How to Get a Job in Film and TV (Honest Answer)
I’m going to give you a no-bullshit response to the question, “How do I get a job in film or television?”
A lot of people have asked me this on my channel, I’ve seen people post this question on Reddit, Facebook, and there are a ton of videos on YouTube that try to answer this question. I don’t want to just reiterate what people have already said. I’m not going to talk about the websites or groups to join to find job postings. There’s plenty of info about where to find job postings.
If that is what you are looking for, check out videos like this one (and check out her channel!)
But I'm going to tell you about TWO things I believe are crucial in finding jobs in this industry.
1. Knowing The Right People
The number one way to get a job here is by knowing someone already working in the industry. I hate this phrase but it’s truly all about “who you know and who they know.”
Now, if you’re like me, you don’t have a film producer uncle, you just know people you’ve worked with before and maybe some film school friends who are already working on something.
Some of you may have no one, and when you move out here you’re gonna have to start building a network quickly. Knowing no one is like starting at negative 5. Knowing some people is like starting at 0, because just because you know them doesn’t mean they’re gonna give you a job right away. And then there are others who may know a ton of people, be the nephews of a producer and instantly be able to connect with someone and get a job right away.
This is the entertainment job force in a nutshell. And honestly, it’s competitive. In case you didn’t already know that.
So, If you have a family member or a friend or someone you worked with before who is out here in the same industry, it’s in your benefit to reach out, meet up with them, let them know you're in town, and see if they can hire you or know other people who might want to hire you.
Usually, when people are hiring, they look within their network or ask for referrals. Sometimes they’ll post on job sites, but even then they prefer referrals.
It is very difficult to be hired simply by applying online to a job. It’s possible and I’ve gotten really cool gigs from simply applying to them online without knowing anyone in the inside but it’s very competitive out here.
People like to hire people they know or can trust, and knowing someone is the number one way of getting a job.
Like I mentioned in one of my videos about how I got my first job in la, I reached out to a producer I worked with in Arizona, and he liked me enough to bring me on a show when I moved out. And it’s been like half a year, and I freelance with the show still.
If you don’t have that starting out, always remember that everyone you meet on any project or set, is a new connection and they might think of you if they know of an opportunity that comes up.
I’ve gotten referrals from friends I made on a project out here, and then I worked on that set, and then someone I met there referred me to a different job. It’s a continuous cycle and it is a huge part of how you gain stability in the industry to get to the point where you are no longer applying to jobs all the time, but instead, people are reaching out to you the majority of the time to see if you are available.
I’m in this weird middle ground right now where my jobs are half and half, from people I know and from simply applying and getting in the door on my own. When you start out you may be on different parts of that spectrum, but eventually, the goal for all of us is to be get jobs by referrals and be able to also refer others, because of this network you’ve built.
2. Having a Hustler’s Mentality
You have to have a hustler mentality. Along with constantly “networking”, you’ll have to look for jobs the old fashion way. As I said, half of my jobs are from simply applying to them on my own with no connections. This means going on FB groups, applying to jobs, going on staffing sites, updating your resume every time you worked something new, asking people to meet for coffee, sending follow up emails to recruiters, constantly working on yourself, your resume, your skills, your presence, how you interview, everything to be the best applicant for the jobs you are applying to.
And know that you won’t hear back from every job you’ve applied to. It’s gonna suck being rejected, check out this video all about rejections. Know that not everyone is gonna love you, and despite challenges, you will have to keep trying your hardest to move on up.
And part of the hustler’s mentality is knowing how to manage your finances so when there’s a dry spell for jobs, you’re still good. Because freelancing in tv and film, isn’t a constant stable thing. There are definitely stable jobs in production companies you can have if you are hired to be on staff, but the majority of people are freelancing and hustling for their next job, and it’s always something that should be on your mind.
If that sounds like it’s not your cup of tea, then maybe you have a few things to rethink because it can be difficult but if this is something you are truly passionate about, then you’re gonna figure it out.
These two things I feel like people underestimate.
Now I'm not saying be sending everybody emails every week and bother them and being annoying trying to get a job from someone you once knew or don’t really know, but leverage the authentic connections you have, and even if they have potential, hustle online and in-person, making new opportunities for yourself.
The hustle is real, and it is required for a long term successful career.
With all that being said, I will be doing an update video on my journey since my last video “5 months in LA”, and I’ll be taking a little bit more about what’s been going on behind the scenes.
I have a ton of video’s coming soon that I’m super excited about. So if you’re interested in any of that subscribe to my channel!