When going to college, most people have high hopes of getting a job in their chosen field. It can take some time for an individual to really find their passion and realize what they want to major in, but once a course is set, they can learn all of the skills that they need in order to thrive in the industry of their choice.
The film industry is a great area, and one that many creative individuals strive to become a part of. For many who decide that this is their industry of choice, picking a film major and getting a film degree is crucial. When an individual has found this passion, it’s also a great idea to hop onto the scene and start gaining work experience while getting the degree. Owning a camera and making short films during film school, for example, can be a great way for a budding filmmaker to learn their craft.
Like any field, there are good and bad jobs to get when heading into the film industry with a freshly printed degree in hand. There are a few top jobs that individuals with a film degree will eventually want to get to, but of course sometimes you have to start in a more entry level position. Making a name for yourself in the film industry can take decades, but it really does pay off. Here are some of the best jobs that someone can get with a film degree. These jobs are not only satisfying, but they are great stepping stones to building a long-lasting career in the film industry.
Art Department Worker
The Art Department oversees the development of the director’s creative vision. Depending on the visual complexity of a film, the Art Department can contain many sub-departments including Set Decoration, Props, and Construction. The Art Department is led by the Production Designer, who collaborates with the Director and Director of Photography to achieve the correct look and feel of the project. This department is ideal for people who have a passion for making visual images through drawing, sketching, and graphic design.
Artists are needed to produce a visual plan of the film’s development to allow for clear communication between the Director and Designers. In addition, more hands-on skills are needed, such as sewing, carpentry, construction, sculpting, and painting. The Art Department is also suitable for people with a passion for interior design. The Set Decorator is in charge of making each scene appear authentic by arranging furniture, hanging drapes, putting down carpets, and adding any final touches needed.
Large-scale feature films often require unusual job positions, such as a Greensman responsible for set landscaping and a Weapons Master that supervises the use of blades and firearms. Because the skills required for a specific movie can vary dramatically, the Art Department is often a good source for unexpected job openings.
Development Department Member
The Development Department must be formed before any pre-production takes place. Generally, a project is instigated when a producer takes interest in a book, poem, life event, or other experience that inspires a movie concept. At this point, the producer must seek out adept writers to prepare a story outline. Usually writers are asked to first create a step outline that primarily emphasizes dramatic structure and flow of the film. This later gets expanded into a descriptive outline that covers more details such as character progression and minor stage directions.
Once a solid synopsis has been created, the producer must hire a screenwriter to turn the story concept into a functional screenplay. This is an intensive process that takes anywhere from 2-6 months, or even longer. After the storyline is clearly defined, the screenwriter must team with the producer to create a film pitch for potential financers and investors.
While other skills such as drawing and animation may be needed to convey a project idea, the Development Department relies on solid writers and screenwriters to make the project tangible and compelling so it won’t be turned down by production studios. Once a script is denied, it is nearly impossible to have the project reconsidered, even if the entire script is rewritten.
Talent agents not only benefit moviemakers, but also actors and models looking to participate in movie production. Talent agents are the liaisons between these two worlds, constantly looking for new talent that suits the needs of a particular project. Successful talent agents have many connections in the film industry and have availability to a wide variety of actors and models.
They are also responsible for weeding out poor talent that may hinder a movie’s quality. Talent agents that work for major agencies often have the responsibility of recruiting big-name actors for increased publicity and financial potential. People who are charismatic, outgoing and talkative would likely enjoy being a talent agent.
This job can be a somewhat difficult position to obtain as it largely depends on an individual’s ability to network and make connections in almost any situation. Talent agents commonly have a background in acting or modeling as well. This enhances their ability to identify potential talent where it might otherwise be overlooked. People interested in this career can be hired by a talent agency, work as a freelance agent, or even start their own agency.
Special Effects Makeup Artist
This job consists of applying prosthetics, masks and body paints to the actors. While the Set Decorator is responsible for the environment of each scene, the Special Effects Makeup Artist is in charge of turning actors into works of art. This job is especially vital for science fiction and horror movies, where the makeup artist may be asked to create an extraterrestrial being or a fake severed limb.
Less noticeable details, such as small cuts, burns, bruises, and signs of aging are also needed to effectively convey character development and make the movie believable. This job requires knowledge of specific molding materials such as latex and rubber.
A familiarity with sculpting is often called for, as the makeup artist must first design and then build unique character pieces like masks or even full-body suits. Special effects makeup artists are expected to possess the same skills as traditional makeup artists, except they must also have the ability to manipulate unusual materials like wax and fake blood.
This job is excellent for artistic people who are original and inventive. It may call for utilization of unconventional materials and imaginative application techniques to achieve the director’s desired look while maintaining a level of realism.
Film Distributor Sales Agent
Once a feature film has been produced and edited, it is time to release the project into various distribution avenues for public access. Film distributor sales agents are the middlemen between filmmakers and entities such as Netflix and major television networks. They are also responsible for booking screenings, scheduling release dates, and ensuring the project becomes available for home viewing through DVD and Blu-ray. Ideally, a film distributor sales agent has a firm understanding of the film production process so they can gauge the quality of potential projects.
Like a talent agent, film distributor sales agents must have a keen eye for profitable talent to maintain a thriving catalogue. The project’s success largely depends on the agent’s ability to promote and market the film. This can include creating marketing materials such as trailers and posters if they are not already provided by the Production Department.
Business sense and money management skills come in handy, as this job entails financial negotiations and contracts. Although entertainment lawyers are usually brought in to close the deal, the sales agent saves valuable time by weeding out distribution deals that aren’t profitable. Film distributor sales agents must also understand certain laws specific to particular countries when making deals with international distributors. People interested in this career path can find employment through an agency or a distribution company.
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