Ever see yourself working at Disney Animation Studios?

If your passion is drawing, you may have wondered what it would be like doing animation for a living. Last week I worked on a project where we interviewed animators creating the characters for the upcoming Tinkerbell movies.   We were lucky to get in there. Previously, no cameras were allowed inside.

The Disney Toons building is a nondescript brick building, no whimsical landscaping or statues, just a plain brick ivy-covered building in Burbank, CA. Security is tight. You must have a pass to enter the building. Once you enter, you see telltale signs of Disney: the colorful walls, bright colors on the floors, everything feels cheery and energetic.

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Booking the Room | How FIF methods work for new actors

At the time of this call, Allyson had only been in the program for a few months. Through getting inside and standing out as a dedicated, burgeoning professional, she made some incredible connections immediately, getting pulled onto shoots – and acting roles – by the DP of Fox’s Empire.

It’s better to take the road less travelled. There are tens of thousands of actors trying to get roles right now. If you want to succeed as a new actor you could do what other actors are doing and compete for the same auditions as everyone else through the same path as everyone else. The vast majority of actors doing this get one or two roles a year at most on low, sometimes medium sized shoots. It’s extremely difficult for them to vector up into big budget shoots on the biggest commercials, shows, and movies using this method. There’s just too many people doing the same thing and it can be impossible to get the right connections to make this happen.

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The Correct Approach for Breaking Into Film

Isabel works as a digital producer and is a mentor in our FIF Into The Industry Certification program. Digital producers are the people who decide what shows get made and coordinate both the production of media and how/when/where it’s presented. She’s worked for big companies like CNN, the BBC, and AMC.

The film industry is in many ways a “who-you-know” industry. If you approach it the right way, this can be a huge benefit.

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It’s all worth it

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti

GUYS, it hit me big time on set last night. Standing there on set, filming a guy slapping his friends hands away from his french fries. (That’s filmmaking!) That’s comedy! :-)

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Networking Your Way Into A Career

Lately we’ve been bringing up your energy and confidence and how these things will lead to you making that critical jump from outside the industry to being on set. Once you’re on set, how will those things help you build a career?

If you can get really good at networking and making relationships, you will move fast in the film industry. This is both a simple and complicated thing to do. Knowing when to ask questions, what kinds of questions to ask, when the right time is to message people for more work, all of these things will have a drastic effect on your success as you’re trying to gain mentors and higher level work. You can make this MUCH easier for yourself just by having a positive, inquisitive attitude in all your conversations.

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How to get called FIRST for film industry work!

Production assistants are an essential part of every shoot. When you are a PA on set, recognize the value you have to the shoot and be both physically and mentally present. That’s the baseline: being the asset film professionals expect.

We don’t just want to show up, we want to STAND OUT. We want you to go beyond being passably good and become SO good that coordinators and department heads want to see you on every set. Be thinking of little things you can do for them no matter how small you may think those actions are. Remembering the way they like their drink, coming up with a list of places to go for people in from another area. PAs tend to undervalue themselves, even thinking that doing extra tasks like that will brand them as a peon and they’ll get stuck as a PA. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Your confidence allows others to be confident in you.

If you want to move up quickly in the industry, you have to walk with confidence. When tasks are being delegated, you don’t want people worrying about whether or not you can accomplish them.

Everyone develops their own method of getting into a confident state, so find one that works for you. You want to be open, friendly, and excited to be on set. Be that kind of person and professionals won’t worry about giving you challenging tasks with more responsibility. If you find yourself with extra time, just go up to people and ask “what do you need?”

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A Career in the Film Industry Without Film School!

You already know what time it is: How do you break into the film industry without film school? That’s what we are all about. There’s no need to get buried in over $100k in debt and taking 4-5 YEARS getting a degree that won’t make the difference between you getting into the industry and getting trapped on the outside.

Here’s a short video on how it’s done. This is how I did it, and this is how you can do it too.

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Path to Producing!

Jen was invited to join the Producer’s Guild of America after working as an associate producer on Top Chef. PGA credits are a big deal; you can only get them by either earning enough credits/hours or being invited.

When she found out that Top Chef was going to be filming in her area, she decided she was going to figure out how to get on that set.

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Path to Directing

I’ve been getting some questions recently about becoming a director, what niches to get into if someone wants to eventually vector into directing, and how to get noticed. Directing is obviously one of the most challenging (and creatively rewarding) paths in the film industry. Here’s a couple videos to get you started, but keep scrolling down to get some of the fine details ;)

A network and a body of work are important to every position on set from a PA all the way up to a producer, HOWEVER, some kinds of work are more challenging to get. You’ll need a larger body of work and closer relationships with specific people.

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