How To Get Into The Film Industry: 3 Crew Jobs To Get You Started

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how to get into the film industry
6 min read

Do you dream about working in films? I do too. The film industry is one of the most happening industries out there, and everybody on some level wants to be a part of it.  You might think it’s hard for someone to get in front of the camera, but getting behind it is even harder. If you’re an aspiring director, writer or cinematographer, read this article because I’m going to answer your questions on how to get into the film industry and kick start your career. 

Firstly, What Is  A Film Crew?

Making a film is not a one-person or ten-person job. It is a highly collaborative activity that requires participation from 50 to 100+ people, depending on the size of the project. A film crew is a group of people from different technical backgrounds, hired by a production company or an independent filmmaker for their services to make a feature film. 

A film crew consists of professionals from various units such as direction, costume, makeup, script, camera, production, stunts, art direction, sound, and electrical. Joining a film crew is a great place to get started if you wish to make a career in filmmaking. Here are five crew jobs that can help you begin your journey in the cinematic arts. 

how to get into the film industry

Production Assistant

The role of a production assistant, or  PA  might sound like a small-time job, but it isn’t. It is actually the perfect place for anyone with no prior experience in filmmaking to begin their career in this industry. 

Production assistants, theoretically, come under the production department, but they end up working for all the major departments on a film set and do whatever needs to be done to make sure the shooting schedule runs smoothly. They basically do what no one else has the time to do. And as insignificant as it might sound, this actually allows production assistants to work under all the important people and learn from them by shadowing them around the set. 

After gathering a bit of experience, production assistants can scale their way to the top in any department of their choice, which can include direction, script, camera, set design, and production. If you want to get into the film industry with no experience this is where you can start.

Production assistant income: 

The average annual salary of a production assistant according to Payscale is 2.3 lacs and can go above 5 lacs. 

Assistant Director

As the name suggests, an assistant director, aka AD, is someone who operates in the direction department and works very closely with the director of the film. They are responsible for the smooth operation of the project, starting from pre-production to post, and they also act as a medium of communication between the director and the cast and crew. 

There are mainly three types of ADs. The second-second AD, the second AD, and the first AD. The best way to become an AD is to start off as a production assistant, but if you have a few good short films and projects under your belt, then you may be able to skip that part and directly start as a second AD. 

how to get into the film industry

This is a great crew job for anyone who wants to get into the film industry and aspires to become a film director one day. Here, you not only get to shadow the director and learn how to direct but are also exposed to the whole process of filmmaking and get to experience how a script is brought to the screen. 

Assistant Camera

The assistant camera or the AC is a professional who works with cameras, usually very closely with the director of photography. Their main responsibilities include operating the camera’s focus ring to make sure the right subject is always in focus even while moving around. They keep the camera rolling and coordinate instructions from the DOP to the camera operators. 

There are two types of assistant camera:

  • 1st assistant camera 
  • 2nd assistant camera
how to get into the film industry

This job is great for camera enthusiasts who want to get into the film industry. To become an assistant camera you need to have an overall working knowledge of how cinematic cameras work and their related equipment. The best way to start is to build a good portfolio and work as a camera operator in films or related projects. Once you’ve made your way to 1st assistant camera you can closely shadow the DOP while you work. With enough time and hard work, you can become a cinematographer yourself. 

Assistant camera income:

AC’s on average can earn up to 1,500 INR per hour and it can go up to more than INR4000 based on the project budget and experience.

Where To Look And Get Your First Crew Job

There is no said way to find a crew job on a film set. These kinds of jobs are not posted on job portals and are not advertised in the ‘classified’ section of a newspaper. 

The best way to find crew jobs on a film set is to join Facebook and LinkedIn groups dedicated to filmmaking and film jobs. A lot of opportunities are posted there. Keep visiting studios to see if they’re hiring, but it mostly depends on your skills and your network.

Focus On Building Your Network

It is really important to build a strong network if you want to survive in this industry. Keep meeting and talking to people working on film sets. You can also make a note of the people from a film’s credit sequence, follow them on social media, and try connecting with them for insights to help you begin your career in the film industry.  If you have strong connections and a network of good people, you will always have work in your hands. 

Don’t Forget To Work On Your Art As Well

If you’re an aspiring director, writer, producer, or cinematographer, while you look for crew jobs and work on film sets, don’t forget to focus on your art in your free time. Collaborate with other aspiring filmmakers and make short films. This will add to your portfolio and help you improve your skills. 

Send your short films to film festivals, both national and international. Festivals are a great palace for aspiring filmmakers to find their big break. 

And that’s it – Now you know about the important crew jobs that can help you get into the film industry. 

You’re invited! Join the Kool Kanya women-only career Community where you can network, ask questions, share your opinions, collaborate on projects, and discover new opportunities. Join now.

Siddhesh is a dreamer living in his imaginative world filled with drama & thrilling action. In the real world, he is a digital marketer by profession and a filmmaker, writer, dancer by passion. Being a man of the arts, he is always dabbling his feet in anything that interests him and is constantly on a quest to learn more. He loves watching films and reviewing them and believes cinema to be his one true love.

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