hey jules! do you think that people who (unfortunately) can't attend a film school, but work really hard on their own scripts and movies, can still get a job in the film business? thanks and have a nice day/evening/whatever!
I absolutely think you can work in the film industry without attending film school! (There are plenty of famous directors who can attest to this.) In fact, one of the reasons I started this blog was to teach and give resources to people who aren’t in film school.
By not going to film school, you are saving a ton of money so that’s a big plus. But be prepared to do a lot of self-teaching. I recommend Lynda.com for learning software and look online for some textbooks on film. The Hollywood Standard is good for writing, In the Blink of an Eye is standard for editing, and On Directing Film is a good starter for directing.
Take any internship you can to get some hands-on learning. Local film companies are often open to interns and you get more experience when you have a smaller crew. Professionals like experience more than a degree. Internships will also give you a chance to network, which is EXTREMELY important in film. (Probably the biggest benefit to film school is the ability to network with your peers so if you aren’t going to film school your connections are even more valuable.)
Hei. Just checked out your page and i'm actually aspiring to become a film director. So i'd like to know how to get there and some important things to know along the way to become one (or involved in the film industry) thank you pal.
inlovewithmydreams said:hi I am 15 I have a dream to be a great director do you have any tips?
I have combined your questions because the are similar and my answer can apply to both.
There is no one way to become a director. Everyone in the industry has taken a different path to get to where they are now so there is no real blueprint to go from aspiring filmmaker to established filmmaker, or in your cases, director. While the lack of a plan may be frustrating to some (it certainly was and is for me!) it is also encouraging because there are endless ways to break into the industry.
In my experience and from the experiences of professionals I know, the best way is to make connections with people in the industry and to go above and beyond in any internship or job you have. Even if your job is only slightly related to directing, proving you are hardworking and willing to go the extra mile makes you stand out and you can form connections that will lead you to a better job or opportunity closer to your field.
Freelance editing or filming is another good way to get experience if you don’t have an internship or job related to film. You can edit projects, make music videos, design a flyer, take pictures for events, or other such things for friends, family, and acquaintances. I’ve designed flyers for both parents (free), recorded and edited stage plays for my school (sold the dvds for cheap), taken bts pictures and event pictures (also free), etc. Because of that experience, I got paid for other editing gigs. So be willing to take initiative and make your own projects.
Listen to your cast and crew when they have problems or questions. Pay attention to your actors when they are trying to figure out blocking, motivation, or if they just want to know if you liked a take. Even if they seem fine, check in with them (especially if they are doing a grueling/emotional scene!) They are not puppets, they are people. Also, your crew has specific jobs and many times know more than the director about a specific field. That’s why they are there so be considerate of their comments and concerns. No one will want to work with you again if they feel ignored.
When you do get the chance to direct, preproduction is extremely important to a smooth production. Here is some prepro stuff that is crucial:
-Make a shot list! Don’t go into a shoot blindly without a plan as to how your going to shoot the scene. I have just added a shot list template to the resource drive with a quick example of how to fill it out. This website also has a free template for google drive spreadsheets.
-Scout locations and plan shots out. Doing this will prepare you for possible problems such as poor background noise, automatic lights, not enough room for lights and other equipment, etc. Know how you’re going to block scenes within the space.
-Make a budget plan. How much will food cost? (Side note: food is very important, especially if people are working for free.) Include a buffer in your budget to account for mishaps or extra runs. I usually do around $50 for smaller shoots but it depends on the individual project and your personal budget.
-Communication is key. (Side note: email skills are super important!) If you don’t communicate with your cast and crew, it leads to mistakes, wasted time and money, and frustration. I rarely work with people a second time if they don’t communicate.
-Know the script inside and out. Actors and crew will have questions so you have to know the script as well or better than the writer.
Overall, directors can make or break a production so pay attention to your cast and crew, stay organized, and don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong or that you don’t understand something. You are in charge but realize you aren’t all-knowing.
