How old do you have to be for the FIF Craft Certification Program? Sometimes I’m asked about it like this, “I’m 38 years old… is it too late for me to make a career in the film industry?” I get asked this question from people of all different ages, so here’s what I think.
For the FIF Craft Certification program, I prefer people to be at least 19 years old. Working on a film set requires some maturity, so someone at a young age has to be responsible enough in order to be successful on film sets.
A good age to start and develop a career in the film industry is 23 and older. No one cares about your age.
Here are three reasons why I think people have age concerns, and why those concerns aren’t based in reality.
Modern society trains people from elementary school to prepare for a life in the ordinary work-a-day world. People come from an environment where prior education and experience are paramount for advancing one’s pay level and prestige. The film industry is different.
Film is a network oriented business. Although advancing in an ordinary career may also be network oriented, breaking into film doesn’t require any experience.
The age question also arises, I believe, because the ordinary work world often takes years to get ahead. Today, a bachelor’s degree isn’t enough. Most people have to attend two additional years of school for a masters, and another four for a doctorate. All of that schooling is a lot of time just to get an entry level job, not to mention the years required to get ahead. People compare the work world they know to the film set, thinking it takes at least just as long to get ahead.
The long-time-to-make-it mindset doesn’t necessarily apply to film. The film industry work ladder begins with an entry level job called the ‘Production Assistant’. This job is versatile at helping beginners get training for their specific craft. People advance in their crafts fast. Someone who comes to set with Get It Factor can start as a production assistant at any age. This means anyone from middle age to their golden years can still break into film and get to the top, and often in only two years. Plus, older people have the advantage of maturity, a real asset to professionals.
Money is a big reason I’ve seen for age concerns. People’s financial concerns in the ordinary world are persistent and common. Most often people don’t believe they can earn enough money in film to support themselves and their families. They simply don’t know what they don’t know. That’s why it’s so important to listen to the many A-Listers, people of all ages, who tell stories of the money to be made. These are people who started at the beginning, left the ordinary work world, and advanced in the industry quickly. The truth is, the film industry is growing fast and is in constant need of help, of creativity, of ideas. It can pay pretty well, and no one cares what your age is.
Success in film isn’t only for the young, and it certainly isn’t luck. The opportunities to work in the film industry today are greater than ever before, and those opportunities will only become greater in the future.