Looking to have a career in film? Here is how one current film student used a pro-active job hunting approach and networking to gain his work experience:
“My very first work experience on a film set was in 2010 on a feature film in France. I applied to the production company making the film, saying that I was available any day, any time and ready to work for free. I was supposed to stay 2 weeks on the film and it turned out that they accepted for me to stay another 2 weeks and paid me for it.
In the UK, my very first experience was on a Marvel film, Thor 2, in 2012. I contacted a friend of mine who knew someone in the art department of the film, knowing that they were looking for art department assistants. I sent my CV and a cover letter, once again stressing the fact that I was ready to work any days, any time and for whatever money. I went for an interview at the studios in Pinewood and got a 2 months internship, based in the art department, attached to art directors working on the film. I had to run for them, taking drawings and information to other departments, assist with making models of the set and also paint and decorate various pieces of the set.
From that experience I started to build a network and got another job on a Marvel film, Guardians of the Galaxy, in 2013. Here I was attached to the stand-by Art Director, whom I helped repair and arrange elements of the set. I got this job thanks to my successful experience on Thor. It was mainly due to the fact that I kept contact with the team I worked with and they tend to like working with the same people.
Advice for other students
Build your network and keep them updated on what you are up to at university and in film related activities. Don’t be afraid to exploit it and ask for favours. Put yourself out there and pro-actively seek opportunities: be ready to take anything, at any time.
A great example of how this works is shown through someone I met at Shepperton Studios. He finished his Film degree and had never worked on any film before. He accepted a job in an air conditioning maintenance company operating at the studios. After a few months, he was hired on a film as production assistant, and then got jobs as personal assistant to directors and now, less than 5 years later he is working as an Assistant Director. So as long as a job has some kind of contact with the area of work that interests you, accept anything and be ready to work hard, as it will always pay off.”
Film Studies student