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What to Do with your newly acquired skills
Presented by Fred Ginsburg CAS PhD
 Cold mailing will NOT get you any work!
 Job offers come from co-worker
recommendations or networking.
 Resumes should...
 Expect to create customized resumes for
each job position that you apply for.
 Hollywood does not believe in the Jack o...
 At the top of your resume, present your name
and contact information.
 Phone
 Email (keep it professional); Website
 ...
 Be as specific as you can about what position
you are applying for.
 Examples: Production Sound Mixer, Assistant
Camera...
 If you belong to a union, show your union &
local number, classification, and status.
 Example: International Alliance ...
 Or could be “ADDITIONAL AREAS OF
PROFESSIONAL EMPHASIS”
 Summarize your other tech skills & prod
skills, besides your s...
 List employment, full or p.t. that support your
specialization.
 Create a summary listing for FREELANCE, if
applicable....
You might embellish what
you have done, but never
exaggerate what you know
how to do!
 List college degrees in descending order.
 Indicate college, city/state, years attended.
 Show the degree earned and m...
 In our industry, no one really cares about
your basic education.
 They just want to know that you finished
college and ...
 No one cares about your student film
experiences, unless you won a major award.
 Show titles and production companies o...
 May need to creatively embellish.
 Choose title similar to MOV or B-movies.
 Never claim credit on a real production t...
 Pay close attention to time constraints and
academic schedule.
 When did you find the time to work on all
these product...
 List any publications or blogs that you have
published.
 List any awards that you have won.
 Create some minor awards ...
 List membership in professional associations
such as SMPTE, CAS, MPSE, LAPPG, SOC, ACE,
NAB, ITVA, UFVA, etc.
 Organiza...
 This is the tag line that ends your resume.
 No need to list references unless they are
major players and well recogniz...
 Your completed resume can be one or two
pages in length. Even three pages, if the
content warrants it.
 But generally t...
 Best deal is VistaPrint.com
 Avoid small fonts that are hard to read
 Avoid dark backgrounds that you cannot
write not...
 When networking a busy venue such as a
tradeshow or festival, VIP’s are deluged by
students and wanna-be’s.
 Stand out ...
 Don’t be just another fan.
 Never ask for an autograph.
 Ask well structured questions based on in-
depth research.
 ...
 Film festivals are a chance to see movies a
few weeks before the rest of us.
 You may spot a Star or a major player, bu...
 Learn the new technology.
 Meet dealers and factory reps whom you can
contact in the future for info, training, etc.
 ...
 Remember your “signature look”, so that
people may recognize you later on.
 Bring water & snacks to the exhibit hall.
...
 Preregister EARLY for trade shows. Most
shows offer free registration to Exhibit Halls.
 Last minute registration costs...
 Rental Houses
 Non-profits (medical, charities)
 Government (police, fire, water & power,
transportation, council offi...
 Best way to learn current technology.
 Meet professional end-users and producers
who come to rent equipment.
 Become t...
 These organizations are more concerned about
getting things done than impressing big money
clients. More likely to let y...
 Join relevant associations as student member.
 Attend monthly meetings to network and
learn new technology.
 Arrive ea...
 Planning Committee goes around town to
seek companies to host future meetings.
 Excellent excuse to visit any company a...
 Always in need of content.
 Chance for you to be “published”. (And that
allows you to get an agent.)
 Excuse to visit ...
 Promise to bring in a copy of your draft and
let them check it for accuracy or unintended
revelations.
 After the work ...
 Aka Contributing Writer or Contributing
Editor
 Write articles for the leading trade magazines.
Great way to get publis...
 Usually, one or another of the trades will be
interested. You may have to tweak the article
to fit their magazine style....
 Never put people on the spot by handing them
your business card or resume and hitting them
up for work.
 Instead, flatt...
 First, go to the company and SCOUT the place
out.
 How is the Receptionist dressed? Level of
dress reflects the boss’s ...
 Go home and research the company as well
as its key people. What is the company best
known for? Any awards, inventions,
...
 When it comes time for your face to face
interview, dress appropriately. About one
level up from what you observed.
 Tu...
 The trick is to gradually flip the interview so
that you are asking the questions and the
interviewer is eager to answer...
 Too many internships are just excuses for
near-free labor and exploitation.
 Interns should have the opportunity to
obs...
 Find your own internship by seeking out
someone in the industry.
 Meet these individuals at the monthly meetings,
or se...
 If they agree, then see the correct person at
the college to work out the paperwork.
 By creating your own Internship, ...
 Do not waste an opportunity by applying too
prematurely for a potential internship.
 Wait until you are close to gradua...
 Deferred means FREE.
 Sure, they always promise to pay you after
the film makes money, but it almost never
happens.
 W...
