Getting a job in the entertainment industry isn’t easy. Thousands of film school graduates struggle with finding work in the very saturated and highly competitive field. Simply posting your resume on the popular industry websites is not enough. To get noticed, you need to stand out from the crowd. Film and Television Industry Alliance was formed to help you do just that, by providing it’s members with a weekly production list – a comprehensive breakdown of projects in preparation, pre-production, and active development.
The place to start is to get your resume to the person responsible for hiring. He or she is usually the head of the production office and may have a title such as Production Manager or Line Producer. Don’t depend on someone you know getting it to the right person. Take the initiative and get it there yourself.
While every production is different, and there isn’t a “one size fits all” way of achieving your goal, we have provided some different steps to help you out.
Stay Up To Date
Keep up to date on what projects are in development. This means being part of the community and building relationships with others in the industry. Most of the time, a project starts out as a rumor. If you are plugged in, you can find out when official production dates are released.
Our members have access to a weekly production list which includes a comprehensive breakdown of projects in preparation, pre-production, and active development.
Building relationships is a key component of getting a job in this industry. The old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” is true. Many people get a part just because someone in the show says, “I know this person and they would be a good fit for playing …” Networking is the lifeblood of any industry; so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Contact the Production Office or Company
If the production office for a project is listed, call them directly and ask if they are accepting resumes and headshots. If the answer is “not yet,” ask when will they start or when would be a good time to contact them again. Then follow up. At all times, be polite and professional.
You will have to research when the project has hired its production company. If it is early on in the development process, chances are they haven’t yet. Keep at it. Use our weekly production list to get in touch with project managers to find out more information. Use the relationships you built in the networking phase to find out when the company will open and be proactive. And don’t be afraid to let the company know you found out about the project from a friend.
The Film and Television Industry Alliance provides email addresses for most Productions Companies. A simple email of inquiry, along with your resume, may be all it takes. However, you should always follow up in person or with a call. Professional perseverance can be a good recommendation. The key here is to be professional.
Send Your Resume By Mail
Sometimes getting your resume into the right hands takes time and investment. By mailing your resume and headshot to the production company, you can make sure your first impression stands out. While mailing your resume can be an additional expense, if you take the time and effort to present a polished, professional image in your cover letter, the production manager will have a better chance of remembering you when you follow up with a phone call.
There are some Do’s and Don’ts to this:
- Don’t have a resume that is more than a page long. Project managers don’t have a lot of time.
- Don’t be sloppy in your cover letter. Spelling mistakes and stains on the cover letter will leave the hiring manager thinking your performance will be sloppy too. This is your first impression, so make it count.
- Don’t just assume they will be so impressed with your resume that they will call you. Always, always follow up with a phone call about a week after you mail out your resume. Not only will you find out if the manager received it, you will show them you are serious about the project.
- Do send out resumes for all the productions that you are interested in. And keep following up with calls. Just don’t “stalk” them. Even if they filled the position you wanted, there may be another that comes open for one reason or another.
- Do keep notes on all the projects you sent out letters to. Track:
- When each project is due to start.
- Who you sent your resume to.
- When you made your first follow up call and each call after that.
- Who you spoke with each time.
- What was said during each conversation.
- Do send thank you notes to all the people you spoke with. Today’s production assistant may be tomorrow’s production manager.
Keep At It
You probably won’t get hired the first time you send out a resume or meet with a project manager. Most don’t. Everyone has to “pay their dues” and it can be a long, discouraging process. Be persistent and professional, keep building those relationships and realize that consistently working the leads you have will eventually get you to that first role. And that’s your chance to shine!