How to find out about upcoming film projects
Finding out about upcoming projects is one of the many challenges of working freelance in film and television. Without oversimplifying, the primary way people find work in the industry is through their network of contacts. Very, very few jobs are ever advertised and rarely do productions broadcast their contact details outside of industry circles. Developing and nurturing relationships throughout the industry is absolutely vital and represents an article unto itself. However, there is hope for those people who are new to the area or fresh out of school. (On that note, your classmates in school are the beginnings of your professional network.)
The web is a useful tool for finding individual job listings, but by and large the supply outstrips the demand by a staggering number. A recent blog that has been making the rounds on social media points to some analysis in the USA of Film and TV related job postings. They found that on Linkedin, the average posting attracted more than 200 applications with many reaching beyond 600. While this may not hold true for the UK, it still serves as a reasonable illustration that you need to look further than sites which are free to join and accessible worldwide. Naturally, there are a number of UK based sites which offer job postings and ask a fee either of the applicant or the employer. We are all likely familiar with Film and TV Pro, Shooting People, Talent Circle, Production Base and Mandy. There are emerging international social network sites like Stage 32 for creative professionals, and smaller UK web communities like The Call Sheet, the Unit List and The Talent Manager. The list goes on of course, and some of these may be superseded or defunct by the time you read this. Beyond any job listings that may get posted, the real benefit to these sites is that you have a chance to interact with other people in the same situation as you and develop relationships with potential collaborators and colleagues. Getting involved in these communities expands your network and may lead to the inside knowledge about that next production.
There are other organizations which can offer you access to lists of films and television series that are in development, pre-production and production. The most ubiquitous of these is ImdbPro. With a little time spent researching, you can generate a workable list of many projects on the horizon, but the trick will be deciphering the details. Closer to home, the venerable publisher of all things film and media - The Knowledge - offers a pay service called Production Intelligence that supplies you with more detail in an easy to use format. Similarly UK Production News and Advance Production News curate lists of upcoming productions that you access on a subscription basis. Other professional bodies offer similar services to their members. BECTU for example publishes the Earlybird on a bi-monthly basis, advising its members of what’s on the horizon. Joining an organization such as BECTU may offer further benefit as you are then part of a network of professionals that offers courses, resources as well as networking opportunities - to say nothing of their efforts to improve the working conditions and training of craftspeople across the industry.
Depending on your departmental affiliation, there are also diary services and agencies to consider. A big part of the job of a good agent or diary service is to keep abreast of what’s happening in the industry. Although they may not be getting calls for work suitable for you, they will know about most projects that are in the works because of calls for their other clients. Developing a good rapport with your agent or diary service and keeping in regular contact can create leads on new work. You may need to do some legwork to turn that information into a possible job opportunity, but that goes for virtually any position that isn’t directly offered to you through your network.
This article only represents a sampling of the communities, services and organisations which offer services in this sector. Hopefully it will inspire some ideas and prove useful to you. Good luck!