I am a film and television production junior. That doesn’t make me a guru in the entertainment industry or even a full-out “professional” quite yet, but I have advice and stories to tell. That being said, if you are considering joining the entertainment industry, especially through the great complex realm that is filmmaking, this is the article for you! (So keep on reading!)
For a bit of good ol’ back story, I should mention that I made some video and film projects throughout middle and high school and had a great passion for all things storytelling (writing, art, theater, music, dance…you name it!) growing up since the start. It wasn’t until half way through junior year of high school that it dawned on me that filmmaking was a career path and storytelling in various ways could be pursued. Long story short, I made the best decision of my life and started my post high school life in sunny Los Angeles (but I prefer calling it LA).
But enough backstory…if you too are considering this path or a similar one and you’re realizing that there is both too much and too little information about it online (trust me, I’ve been there!), then here are some of my tips, tricks, and anecdotes to help you out.
If you have made some videos before or just really love filmmaking as an art medium, then passion is the key element of what you do! If you are in the biz for the fame and/or big money, you are probably better off doing something else. While fame and money is nice, you should be making art for the right reasons (like connecting with others and self-fulfillment).
Finding the Path
Filmmaking doesn’t have a right or wrong path. It is simply your journey to figure out what you like and go for it! Film school is a great opportunity to learn, experience, grow, and network. It also provides a place where you can “fail” without the reprecautions of the “real world”, which will keep such issues from happening in the future. Having experience, leverage, and first hand knowledge is incredibly important.
Communication Over Competition
Filmmaking is a realm of communicating and networking among others. Collaboration is incredibly key. Avoid competition and isolation as much as possible. Keep organized and stay in touch with those you know. Sure, you may PA (production assistant) on one set but that set is filled with people who work various positions on other sets. Believe it or not, the entertainment industry is a small world. The more people you know, the more opportunities are presented. After all, art is by people, for people.
Infinite Opportunities, Open Mind
Keeping an open mind to various avenues within the entertainment industry adds value to your talents. Yes, if you have one specific job you love, that’s great, but those who get the most amount of work are those with the most varied abilities. Cinematographer one day, director the next, sound mixer another…even working in some acting here and there defines more skills you possess, but also, more opportunities to work and meet people along the way.
Glitz & Glam
For the record, the big ol’ Hollywood stereotypes of glam and glitz may be real on some level, but there is work, thinking, deadlines, and a lot more than what meets the eye. Not everything you see in the magazines, online, or on tv is anything close to reality. There is so much more to the story. But yeah, even if you are like me and hit the incredibly cinema trope of “small town girl moves to big city LA with great dreams”, there is a lot of new understanding but a ton of fun. For the record, even in times of chaos and stress, I absolutely love and adore this lifestyle and I know it is perfect for me. Dreams really do come true!
Art is Power
Filmmaking is a form of art and art can be used to not only express one’s self, but to connect with others. The importance of art stems on the impact that it makes and filmmaking is an incredibly powerful medium that can be used to not only entertain the world, but to help better shape it as well.
As you go about, here are some programs/accessories I recommend to the serious film student…
- External mic (DSLR’s internal mics aren’t all that great since they focus on image)
- Script program (whether you are a screenwriter or not, you will write scripts!) *Adobe Story & Final Draft are great.
- Editing program (same thing here) *I personally love the Adobe CC set up! Premiere, After Effects, & Photoshop are amazing.
- Tripod/Camera Bag/Camera Shoe/Headphones
- Notebook for ideas
- Laptop that works well for editing
- External hard drive(s) for space (video files take up a ton!)
- Have a Vimeo & YouTube. When you get more professional experience, IMDB pro helps too.
Additional tips and advice…
- Keep creating. You will get better skilled through experience.
- Stay organized on your computer and in your mind.
- Learn the details of video specs. For example, frame rates go as following:
- 24fps – classic film look
- 30fps – television and web
- 60fps – typical vlog
- Keep an open mind and explore different areas of filmmaking and creativity.
- Pre-production is incredibly important to focus on. Production depends on it and the communication of the crew. Post-production is what makes it all worth while. EVERY PART IS IMPORTANT!
That being said, I wish you the best of luck in the world of filmmaking. As always, if you have any additional questions/comments/thoughts, please leave a comment below and/or tweet me @sarahfhamilton. You can see some of my film work at the following links:
*This post is not sponsored!