 Never lay out or advance any personal money
for the benefit of the production company,
except for equipment you might pu...
 Make sure that you have your return airline ticket
in hand, BEFORE you leave for the location. Verify
that it is valid a...
 Get all your promises and assurances in writing.
If you are forced to use your own credit card to
cover “additional char...
 Always assume that the Production Company
has no real money behind them, and will try
as hard as possible to shoot this ...
 Think of yourself as a character in a script…
 What attributes would a potential employer
be looking for?
 Skills? Exp...
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Getting Started in the Industry

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Advice to students about to graduate and looking to get started in the film industry. Guide to creating your resume, how to network and get noticed, making the most of trade shows and film festivals, creating your own internship, and how to survive working deferred on your first films.

Published in: Education, Career, Business
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Getting Started in the Industry

  1. 1. What to Do with your newly acquired skills Presented by Fred Ginsburg CAS PhD
  2. 2.  Cold mailing will NOT get you any work!  Job offers come from co-worker recommendations or networking.  Resumes should not reveal everything; they should only present enough information to invite questions…  Think of them as a TEASER AD CAMPAIGN.
  3. 3.  Expect to create customized resumes for each job position that you apply for.  Hollywood does not believe in the Jack of All Trades approach.  Choose a specific skill and tweak your resume to best reflect your qualifications and experience in that area.
  4. 4.  At the top of your resume, present your name and contact information.  Phone  Email (keep it professional); Website  Mailing address (for personal security reasons, try to avoid your real street address if you own lots of gear or are female). PO Boxes are great, or c/o local business, etc.  Discarded resumes are often picked up by nefarious persons looking for vulnerable actresses!
  5. 5.  Be as specific as you can about what position you are applying for.  Examples: Production Sound Mixer, Assistant Camera, Sound Editing, Assistant Editor  Never just imply… “Any Entry Level Position Available”  If you cannot list a specific position, at least show a department or category, such as “Post Production”
  6. 6.  If you belong to a union, show your union & local number, classification, and status.  Example: International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Local 695, Y-1 Production Sound Mixer, Group 1.  Warning: Although display of union status will enable you to obtain work on a union show, it will discourage non-union producers from hiring you.  Consider having two versions of your resume.
  7. 7.  Or could be “ADDITIONAL AREAS OF PROFESSIONAL EMPHASIS”  Summarize your other tech skills & prod skills, besides your specialization.  Don’t get overly specific and list every camera or software program.  Add any special skills/hobbies that would be relevant to the position and be an asset to the production, such as PADI scuba or equestrian, foreign language.
  8. 8.  List employment, full or p.t. that support your specialization.  Create a summary listing for FREELANCE, if applicable. Do not list every gig!  Do not show jobs that were not relevant to your profession. Feel free to “tweak” job descriptions where applicable to sound more professional and relevant.  Okay to list internships.
  9. 9. You might embellish what you have done, but never exaggerate what you know how to do!
  10. 10.  List college degrees in descending order.  Indicate college, city/state, years attended.  Show the degree earned and major.  List any awards or special ranks.  Embellish within reason. Dean’s List, Dept Honors, (Greek) cinema honors societies, etc.  Sounds impressive and usually not on transcript.  Only list high school if special academic degrees or relevant awards. Otherwise, no one cares.
  11. 11.  In our industry, no one really cares about your basic education.  They just want to know that you finished college and were a good student.  Hollywood does not trust your college taught skills, since so many film schools are a sham.  It’s not about the transcripts, but about what skills you can really bring to the table in order to be a productive employee.
  12. 12.  No one cares about your student film experiences, unless you won a major award.  Show titles and production companies of films you worked on.  Indicate nature of project, such as 35mm feature, commercial, corp, pilot, MOV, etc.  Capacity in which you worked: Sound Mixer, Boom, 2nd Asst Cam, etc.  Most credits should reflect or relate to your specialization.
  13. 13.  May need to creatively embellish.  Choose title similar to MOV or B-movies.  Never claim credit on a real production that you did not work on! People find out.  Good to list industrial or corp credits. Mundane training films are common and impossible to verify credits, yet show good experience.
  14. 14.  Pay close attention to time constraints and academic schedule.  When did you find the time to work on all these productions? Do not overdo it.  If you list (student) productions, then make them read as (professional) productions.  At end of this category, insert a disclaimer that in addition to all of the above, you also worked on numerous STUDENT films. No one cares, but lends credibility to your pro credits.
  15. 15.  List any publications or blogs that you have published.  List any awards that you have won.  Create some minor awards that you or a film worked on won. Small community or ethnic film festivals, perhaps. Second Place or Honorable Mention are more humble and less likely to be suspect.
