio professional. Make sure it's well organized, easy to navigate, and free of errors. A sloppy portfolio can give the impression of a sloppy worker, and that's definitely not the impression you want to make.

Make it digital: In today's digital age, having an online portfolio can make it easier for potential employers to view your work. You can build a simple website using platforms like Wix or Squarespace, or even post your work on social media platforms like Vimeo or YouTube.

Keep it updated: As you gain more experience and create more work, make sure to update your portfolio. You want it to reflect your current skills and abilities, not just what you were capable of a year ago.

Remember, your portfolio is a reflection of you and your work. Make it count, because it could be the key to landing your first job in film.

Network with Industry Professionals

Let's be honest—you can't underestimate the power of knowing the right people when it comes to how to get a job in film. It's not just about what you know, but also who you know.

Attend film festivals and events: These are great places to meet people who are already working in the industry. You can learn from their experiences, gain insights, and make connections that could lead to job opportunities. Plus, who wouldn't want to spend a day watching amazing films?

Join industry organizations: Membership in groups like the Directors Guild or the Producers Guild can give you access to resources, training, and networking events. But remember, it's not just about adding a line to your resume—genuine participation can lead to meaningful connections.

Volunteer on film sets: This can give you hands-on experience, but it can also help you meet people who might be able to help you get your foot in the door. And let's face it, there's no better way to learn about making films than actually being on a film set.

Use social media: Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can be powerful tools for networking. Follow industry leaders, engage with their content, and don't be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself. Just make sure your online presence is professional and reflects your passion for film.

Remember, networking is about building relationships, not just collecting contacts. Be genuine, show interest in others, and be ready to return the favor when the time comes. Who knows? Your next job in film might be just one connection away.

Apply for Jobs

Now that you've done your homework, gained some experience, and built a network, it's time to hit the ground running. Searching for and applying to film jobs can be a job itself, but don't worry—you've got this!

Look in the right places: There are job boards specifically for the film industry, such as ProductionHub or Mandy. These are excellent starting points to find job postings. But don't forget about company websites, too. If there's a specific production company you'd love to work for, check their career page regularly.

Customize your applications: Yes, it's time-consuming. But each job application should be tailored to the specific job you're applying for. Highlight your relevant experiences and skills that make you the perfect fit for the role. And when I say "highlight", I mean really make it shine—like a spotlight in a dark theater.

Follow instructions: This might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people make mistakes here. If a job posting asks for a cover letter, write one. If it asks for references, include them. Show potential employers that you can follow directions—it's more important in the film industry than you might think.

Be patient: The film industry can be competitive, and it may take time to land your first job. Don't get discouraged if you don't hear back right away. Remember, every "no" is one step closer to your "yes".

And finally, don't forget to send a thank you note after each interview. It's a small gesture, but it can make a big difference. After all, who doesn't love a good thank-you note?

Prepare for Interviews

So the day has come—you have an interview! Here comes the part where you have to sell yourself. Not like an auction, but you get the point. Let's look at how to prepare for your interview:

Know the production: Find out what the company has produced before and what they're currently working on. If you can talk about their work and why you're excited to contribute to future projects, you're already a step ahead.

Practice: We all know the saying, "practice makes perfect". This applies to interviews, too. Review common interview questions and practice your answers. Remember, you're not reciting a script — you're telling your story.

Put your best foot forward: Dress appropriately for the interview. But remember, the film industry is often more casual than other industries. You probably don't need a suit, but showing up in your pajamas isn't a good idea either. Think smart-casual.

Ask thoughtful questions: At the end of the interview, you'll usually have a chance to ask your own questions. This is a great opportunity to show your interest in the role and the company. Ask about the company culture or what a typical day looks like. It shows you're serious about the job.

And always remember, you're interviewing them too. It's not just about getting a job in film, but finding a position and company where you will thrive. So, take a deep breath, relax, and go knock their socks off!

So, you've landed your first job in film. Congrats! But don't get too comfy just yet. The film industry is one where things change faster than the plot of a thriller movie. That's why it's important to stay updated with industry trends. Here's how:

Follow industry news: Make it a habit to read film industry news every day. This can help you stay informed about the latest films, emerging filmmakers, and new techniques. Not sure where to start? The Hollywood Reporter and Variety are good places to begin.

Attend Film Festivals: Film festivals aren't just for movie buffs. They're also a great way to meet professionals in the industry, see the latest films, and get an idea of what's trending. Remember, you're there to learn and network, not just to enjoy the popcorn.

Learn Continuously: The film industry is always evolving, so your learning should never stop. Consider taking workshops or courses that can help you develop new skills or improve existing ones. Just think of it as adding more tools to your toolbox.

Participate in Online Communities: There are many online forums and communities where film professionals gather to share their experiences, ask questions, and give advice. These can be a wonderful resource to learn from others and to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry.

Remember, staying current with industry trends not only helps you in your current job but also makes you a more attractive candidate for future roles. So, keep learning, keep growing, and keep enjoying the ride!

If you're eager to land your first film industry job and want to learn more about how to get started, check out the workshop 'How To Get Your Start As A Filmmaker' by Alex Kahuam. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights, tips, and advice on breaking into the film industry and kickstarting your filmmaking career.