This became a long answer so I hope it was helpful and not just a ramble!
Yesterday I turned 19. Meaning today it has officially been one year since I claimed the title of intern. That’s one year of intern knowledge, and then some, that I would like to share with you.
Let’s begin with a bit of background. I lost my intern virginity last summer. I started applying in spring and, to my surprise, heard back from all the magazines I applied to - bar one. But their Twitter pic hasn’t changed in a year so I’m not quite sure what’s going on there. I ended up becoming an editorial intern at two magazines. Both of different genres - I figured it’d be beneficial to get a diversity of experience. The first was a fashion magazine and I absolutely loved it. It was the first magazine I set eyes on and I even modelled my entire CV around one of its covers (more on that later.) I enjoyed it so much that I re-arranged the dates of my next internship just so I could stay longer. I woke up every morning last summer looking forward to what my day had to offer. Even though I struggled to afford travelling into London everyday, and got achey eyes from hours in front of a laptop screen, I began each day with a flurry of butterflies in my stomach because I loved writing for them so much. It felt like the right fit from day one. Despite arriving 2 hours late on day one that is.
I was given so much freedom to write exactly how I wanted to — much different to my next internship, where despite the fact it was a much younger magazine, had a more traditional approach with its interns. Everything would get sent back with highlighted notes and once it was finally published, lost all remnants of its initial vitality, but in turn gained the slick and polished voice of an edited feature. I did learn a lot from all that editing. Things they’d usually teach you in journalism school like “numbers under ten are expressed in words.” Not only did I learn a lot but met some really wonderful people.
Despite each internship’s differences, both editors seemed happy with my work and expressed they wished I could stay longer! I now write for the first magazine, which is beyond what I could’ve imagined when I began applying last year (have a read of my elated response to first-time publication here.) I’d like to stress that I had no contacts nor family members who have a clue about this industry. If I can do it, you most definitely can too! So from me to you, here’s how to become an intern.
Find Your Own Experience.
High-key every intern’s #goals
Before writing your CV you need relevant things to fill it with. Instead of waiting for opportunity to knock on your door, why not make your own? With the Internet at your fingertips there is no excuse. Gaining experience and building a portfolio is as simple as e-mailing your favourite blog and asking to contribute an article. Starting your own blog and making sure it’s in tip-top shape when future employers decide to Google you, and sincerely reaching out to growing online platforms asking to write for them. In the beginning I built my portfolio through Twitter search. I would search key phrases like “bloggers wanted” or “writers wanted” and volunteer my services (@UKFashionIntern is fab for this). You’d be surprised how far a well-composed e-mail can get you! Experience wise, you really don’t need anything fancy, you just need to show employers that you’re competent in the basics. So e-mail the editor of your local paper and ask to shadow someone for a week, or get down to your local radio and volunteer your time for a few days. If you’re at school or university make use of all the opportunities to write for the magazine or paper. This is all classed as experience, will build your portfolio and get you suited for an internship.
I think this is most important. Especially if you’re lacking in the experience department. It’s imperative to set yourself apart from all the other candidates who have the same or more experience than you. Two ways to get your application an eyebrow raise are your e-mail subject line and the aesthetic of your CV. Editors’ inboxes are filled with hundreds of e-mails a day so use your subject line to stand out from all the other intern e-mails. Make it short, concise but interesting so they have to read it. I’m not sure where I came up with mine, but I definitely did a ton of research, looked at lots of examples and steered away from the conventional. Think of it like a headline, but always ensure it’s appropriate.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your CV. Fashion and media are industries where creativity is celebrated after all, so you can afford to push boundaries with your application (although as was suggested to me by Heat’s Senior Editor, simplicity is often better). It’ll make you memorable and give you a chance to show your personality and how badly you want that internship. Think of the dozens of black and white word documents an editor receives then *boom* in comes your creative piece of curriculum vitae. At one of my internships, the editor showed my CV to the entire office and asked how I created it. I used photoshop (good way to showcase photoshop skills) in order to create an infographic CV. Infographics are a succinct means of getting your experience across, way more visual and fun to look at, and a great way to play on human psychology (psych student coming thru). Who wants to read through dozens of identical applications when you could present the same information through image, colour and an attractive aesthetic. Chances are they won’t be glossing over your CV. It’s different to the usual application so they’ll take note. If you dont know how to use photoshop - like me pre-CV - just google everything. Google is your friend.
