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Careers in Film


Study Film

Careers in film are plentiful, but competition is fierce. Getting your foot in the door with entry level positions will help aspiring filmmakers network and make the right connections to getting a dream job, or their screenplay seen. Jobs in the film industry range from editing, directing, lighting, sound, acting, producing, writing and much more.

From the most recent fact sheet from the Motion Picture Association of America, the film industry supported 22.2 million jobs and nearly $137 billion in total wages in 2009. Possible careers in film international students can get are widely varied. Anywhere from directors to producers, writers and cameramen, jobs are available at every level.

Highest Paying Positions

There is fierce competition in Hollywood for the higher paying careers in film like writers, actors, producers, and directors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But if you can conquer your competitors, direct industry jobs earn an average salary that is 26 percent higher than the national average salary in the U.S. So what are some of the highest paying careers in film?

Writers work with other writers to create screenplays for movies or scripts for television shows, develop characters, plots and brainstorm. They also work on the set and rewrite scenes as the production goes on, adjusting details the director or producer chance.

Actors are the face of the show or movies and play the characters.

Producers are involved in pre-production jobs including funding and organizing the movie, fundraising and recruiting crew members.

Directors take over in the production stage where they direct the camera angles, shots, lighting and actors as well as instruct editors what shots they want edited.

Higher Level Positions

These higher level positions are part of a chain which entry level professionals work there way up to over years of running errands and handling deliveries.

The director of photography works closely with the director translating the screenplay into actual images. They deal with camera angles, lighting and framing.

A gaffer is responsible for all lighting set ups on the production and is responsible to the director of photography.

The key grip is responsible to the director of photography and the gaffer, and erects and moves scaffolding according to their needs, but the key grips is also responsible for their team of grips.

An editor is involved in post production and works with the director on what shots to keep and how to edit. They are precise in their work sometimes editing just seconds of a clip. Editors string the movie together.

First assistant to the director is the director's right hand man. They keep the director on schedule, run the set and are responsible for organizing the extras and sets.

Entry Level Positions

But international students fresh out of a program in film can't expect to start off at the top. Networking is the key to getting a higher paying, more glamorous career in the film industry. So how can you connect with successful professionals, as well as gain experience?

Becoming an intern will give you both. Just remember that many internships are unpaid.

Getting a job as a personal assistant to a film professional can also give you an up close view of what goes on in the film industry. Just be prepared to work hard, get coffee and run errands.

Every movie or show needs a set and someone to help construct it. Being part of a set construction crew is a great way to meet professionals and learn the ins and outs of the set.

Best boy grip is the assistant to the Key grip and assists with equipment, supplies and errands.

Even a receptionist job allows you to talk to important people as you connect them with people with whom they need to speak.

Another entry-level job in the film industry is that of production assistant. Being a production assistant require a bit more skill and entails assisting the directors with sets, deliveries, script copies and picking up lunch.

There are many more careers in film available. But staying persistent, leaving your ego at home and the willingness to work irregular hours can open doors to the higher level jobs in film international students seek.


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