So you are sick of the job that you have and want to get paid to follow your passion of videography? I understand. I really do. And trust me, it isn't that easy - but it can be done.
I'm not saying that I have the answer, but I will give you some tips that have helped me up until this point.
Where to start
Starting is the easy thing for sure. To begin, you should make a CV. In fact if you don't already have one then I am worried. It's annoyed to start but it will be worth it.
CUT TO: Now you have all your information on your word document that you have saved as 'My CV' - Mainly because you forget how to spell curriculum vitae. Don't feel bad - I had to spell check it for the previous sentence.
You must ask yourself one question - 'is it on one page?'. If not then get straight back there and edit it until you have it down to one page. No excuses! Widen those borders. Make that text smaller. You will thank me later!
Your CV is done - Close it (but don't forget to update it in the future).
Places to apply:
The next stage is where it starts to get harder. You could have the most immaculate CV in the world, but if no one is looking at it then why did you bother making it? Precisely.
But where should you start applying? Who should you send you CV to? Here are a few ideas start you off:
- Print a load of copies - If there are any production companies in the area, why not leave in a copy of your CV and see what it gets you. The worst that could happen is that they put it in the bin (and I am sure they won't do this in front of you - but if they do then you probably don't want to work there).
- Email production companies - Do a Google search for 'Production companies near me'. Google will figure out where you are and will give you names, websites and email address of plenty of points of contact. Write a little email about why you would like to work there (keep it simple but specific to that company) and attach you CV to the email.
Other places to apply
Here are a few other option that you may find are a little more useful.
- Gumtree - To this day I am still surprised that I found my full time job making videos through Gumtree. I too was surprised to find that it is not just a place to rent a house or buy a pet (of which I have done both on the same site). So look under the jobs section for 'Media, Design & Creative' and then narrow it down to what you want.
- Job sites - Make sure you look in the right sections. Media or production. Also, if you want to be a video editor, I would advise not searching for 'editor jobs'. You will end up applying for editor jobs - subbing written work. Sounds silly but 'video editor' is not an easy job to find. Try searching for a job based on the program you know - 'Jobs for video editor Final Cut Pro'.
- BBC/Sky/ITV/Channel 4 - All of these much loved organisations have job listing sites thankfully. The worst part is that they are not the easiest ways to apply. You will have to enter and re-renter each and every one of your details and then answer rather specific questions within a few hundred words. I can't really say that is a bad thing, however if you are not 100% about the job you are applying for, you will find that you get bored fast. Especially when you have already answered the same 'Why do you want to work here' questions a few dozen times.
- ProductionBase - So this is the paid option if all else fails. I don't suggest getting this right away - at least not until you have applied for plenty of jobs through the other suggestions above. Its not a huge price to pay but it soon adds up if you are sitting on it for a long time. Lets just say in 6 months of using the service I applied for at least 100 things and got a handful of interviews - That may say more about me than the site.
- Mandy.com - This is a great, free site to apply for production jobs. They have both paid and un-paid positions, as well as everything from a few hours work, to a career. Definitely worth checking out to see what is available in your area.
- More - Have any suggestions? Comment below with your thoughts - or perhaps tell me where you found your job.
As much as possible. And then some more. You want to make sure that you know just about everything you need to know. That doesn't mean you need to know everything.
I once spent the whole day before an interview watching how-to videos on Avid Media Composer as I was certain that they would ask me questions about it. As I had never really used it before, I was basically preparing myself to edit with the program after launching it for the first time during an interview. Sounds like a step too far? That's where you are wrong. The next day they said 'so you could import a tape to Avid if we went and set you up at a computer'. And having watched about 10 hours of videos the day before, I was rather confident that I could do it. Thankfully they believed me and no practical skills were required. (p.s I didn't get that job).
In other words - bring all the experiences you have to the table. Make sure that if you do get an interview, you are mentioning the things you learned on your first short film - or when you spent a day shooting a wedding and taught yourself how to stay motivated. Or maybe you tell them you know how a program works without having used it yourself - it all counts.
I guess the moral of the story is, be prepared. The more places you apply for, the more likely you will get something out of it. Even if it forces you to learn something new to impress them - you now have that skill.
Apply, apply, apply - then apply some more. Then eventually consider a paid service, but seriously don't think that means you will get something from it.
Plenty more tips to come, but for now I just want to thank you for reading this and I hope you found it in some way helpful. Who knows, some of the steps above might help you towards a career in 'the industry' (a term I hate). And if it does help - I want some/all of the credit.
Comments of useful things (or things I missed out) are very welcome.
And finally... good luck!