  16. 16.  List membership in professional associations such as SMPTE, CAS, MPSE, LAPPG, SOC, ACE, NAB, ITVA, UFVA, etc.  Organizations should be relevant to the industry.  Okay to list them, even if you are a student or associate member.  Indicate any positions or committees.
  17. 17.  This is the tag line that ends your resume.  No need to list references unless they are major players and well recognized by name.  Even Al Capone could list some references, so just names of professors or minor employers have no clout.
  18. 18.  Your completed resume can be one or two pages in length. Even three pages, if the content warrants it.  But generally try to keep it down to two.  Format is up to you, so long as it is graphically neat and consistent.  Make sure that it is arranged logical and easy to read. Avoid super small type that may be hard to discern without a magnifier!
  19. 19.  Best deal is VistaPrint.com  Avoid small fonts that are hard to read  Avoid dark backgrounds that you cannot write notes on  Include a photo so people can associate your face to the name  Keep the back side blank to accommodate notes
  20. 20.  When networking a busy venue such as a tradeshow or festival, VIP’s are deluged by students and wanna-be’s.  Stand out and be memorable by creating a signature look for yourself. A unique style of wardrobe or accessories that serves as your “look”. Wear that same “look” every day, so that VIP’s will remember you from the days before and associate your business card with you.  Fred Ginsburg wears a cowboy hat which is easily spotted and recognizable at NAB and NAMM.
  21. 21.  Don’t be just another fan.  Never ask for an autograph.  Ask well structured questions based on in- depth research.  Don’t expect a job offer or invitation; but ask if you can contact the VIP after the event to follow up on your conversation.
  22. 22.  Film festivals are a chance to see movies a few weeks before the rest of us.  You may spot a Star or a major player, but odds are against any serious conversations.  Interning at Festivals usually involves being hidden behind the scenes and menial labor.  Unless your film is being screened, they are rarely productive to your career.
  23. 23.  Learn the new technology.  Meet dealers and factory reps whom you can contact in the future for info, training, etc.  Always introduce yourself to people standing around you at the booths; they are end-users and potential employers.  Don’t try to see everything; it is not a scavenger hunt.  Spend lots of time in a few booths so that you can really learn something useful.
  24. 24.  Remember your “signature look”, so that people may recognize you later on.  Bring water & snacks to the exhibit hall.  Many vendors host hospitality suites up in the local hotels.  Avoid the large “everyone’s invited” after- parties; they are noisy & crowded.  Instead, seek out the smaller “users groups” functions; more likely to learn stuff & network with new people.
  25. 25.  Preregister EARLY for trade shows. Most shows offer free registration to Exhibit Halls.  Last minute registration costs a fee.  Never book a hotel with a travel site. Instead, reserve directly with the hotel.  Hotels will match internet pricing.  Hotels will allow cancellations up to 24 or 48 hrs before, without any cancellation fee!  If you cancel or change hotels, no problem!
  26. 26.  Rental Houses  Non-profits (medical, charities)  Government (police, fire, water & power, transportation, council offices)
  27. 27.  Best way to learn current technology.  Meet professional end-users and producers who come to rent equipment.  Become trained on the hardware.  If no immediate openings, offer to come in for FREE in order to observe and be trained in procedures and protocols. Eventually, the rental house will need someone to fill in for an absent employee or help out during busy days, and you are the prime person to use!
  28. 28.  These organizations are more concerned about getting things done than impressing big money clients. More likely to let you get immediate hands-on experience.  Your level of expertise may be equal to theirs, so your opinions tend to be respected.  Many filmmakers in the dept came up from the ranks, and are not college trained (in film). Allows you to stand out.  Great opportunity to learn what really goes on in police, fire, hospital, etc. for mastering the genre.
  29. 29.  Join relevant associations as student member.  Attend monthly meetings to network and learn new technology.  Arrive early so you can help set up.  Greet the members and introduce yourself.  Eventually, volunteer for the Newsletter/Journal or the Planning Committee.
  30. 30.  Planning Committee goes around town to seek companies to host future meetings.  Excellent excuse to visit any company and speak directly to the boss!  Companies love to promote themselves to their peers. You will be warmly received.
  31. 31.  Always in need of content.  Chance for you to be “published”. (And that allows you to get an agent.)  Excuse to visit any company and meet with the boss. Everyone wants publicity.  Choose your subject so that it is relevant to YOUR GOALS.  Explain that you are not writing an expose and do not intend to make your subject look bad. Out to make friends in the business!
  32. 32.  Promise to bring in a copy of your draft and let them check it for accuracy or unintended revelations.  After the work is published, be the first to bring them copies of the printed piece.
  33. 33.  Aka Contributing Writer or Contributing Editor  Write articles for the leading trade magazines. Great way to get published and get your name recognized.  Always choose your own subjects; don’t take editorial assignments that will waste too much of your time. Magazines barely pay.  After you complete your draft, shotgun it around to the various editors and see if anyone wants to run with it.
