The best professionals in the entertainment industry are passionate, knowledgeable and skillful. But, no matter how good they are at their craft, there is one very important skill that every successful crew member shares: finding work.
Employees outside the world of production tend to follow the same strategies when it comes to finding a job. They build a resume, browse job boards, and network. In our industry, these strategies apply in some cases and are obsolete in others.
In this article, we will do our best to highlight trusted methods to find work, but remember that the entertainment industry isn’t traditional. It is about who you know and being in the right place at the right time. Relationships matter more than in any other field and will need to be cultivated in an ongoing manner to obtain the best results.
There are several job boards dedicated to helping crew members find jobs.
Free - Premium features start at $10/month
In addition to offering job postings, Mandy allows users to create a profile and turn it into a website. Users can browse and apply to some jobs for free and can upgrade to a premium membership for $10/month to enjoy more features.
Free - Premium features start at $9.95/month
Entertainment Careers is a trusted source to find work. Most of the site is accessible for free, and a $9.95/month membership will let you browse jobs before they are made available to the general public. All users can browse paid, low paying and deferred jobs, making it a great tool for any professional.
Free - Premium features start at $3.99/month
This job board is part of the Studio Binder family. Similarly to Mandy.com, they offer users the ability to browse jobs and create a profile. Production Beast has multiple premium levels, from $3.99/month up to $24.99/month.
Free - Premium features start at $13.99/month
Again, Staff Me Up gives users the ability to browse jobs and create a profile. Users can browse for free or sign up for premium features starting at $13.99. These include promoting your application, comparing your information to that of other applicants and more. On the back end, Staff Me Up uses algorithms to match employers with candidates by comparing their previous experience, connections and more.
Castifi’s offering differs from others by actively looking for crew members on behalf of productions. Once you create an account, you will receive notifications via email and SMS if your experience, equipment or location matches with an active job. The more details you provide, the better your odds of being matched. This can prove extremely valuable when you have limited time to hunt for jobs!
It’s also worth mentioning that Castifi takes it a notch further with a mobile app that lets you fill in your on-set paperwork, and record your hours, and process your payments. If you don’t like to fill-out paperwork over and over again, make sure to try it out.
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Craigslist, the almighty. As with anything on Craigslist, things can get...weird. But it’s also possible to find legitimate jobs there. For job posters, Craigslist is a great way to reach thousands of candidates at a very low cost. This also opens the door to unscrupulous employers, so make sure to do your research!
We almost listed Facebook in the Job Board category but felt that it deserved more attention. Facebook had numerous groups that function like job boards. For instance, “Paid Film/TV Production Jobs: Los Angeles Area” is a group that has daily job posts from individuals and companies. Not only are these groups more specific to unique crew positions, but they are also more personal and foster great communities.
Remember the “social” part of social media. By putting yourself “out there”, you may very well land a job! You could create content for your peers to help you stick out of the crowd, or ask your connections to share postings that match your experience level.
Have you ever seen a job listing for a high-level project? In almost 100% of cases, landing an interview for a professional project will require you to know someone close to the production. Networking and word of mouth are the most powerful tool in your utility belt, so make sure to actively work on building connections. Let’s review a few ways to do this:
Be professional. This may seem obvious, but the first way to make connections is to show your worth. Film sets can seem hectic at times, which makes it difficult for most people to retain their composure at all times. Talking negatively about coworkers, making inappropriate remarks or simply not caring about the job will hurt your chances when it comes to landing “the next job”.
Ask questions. As long as you do it at the right time (usually at lunch!), asking questions to those around you is never a bad thing. If you are just starting in the industry, remember that everyone had to go through the same process. Don’t be afraid to ask a more experienced coworker if they have upcoming projects and can refer you. Just keep in mind that there is a right way to do this. (Unfortunately, it’s not something that we can easily describe in a blog post)
Find jobs for your friends. “When it rains, it pours”. Most freelancers know that the best way to get a job is to...already be working. This is a joke in the industry which highlights a situation we’ve all been in you finally land a job, and all of a sudden, everyone starts calling you. Take advantage of this situation by referring your friends. This will help the producer calling you (always a good thing) and motivate your connections to return the favor down the road!
Go out! If you live in a city where productions are plenty (let’s say Los Angeles), odds are that friends of friends also work in the film industry. The acting world is most known for hanging out in bars, but crew members aren’t to be discounted either. Avoid talking to strangers and ask your friends to introduce you.
Networking Events. Again, this piece of advice should go without saying. There are plenty of networking events for film professionals out there. You can check various sources to find these events, such as Eventbrite, Meetup, or your local film school.
There are a few services that create lists of projects in pre-production, production, and post. These lists feature information about the project as well as the contact information for the production office in charge.
As a newbie, you could try to “cold call” these productions, but spoilers: you probably won’t get the job. Productions lists target more experienced filmmakers. These are a way for professionals to know what is happening in town and to start networking their way to a great job.
Membership starts at $28.95/month
Membership starts at $75/month
Volunteering, or working for deferred/low pay isn’t as ideal as finding a good-paying job, but can help you make great connections. Crew members of all horizons will often work on a project for free as a favor, or to practice skills that may be outside of their comfort zone. A short film could be a great place for an experienced set dresser to practice production design, or for a veteran PA to practice assistant directing.
It is also worth noting that many producers will work a “day job” in the industry to finance their passion projects. Working on these projects will open doors to jobs on massive productions. As always, do your research if you are asked to pitch in for free!
If you are just starting in the industry, your chances of landing a paid job without some form of experience will be very low. We recommend contacting your local film schools as they can provide a great environment to learn. For instance, students at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles are producing “Thesis films” every year and often look for volunteer crew members. These projects are organized, monitored by professionals, and often feature amazing talent.
We know the industry can be a hard and confusing landscape to navigate. It is Castifi’s mission to provide a helping hand, but we need your help to make our community safer for all job seekers. If you found this post helpful, please share it with others and subscribe to our newsletter for more content like this, as well as upcoming events, product updates, and new product features.