Like many people in the film industry, FIF Craft Certification Mentor Crystal went to film school thinking a degree would get her ahead in the film industry. Upon graduation, she found that not to be the case, and was having a hard time figuring out how to even get in. There’s another, better way to break into the professional industry.

Film is a creative field built on something very similar to apprenticeships. When you’re getting started in the industry, you’re going to need mentors to teach you and help point you towards resources and connections if you want to move fast. There are many opportunities to create these kinds of relationships on set.

Working on a lot of sets as a production assistant will, among other things, give you crucial face time with the professionals who can become mentors to you. As a PA you can show dedication, initiative, and work ethic. You want to be attractive to the people working in your desired craft who want to have an opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with someone who is excited to learn, someone who appreciates all the hard work they put into making their career in the film industry a reality.

Two years after graduating and still unable to find work, Crystal joined Friends In Film. Using what she learned, she got on set and quickly started developing exactly the kinds of relationships we’re talking about here. She found mentors who taught her their crafts and was quickly bumped up to camera assistant. Since then she’s worked as a Producer’s Assistant, an AD, and as a production coordinator.