A Quick Thought for Newbies

A Quick Thought for Newbies

  • Film Festivals (non-attendee: audience member)

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  • Film Festivals (attendee: visiting filmmaker)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Film School/University

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New member
I jst got done working as the Office Production Assistant on a low-budget ($3M) feature shooting in the mid-west by a well-known production company that has made two movies you've definitely heard of in the past couple of years. However, I can not say any more than that at this time.

But, when I was working in the office, I was working as a semi-local. I live in a fairly large city 180 miles away that is more of a television town, but has several people that have contacts in the film industry. Over the past several years, I've become very good friends with the small community in my hometown. Most of them helped me when I directed my first short film.

I was looking for paid work about a month ago, when I decided to give one of my old friends from school a call. We both attended a university film program in between the City of Production and my Hometown. I went for one year. He graduated in five. Anyway...

I called him up one day after doing some work for a new television series that will soon (if it hasn't already) debut on Canadian TV. I'm looking for paid work, I said. He gave me the name of the Production Coordinator. I called her, and she was skeptical given that the largest FEATURE film I'd worked on had a budget of only $50,000 (granted I'd worked on multiple short films with budgets of $15,000). However, because it was my friend that gave me her name - that it was HE that would vouch for me - even though my resume wasn't out of this world, I still got the job. Once I got into the office, several of the people working knew several of the same people that I knew: The Production Coordinator knew my College Buddy, the Assistant Production Coordinator was best friends with one of my friends in Hometown, the Production Accountant knew two of my good friends from back home, and the Props Master was good friends with one of my friends who is a Production Designer and Props Master in Hometown.

With these relationships in place, it was easier for me to have to ask questions than if a person did not flat-out know me or not. I was working as the Office Production Assistant - not the most glamorous job. But, by having these immediate connections/relationships wth people, others warmed up to me vey quickly - the Assistant Director and I spoke on several occasions, and the Producer even called me into his office just to chit chat. It was a great working environment. The Assistant Production Coordinator and I went out for drinks every week just to hang out. It was great!

And, now that this project is over, I already have an opportunity to go work on ANOTHER movie across town next week! The Production Coordinator has invited me to join her on this next project she's working on, another low-budget ($2M+) action flick!

The point is, all of this never would have happened if I had not stepped up when I was 18, took a gamble, and practically threatened the man who would later become my mentor if he did not let me help him produce a local film festival. Through him, I was introduced to all the people I knew, and then my friend from school got me this job, and now I have another. Get out there and make those connections. My resume wasn't great. It was good, but it wasn't great. But, because of the people I knew, it was easier to get work, and I'm getting more as I go along.

Make connections. It's better if they become friends. It just makes life, and work, a lot more fun.