Where on earth do you start?

The one sentence that has gone through my head more than any other when it comes to getting into the film and tv industry is where on earth do I start? I think its probably a question we all ask ourselves when we start in our careers. You imagine for years what working life will be like and dream of the kind of jobs you want to do but the hardest thing of all is finding a door in. For some people its friends and family but for those who don’t have that you’re met by one of the most annoying catch 22’s, you need a portfolio to get work but you can’t get a portfolio with out work. This is something I struggled with for years, I bought a nice camera, I got the equipment I wanted but no one is going to employ a kid with no experience its not worth the risk they want to know what they are paying for.

I was lucky enough to have a bit of help with family members who work in the industry with people they knew who could offer work but I had to prove to these people I was worth employing. For me the best way to do this was get whatever you can so thats what I did. Whether it was student films or family members businesses, people love the word free, free gives them nothing to worry about, whats the worst that can happen. A lot of people I have spoken to about this issue have said to me i’d never work for free, why spend 7 hours working for someone and getting nothing in return, a sentences I hear a lot are “I’m to good to be working for free” and “My time is to valuable to do free work I need to concentrate on finding paid work”. My answer to these has always been prove it, prove your worth someone else’s money, turn the table and think would you spend money on someone you know nothing about.

If you can get paid work from the get go then absolutely go for that every time but if that work isn’t there it isn’t going to suddenly appear out of nowhere unless you can prove to someone you’re worth spending big sums of money on. Doing whatever work I could find even if it was free gave me material to use for my portfolio to then get paid work and thats how it worked gradually the free work turned into “Luke you did a great job last time, we want to offer you £100 this time”. There is nothing better than being told what you’re doing is good and for a person to offer to pay you is really great.

So now I had the showreel and the odd paid job I wanted to take it to the next step. This step was more regular, better paid, more enriching work, work I could actually wake up and be excited for and be able to live on that work.

This is kind of where I am now, I have a decent showreel, I have contacts with companies i’ve worked with before who would like to work with me again and i’m getting fairly frequent work. So whats next for me? At the moment I am slightly torn between continuing what I am doing because once university finishes I’ll be able to except more jobs. On the other hand I have been heavily considering trying to get a job at a production company and I am deciding the pro’s and con’s of both.

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