The film and TV industry has got to be one of the hardest for getting your foot in the door. Whether you are straight out of university, training or just fancy a career change, chances are you will have to start at the bottom and slowly work your way up. If you are attending film school ask your tutors to pass your details to any industry contacts they may have, or ask if you can contact them directly to gain some work experience. Work experience is almost unavoidable when you are just starting out in the industry.
When applying for work experience make sure you know a bit about the production company, try to find the name of a specific person to contact and then send them a copy of your CV and always follow up with a phone call. Production companies receive hundreds of CVs every day, so try to contact the right person with a short and relevant cover letter. You can pop into production companies and hand in a hard copy of your CV. Don't get disheartened if you don't hear back from the first few, persistence and luck are just as important as each other.
For other production companies please check on their websites if they offer work experience and check the relevant contact details.
Work experience can often lead to an entry level position, such as a film production runner jobs in a company. As a runner you can learn a lot about the various departments involved in the making of a film or TV programme. It is the most popular way of taking the first step on the film/TV career ladder. As a runner you can experience various aspects of filmmaking and if you take the initiative you can learn plenty of new skills from the professionals around you.
However, the most important benefit of being a runner or undertaking work experience are the contacts you make. Therefore it is very important to leave a good impression, remain enthusiastic even in early morning rainy shoots, remain calm, approachable and polite. Initiative and efficiency are also key to being called back to help on future shoots.
This industry is very much about who you know, hence sites such as Mandy Crew are very useful in finding new contacts or re-locating old ones. Ask those with experience for advice and once you have worked with someone ask them to recommend you on the site.
Check the film and TV jobs section on Mandy Crew and start applying.