The secret to getting work experience is there is no secret; it is a combination of luck and meeting the right people. BUT fear not even if your dad isn’t Danny Boyle you can still get into the industry.
To get work experience you have to be confident, optimistic and be in the right place at the right time. You only need one good placement and if you work hard enough then doors will begin to open for you.
The downside of work experience is that the majority of placements are unpaid and few offer expenses.
How you can help yourself to get work experience…
- Don’t be afraid to ask for work experience – the worst thing anyone can say is NO.
- Work hard and be positive – no one wants to work with someone they dislike.
- Don’t give up – even if every door keeps closing, if you keep trying then one will open for you!
Ways to get work experience…
Become an EXTRA
By becoming a film and TV extra you will be able to get onto film sets and meet crew members whilst being paid… Not bad.
Make sure you come across as confident and professional when talking to the crew. The best people to talk too are anyone in the production team or assistant director team as they mainly hire runners.
I got my first work experience placement after working as an extra on a comedy TV series!!
FUN FACT: EXTRAS are actually called SA’s (Supporting Artists) by most film crews.
Production Companies (that have dedicated work experience schemes)!
Not all production companies offer work experience and those that do tend to have a system in place to control applicants. These tend to be larger companies such as BBC, Tiger Aspect, Endemol & Hattrick.
It is worth applying to these but remember you need to stand out from the thousands of applicants who are also applying. Make sure you properly research and watch shows/films by the production company you are applying to so you can have that extra edge when applying!
Here are a few links to get started:
Networking is key to the TV/Film industry, as most employers employ people they have know or have worked with before. As frustrating as this is when you are starting out, you’ll appreciate it once you are in the industry.
To find networking events in your area look up film/TV societies and organizations. The International Moving Image Society holds a networking event each month for members and it is a great way to meet like-minded individuals!
Other good places to look are Eventbrite and Facebook for film related events going on in your area.
There are two ways to do film festivals – volunteering or attending and both ways allow you to network.
By volunteering you get to go for free but do have to spend time volunteering. A lot of festivals will advertise on the website if they are looking for volunteers.
Attending means you can go to all the guest talks and screenings where you will meet many filmmakers who are generally more than happy to talk to you.
Don’t forget that film and TV lecturers at your University are likely to be making films alongside their teaching. Get to know your lecturers and prove that to them that you are hard working and dedicated. Hopefully this will lead you to being asked onto their next shoot.