Be as modest or as extra as you please
For infographic inspo I did a Google and Pinterest search for creative CVs. I saved my favourites and used them for inspiration on how to design my own. As mentioned in the intro, I based the colour scheme of my CV on the cover of the first magazine I applied to. Partly because the colours were soo beautiful, and because I wanted to impress them. I literally used a colour code finder to find the exact colours. If that doesn’t show how bad you want that internship I don’t know what could! A strong subject line and a pretty CV are bound to give you a good footing in the application process.
Here’s a buzzfeed link to CV ideas you could use for any job, not just creative ones
Use your Initiative/Be a Ninja.
Once you’ve got through the prelims and finally land that internship, it’s time to be on your A-game and stay on that A-game. Bring a notebook so you can take note of instructions, feedback and stay on track. It also makes you look like an eager beaver who’s ready to work. It’s important not just to do what you’re told, but to go beyond that. Do things that your editor didnt even ask or expect you to do. Make everyone’s life as easy as possible by doing more than you have to. So if you’re asked to write an article for online, write the tags and social media posts for it too. If you’re asked to research an interviewee organise your research in an easy-to-read format and suggest interview questions - even if you weren’t asked to. You must always be one step ahead. It’s important to be quick but not to sacrifice quality. So edit, edit, edit. You better be the most helpful and competent ninja that office has ever seen.
Carrie started as an intern. Who wouldn’t want to be Carrie?
Don’t be scared to contribute to discussions. An intern is still a part of the team so offer your ideas and when asked - dont be a neutral party - give your opinion. Be sure to make the most of your time at a publication and get to know people. A good conversation starter is to ask them questions about themselves. Like how they came to work there or any advice they could give you. Dont be a silent voice in the background, you’ve got to be a helping hand and a smiling face. Remember, these are the people giving you references and everyone seems to know each other in fashion, so they could recommend you to someone or even offer you a job based on how lovely you were during your stay.
Be a Nice Human.
UAL produced McQueen and Phoebe Philo. Their word is golden.
This is integral in any field. Be nice and respectful to any and everyone you meet. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met and googled when I got home only to realise how major they were. These are the people you could be working with one day or the key to your next opportunity. You need to be remembered as a pleasant and competent person because in order to advance, it really can be about who you know. So greet and say hello to everyone. Even if you’re shy and really awkward, you have to do it! Try to get as many contacts as you can and keep in touch. Whether that be e-mailing them for advice once, thanking them for your experience or offering your time to help them (I recently did this and ended up working at Topshop’s flagship for a few days - score!) This includes fellow interns. A lot of people in the industry started as interns - look at where they are now? Who’s to say that intern on the Mac next you won’t go on to work at a PR firm that might just be hiring, or recommend you when a last minute stylist assistant is needed? Just leave a good impression on everyone you meet, k?
In summary, get off your bottom and seek experience whether that be online or in your local area, get creative with your e-mail, cover letter and CV, always be one step ahead of your editor’s needs and treat everyone with upmost respect. Fashion and the media aren’t as mean as TV and film make them out to be. People tend to be very helpful. The opportunity is there you just have to be willing to go for it!
Publish Your Stuff: Rebekah Lee on Content Writing
Rebekah Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and currently works as a library professional. In March, she launched The Plot Line Hotline, a blog dedicated to story structure and plot development. She writes fantasy and hopes to someday be published. You can find her at: theplotlinehotline.com!