If you’re passionate about videography, you’ve probably dreamed about shooting your first feature film. You can’t wait to sign a contract with a major producer and get to work in Hollywood. While it’s important to hold on to your aspirations, here are a few concrete ways to make your dreams come true.
Before you capture your first Oscar-winning movie, you need to refine your craft. One of the best ways to concentrate on your technique is to focus on shorter projects. By making movies that are only a minute or two long, you learn how to capture and maintain your audience’s attention.
You also get to experiment with different angles, since small projects are inexpensive and therefore have low stakes.
Once you’ve made a few short clips that you like, consider partnering with a video licenser such as Jukin Media. Jukin Media helps handle more than 50,000 moviemakers’ creations and ensures that you receive credit for your films. This is particularly important if you’re building your portfolio and you’re concerned about others copying or stealing your work.
Even if you think you’ve found your focus as a filmmaker, you need to expose yourself to a variety of methods and subjects. Do you usually make dramatic films about life and loss? Consider trying your hand at comedy by enlisting a few friends to act out some funny sketches.
Do you prefer documentary-style movies about serious subjects? Try making a science fiction or fantasy montage. The more diverse a portfolio you have to display at your first job interview, the better.
Network With Professionals
If you want to get ahead in your career, you need to have plenty of skills, but you also need connections. Watch Eventbrite for open invitations to online film industry networking events. Look for screenings in your area that filmmakers and actors plan to attend, especially if there are question-and-answer sessions included.
Learn about the work of some of your favorite professionals, and reach out to them through email or social media. You never know who else is looking for a business relationship. Most importantly, once you make a connection, do everything you can to maintain it without overwhelming your contact. Send follow-up emails, stay up-to-date on his or her work, and ask to meet or talk again.
Some aspiring filmmakers think that college courses are beneath them because they can learn more in the real world. While it’s true that you learn the most from experience, that doesn’t mean that classes have no value. Look at the film course offerings at your local community college or state university and take a few that seem interesting.
These classes expose you to filmmakers and techniques you wouldn’t learn about on your own. They’re also great networking opportunities since your professors are experts in their fields.
Another benefit of taking film classes is that you’re more likely to hear about internship opportunities. Most universities have career centers that help students find work and make connections with alumni in their fields. Watch your email and the campus notice boards for internships, even if they’re not paid. If you perform well enough, you could land your first full-time job.
The world of filmmaking is constantly changing. If you prefer older movie-making techniques, that’s fine, but you must keep up with the developments in your field. You don’t want to go to an interview and have your potential boss ask a question about the possibilities of virtual reality recording that you can’t answer.
Subscribe to newsletters or blogs that focus on filmmaking and watch for technological developments. Maybe you’ll even find your new favorite technique or piece of equipment.
Have an Open Mind
The first job you get as a cinematographer probably won’t involve shooting a blockbuster feature film. These positions usually go to videographers who have impressive resumes and years of experience. However, organizations such as hospitals and schools are always looking for people to film their latest promotions. Reach out to marketing departments at companies in your area and see if they want to make a new commercial.
You could even contract with a government agency to film a public safety announcement. While these jobs aren’t glamorous, they do pay the bills and give you experience. They also provide great materials to link to on your resume when you finally apply for that job in Hollywood.
The filmmaking industry is an exciting place, with lots of creative people exploring new ways to tell stories and reach their audiences. If one of your goals is to shoot feature films, there are many steps you can take today to realize that goal. By following these six steps, you gain experience and ready yourself to find your first big gig.