  34. 34.  Usually, one or another of the trades will be interested. You may have to tweak the article to fit their magazine style.  After publication, get a stack of copies from the magazine and take them to the people you wrote about.  Sometimes you can collect fees from both ends: the company or mfr that you wrote about; and the magazine publisher.
  35. 35.  Never put people on the spot by handing them your business card or resume and hitting them up for work.  Instead, flatter them and tell them how respected they are in the industry, and ask them if they might know of anyone who might be hiring someone like yourself.  If they have a job for you, they will offer it at that point. If they do not have an opening, then they might steer you in the right direction, or even make a phone call introduction on your behalf.
  36. 36.  First, go to the company and SCOUT the place out.  How is the Receptionist dressed? Level of dress reflects the boss’s expectations.  Go to the restroom and hang out. How are the employees dressed? Check out the hallways.  Check out the company BRAG WALL. What are the plaques and certificates about? Awards, community involvement, hobbies.
  37. 37.  Go home and research the company as well as its key people. What is the company best known for? Any awards, inventions, technologies?  Key people: Who are they and what do they do? What companies did they work for previously? What accomplishments are they known for?
  38. 38.  When it comes time for your face to face interview, dress appropriately. About one level up from what you observed.  Turn your cell phone completely OFF. Not even on vibrate. No distractions!!!!!!!  Answer the question, and then finish your answer with a question! Your questions should reflect that you did your homework and know about the achievements of the company and its staff.
  39. 39.  The trick is to gradually flip the interview so that you are asking the questions and the interviewer is eager to answer them.  At the end of the session, even though the interviewer did most of the talking, they will consider it to be a most productive session and think highly of you.  Above all, they will be very impressed that you knew about their company, key employees, and accomplishments!
  40. 40.  Too many internships are just excuses for near-free labor and exploitation.  Interns should have the opportunity to observe the inner workings; not to be the office bitch.  Unpaid Internships are far more likely to be learning and mentoring opportunities.  Paid Interns are expected to earn their keep by doing all the crap work.
  41. 41.  Find your own internship by seeking out someone in the industry.  Meet these individuals at the monthly meetings, or seek them out on the internet.  Flatter them, and ask if you could visit them on the set or in their studio.  Once they let you come out and watch them at work, ask them nicely if they could sponsor you for an Internship with them. Point out that it would not cost them a penny, and that you would be willing to assist them the best you could.
  42. 42.  If they agree, then see the correct person at the college to work out the paperwork.  By creating your own Internship, you will maximize your time spent in the studio or learning from your mentor.  Except for the biggest names in the industry, most professionals are flattered to have a student ask to learn from them.  Your mentors will also introduce you to the other departments on the set, so that you can hang out with them as well.
  43. 43.  Do not waste an opportunity by applying too prematurely for a potential internship.  Wait until you are close to graduation, so that you bring your best skills & knowledge.  And… if the internship works out so well that they offer you employment – you do not want to have to choose between a tempting job offer or finishing college!
  44. 44.  Deferred means FREE.  Sure, they always promise to pay you after the film makes money, but it almost never happens.  Work deferred for the experience and the opportunity –not for the money!
  45. 45.  Never lay out or advance any personal money for the benefit of the production company, except for equipment you might purchase for yourself and charge rental for.  Never use your credit card as security deposit for hotel, airfare, rental car, or anything that is supposed to be PAID by the production company. If they flake, you get stuck with the bill!
  46. 46.  Make sure that you have your return airline ticket in hand, BEFORE you leave for the location. Verify that it is valid and fully paid.  Have a written contract (deal memo) that spells out how much you will be paid, and when.  Make sure that you will be paid at the same time as cash investors… pari passu  Your investment of time & energy is just as valuable as their cash!  Your deferred payment should be way higher than your normal salary, since it is a gamble.
  47. 47.  Get all your promises and assurances in writing. If you are forced to use your own credit card to cover “additional charges” to your room, then get it in writing (from the hotel) that your card can only be charged for your own personal charges and NOT for the basic room charges nor any production company charges.  If you bill the production company anything for expendables, rentals, etc. – demand payment at time of invoice. Do not extend terms (end of week, end of month, so on.)
  48. 48.  Always assume that the Production Company has no real money behind them, and will try as hard as possible to shoot this film on “credit” or fraud.  Be wary; be paranoid. History has taught us that although some producers are honest & sincere, there are many out there who are not to be trusted.  Try to investigate the principals of the production company and determine their reputation around town.
  49. 49.  Think of yourself as a character in a script…  What attributes would a potential employer be looking for?  Skills? Experience? Confidence?  Demeanor? Wardrobe?  Attitude?  Become that character in real life!

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