Most newcomers to the UK face a little hardship when finding jobs in the film industry. This difficulty is not because there aren't jobs available, but because there are ways to meet these barriers and get entry. As with any profession, there is a catch-22 between entry-level experience and getting a break. Most professionals need to have some work experience to be recognised as skilled. However, in the case of entry-level positions, gaining experience is the most challenging part.
If you're new to the UK or the US, you would need specific skill sets, recommendations, and contacts. However, this is invalid if you don't get the necessary approvals to shift to a new country. In the UK, you would need to opt for a business or film company with a sponsorship licence to apply for a work permit. The US is slightly different. While they don't need companies to have sponsorship licences, you would need to show the necessary documentation, like a job offer, salary, benefits, and more, to be eligible to apply for a work permit. Reputable lawyers help with US immigration advice, so your career gets on the fast track.
The UK film industry is booming, and plenty of jobs are available. However, finding a job is more competitive than before because of the hundreds of film students who graduate each year. Getting ahead of the competition and making an impression is a necessity, now more than before.
Let us help you with a few tips to get a job in the film industry.
There are a few main ways that jobs are usually obtained in the film industry. These are:
Trainee placements from universities or summer jobs
Job sites and online ads
Past work and projects
Many UK and US universities offer students excellent bachelor's and master's degrees. If you want to become a filmmaker, producer, director, lighting expert, or actor, a degree with formal education will help get you noticed. This does not mean that experience isn't valuable. However, having a degree or certification will help you get seen when applying for your initial roles.
Learning the skills and craft needed for your dream position is an advantage you cannot lose. Meeting industry experts in universities, understanding and applying tricks and skills, and networking will help you land a job faster.
What is the first thing you must do to get a job? Show up! Most people apply for jobs online and send resumes and past work but don't actually go and meet people. It is necessary to remember that most professions in the film industry are creativity-based. When job positions and work are creativity-based, it is best to showcase your talent.
There are several ways you could show your work. If you are in design, make a showreel. If acting is your forte, have a recording ready as a stage test. If your expertise lies in lighting, have a model ready to show what you bring to the table.
We're not saying to be indiscriminate in your choice of jobs. Instead, be indiscriminate in your choice of job portals, ads, and other methods of job applications. Unless you have friends or family members already part of the film industry, you would need to actively apply for jobs and attend interviews.
Apart from the regular job portals, you should also use social media for job openings. Many Facebook marketplace jobs and film boards often have openings that are not openly advertised. Film commission websites also have openings and requirements for everything from lighting grips to trainees. Most of these websites have lost lists of crew glossaries, with contact information, pay scales, and work timings and days mentioned in detail.
You may be the best in your class at college or university and may have the certificates to prove it. However, you need real-world experience to apply those skills. Large TV channels, government schemes, and industry-related charities and work can help you get a trainee placement or an apprenticeship.
Remember, getting into the film industry is not easy if you don't have the proper backing. Create a list of all the local openings and opportunities. When checking for apprenticeship or trainee opportunities, go through the eligibility requirements with a fine-toothed comb. Sometimes, these opportunities are restricted by age, experience, university, or even language. You should check for all while compiling your list.