If you don’t have film experience yet, any work experience that shows you have stamina, a strong work ethic, service orientation, and most importantly, excellent soft skills (attitude, team-orientation, people skills, dependability etc.) would make a great fit for the motion picture industry. For instance, people with hospitality backgrounds tend to transition into film successfully because of those qualities. Collect some good character and work references for your resume. If you have a car, mention that youll be working strange and long hours in far-flung places and having your own transportation is an important bonus.
You can learn more about the journey in a below-the-line career here.
ENTRY REQUIRES INITIATIVE
Be thorough. Look for possible opportunities in commercials, corporate videos, digital content, music videos, short films and student films. Volunteer work is invaluable when you dont have work experience it helps build your resume and it provides important contacts that may lead to paid work in the future. However, be clear about what you re agreeing to, what you re doing and who you re working with.
- Consider the world of commercials to build your experience and expertise as it isn’t unionized there are a handful of companies producing commercials in the lower mainland, most are listed on the CPAWC website.
- Investigate working at a production equipment rental house that supplies the department that you re interested in to learn more and expand your network.
If you self-identify as being a person from an underrepresented group, you may want to consider Creative Pathways’ Setwork. Setwork opportunities are announced on the Creative Pathways opportunities page and the website. Sign-up for alerts through our newsletter so you don’t miss out!
Entry-level work in production on larger big budget shows is generally as a production assistant (PA) in the locations department or the production office.
- See a visual guide to the Unions and Guilds career pathways created for a Labour Market Study undertaken by Creative BC with all of these organizations and published in 2019.
- Contact BCPAX – British Columbia Production Assistant Exchange, which is a network of support and connection between PAs and employers. They also help people who are working to connect with the department they would like to join, manage the website BCPAX and are in the process of launching an app called Crew Call, intended for all departments in the industry.
- Importantly, the DGC-BC (Directors Guild of Canada BC District Council) is a key entry point for those looking to enter the workforce. General information on the types of roles is available on their website and you can learn about the Entry Permittee Logbook Holder Program there. The Directors Guild of Canada, BC Chapter also posts a PA manual and survival guides.
- Being an extra/background performer can also be a good introduction to working on set, too. UBCP/ACTRA is the place to learn more! You can also learnmore about background performing here
Regarding jobs, you can look for jobs in a few ways, below are some links to consider. Be aware that the postings are not vetted and it’s wise to ask questions before committing to anything.
Resumes for the motion picture industry look different from a standard resume. If you are unfamiliar with the format, examples of resumes can be found on union websites. Some positions will also require a portfolio/demo reel.
There a lot to understand in the world of motion picture production so stay positive, alert and humble, be patient and curious, listen carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand how or why you re doing something. There no such thing as a stupid question when you re starting out. Locations PA are often the ambassadors of the film industry in the greater community as they are generally the first point of contact for the public, however everyone who works in film on location are essential ambassadors in all of the communities we work in. So, get to know as much as you can about your role and the impact of production in order to be a positive representative for both production and crew.