Is paying for footage for your reel worth it?

While footage-producing companies offer decent-looking produced scenes for actor reels, there are potential drawbacks, especially when considering the importance of actual on-set experience and credited roles in feature films and TV shows as being what makes a difference to one’s career.

Lack of Authentic Credits: Scenes produced by these companies are not from real film or TV projects. Therefore, they don’t provide genuine credits to an actor’s resume. Casting directors and agents often look for real-world experience and credits, as these indicate an actor’s level and on-set experience.

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Making the decision to leave your survival job for a film career

Making the decision to leave your survival job and prioritize your film career can be stressful. There’s probably a lot of unknowns there, and that uncertainty can be paralyzing.

There are two things that can settle your mind in making this transition: developing a mental image of who and where you want to be in life, and having a plan in how to get there. If you knew a path into the film industry, would you take the leap?

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How To Become An Editors, Writer, or Producer

An extremely common and unfortunately ineffective strategy to break into the production side is to contact production houses cold, without ever having worked on professional sets, and offering to work for free. There are a ton of people doing this and I never hear of this getting someone connections or work.

One issue is that there isn’t a lot of overturn in editing. Once people are in those jobs they are locked in for the long haul, so you need a way to get inside and get referred.

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Vector UP in the Film Industry | Talk to the right people about the right things

A really common problem I see is people getting stuck as a production assistant for years. Nobody gets into the film industry to be a PA, and yet so many get trapped in that space. They know they want to write, or work camera, or direct, but they don’t know how to move from the free shoots to the small budget shoots, from there to mid-sized projects, and then onto the biggest stuff in the industry where they’re making $650-$1000 a day or more.

The solution is both simple and complex: you need to be making good connections and you need to be working alongside professionals.

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It’s that easy? Get on set, and acting opportunities will find you!

If you’ve been with us a while, you’ll hear me and the A-list Mentors talk about how the traditional method to get on camera and get speaking roles doesn’t work well in the modern industry. You can do hundreds of auditions but the people deciding who gets the role don’t know you, don’t have any familiarity with how you are to work with. There will be tons of actors auditioning for that same role that are in that same boat. There is a better way.

By getting on set through production, you will make critical connections with the people involved in casting. This includes the casting director, the director, and sometimes the producer. You can leverage those connections to get into the audition room more easily, and once there, they will have some familiarity with you.

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Becoming Successful: The Growth Mindset that will net you success in life and the film indsutry

If you want to get into the film industry, you’ll have to do some growing. It’s not hard, but you have to start believing that you are this go-getter, all-in personality. You have to become that person.

Simply being handed jobs in the film will not get you a career in it. Getting on set by the merit of your own efforts is what will give you the kind of reputation with professionals that will net you consistent work. They respect the people that are self-made and that image they have is where your success comes from.

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Get on Shoots & Build Your Confidence

If you’ve done our free training, you know that the fastest pathway into the industry is to volunteer on smaller shoots like student films, music videos, and indie projects. These are non-union projects which means you can get your hands on equipment and get a feel for set, build up your confidence, BEFORE you end up on paid shoots where your and everyone’s reputation is at stake.

Two of our A-listers having been using what we call The 20 Shoots Method to build up their network and experience and recently ended up on the same shoot! Here’s what one of them had to say:

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An Honest Look at an Craft Certification Before & After

Melissa is a mentor in our FIF Into The Industry Certification program. I wanted to get the full story of why she joined the program, what her first shoots were like, and where she is now! 

  1. Do you remember what happened for you? When you started Into The Industry Certification, what was your first paid shoot?

I got my first paid shoot in April 2019. I had been scrolling through Craigslist looking for any indication of shoots happening and I found one that was looking for a camera person. It was happening in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is about a 3 hour drive from where I live. I was hesitant to send a want to work email because I couldn’t really afford to put myself up in a hotel at the time, so I didn’t. 

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How to Attract Mentors and Work

When you’re new to the industry, you want to be, at all times, attracting opportunities. You need to attract work, relationships, and mentors that altogether will propel you from the free shoots into the paid professional world. It is on those first shoots where you’ll build the confidence and industry street-smarts that will net you those opportunities.

Professionals want to help people who help themselves. Given how hectic their jobs are, they want to know they’re helping out someone who deserves and will appreciate being mentored. The question becomes how you transform into someone professionals want to take under their wing and eventually pass work to when they themselves move up into the next tier of work. Confidence will be key.

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How do you get people to like you?

How do you make people like you, so they want to work with you again?

In our industry, it’s especially tricky. Film professionals are used to people in their lives trying to get something out of them, and this sometimes makes them wary of people they don’t know very well.

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