How To Make A Career In Films – Part II

 In Career in Films, Film Industry, Motivation

In one of my previous blog posts, I spoke at length about How to Make a Career in Films using the conventional approach. Studying filmmaking is an ideal way to understand the art, craft and technology behind movies. However, many of us including myself have taken up the profession without a formal course or training.

If you are someone who’s looking to make a shift mid-career, then it might be a great idea to start working instead of investing a couple of more years for a degree or diploma. Formal training is important but often not possible for everyone. What are your options?

Start small

Is there a film-production company in your city/state? Try applying for an internship here and find out if you can work on any of their upcoming projects. At SP CINECORP, we encourage fresh talent and provide them plenty of opportunities to learn on the job.

And while you are on that project, do your own research. Study great films by subscribing to film libraries. Some of the world’s great films and their scripts are now accessible for students of cinema online.

Read

Filmmaking is about the art of storytelling.  The more you read about films and filmmaking, the better your exposure to the world of cinema. Some of the great auteurs have written their autobiographies and documented their process of filmmaking.

Personally, I invest a great deal in my library and read whenever I get the chance. Some books I would recommend include

  • On Directing Film by David Manet
  • The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style by Christopher Riley
  • Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood by Peter Biskind
  • Something Like an Autobiography by Akira Kurosawa
  • The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

Learn the Craft

By now you should have a fairly good idea of what it is that you want to pursue. Is it direction that drives your passion or perhaps writing? It is useful to learn the technique and craft either with a mentor or by applying for a short-term course.

You need to be versatile and cross-functionally trained to do well in the industry. For instance, directors should have insight into what makes a good cut and learn some film editing techniques. Collaborate with like-minded people and try creating film shorts. There are several short-film competitions held nationally and internationally and it might just be your ticket to Bollywood or Hollywood.

Join a film-club

Film clubs are a great way not only to learn more about cinema but to connect with like-minded people who are as passionate about the career as you. Another benefit of joining a film club is that you will find easy access to several resources for when you make your first film.

Start sharing your work

Start building your portfolio and sharing it with the world. The digitally savvy generation is privileged in the sense that if your work is good, there is every chance you will be noticed and snapped up by experts in the field.

Many great actors, directors and writers got their break by sharing their work on YouTube or Vimeo. If you have an idea, just go for it. Make it on a shoe-string budget. It is the concept that matters at this stage.

Do Commercial work

A film director once gave me an invaluable insight into the world. He took up a number of ad films, corporate videos and other type of commercial work while waiting for production houses to approve his ideas. This keeps the ball rolling and you don’t get anxious due to ‘unemployment’.

In addition to skills and talent, a career in filmmaking requires passion, grit and resilience to be patient and strike when the time is right.

To be continued….

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