You’ve been bitten by the bug. You don’t know when it happened, maybe that time on the Universal Studios tour, or when production rented your parents front yard to serve lunch while shooting on your street, or perhaps it was when you watched the film “The Artist." It doesn’t matter how or when really, you just know that you have this calling and that working in television is where you belong and you just can’t shake it. Believe me, I know the feeling well!
So now what? Go back and get a film degree? Work in the mailroom at an agency? Move back in with your parents or use your life savings so you can work for free at the biggest studio in town?
Sure, all of those are possible avenues for getting your foot in the production door and, despite what you may have heard, many roads lead to a career in television. I want to encourage you to follow your dreams and help dispel a few limiting beliefs you may have about how to get there.
It’s not who you know: It’s how inspired and determined you are. Yes, meeting people who are in the business can help you gain experience and it doesn’t hurt if you are introduced to a successful producer who enjoys mentoring people but it is just one of the paths to a possible TV future. Spend time networking and meeting people but don’t forget that getting your start is up to you.
“Never say never” is not just a Justin Bieber song: Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission to make your film, write your screenplay, or produce that web series. It no longer takes expensive equipment to make a series or a film so shoot it on your cell phone if you have to but let the creative juices flow. Use the internet to find the resources and the distribution you need and call “Action!”
You don’t have to have a pedigree: There are tons of famous directors that didn’t go to film school, Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, Julie Taymor and John Waters to name a few. “Trying to make a feature film yourself with no money is the best film school you can do,” Tarantino told students during a master class at the Cannes Film Festival. Learn from your experience and use that to come one step closer to your goal.
If you do want to try a more traditional model of working yourself into production from the ground up, (worked for me) check out this link for an honest look at the life of a PA. And if you’re interested in entering the PA world with an advantage, you might consider attending a training program for production assistants.
See you on set.