Are you interested in getting a position within video production? There isn’t always a straight path. Whether you’re going to college now or you’re changing your career, there’s a long (but rewarding) journey ahead of you. You’ll need to develop your skills, start producing demo reels, make networking connections, and eventually start securing unpaid and paid work. And this isn’t just heresy, rather, it all comes from my personal experience running one of the top video production companies in Phoenix!
Once you get into the production industry, of course, each job is likely to lead to the next. Here’s everything you need to get started.
What type of career in video production are you interested in? There are an extraordinary number of specializations available, depending on your skill set and your interests. Options include: camera work, directing, audio work, lighting, grips, and production assistants. At this stage, you may know that you want to be involved in the industry, but not be certain how.
Rather than assuming what position you’d enjoy the best, pick up some books and immerse yourself in online courses. You will need to find out more about the industry and practice different roles before you figure out the right one.
Keep in mind that this is likely to change. Just as many people switch majors in college, the more you get to know about the video production industry, the more likely it is that you will end up developing different desires and skills. Be open to shifting around in the industry, as many people do. Often, you may start at the very entry-level, and end up progressing up a specific career path.
LinkedIn, Mzed, Udemy, and Skillshare all provide online classes about video production, which you can use to find out more about the specific roles. At the same time, consider the type of productions you want to be involved in: small scale, advertising, or major films?
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Meetup all give you direct access to those who are already within the industry. Once you’ve developed your skills, you need to know the people who can hook you up with projects. Often, people creating smaller projects enjoy giving amateurs the chance to shine, and they may promote their new projects through these groups.
The more you can meet people and prove yourself within the industry, the more likely you are to get work. In production, for entry-level positions, people are often just looking for someone who is eager, responsible, and willing to learn. If you’re not looking for advanced positions, then simply knowing people will often be enough.
As you find and work on projects, you’ll start getting clips that you can save. To really prove your skills, you absolutely need to build a reel. You have a few ways that you can do this. You can work for free for small projects, or you can create projects of your own. You can also build a demo reel through school, if you go through an intensive proprogramcess. For the production industry, there are many boot camps that give you the opportunity to work.
As you build your reel, you’ll be learning about whether you truly involve the processes that are involved in production, and whether certain positions are more well-suited to you. You’ll be looking to develop a variety of different projects.
With your reel, demo videos, and completed projects, you may be able to secure an internship with a company, or even an entry-level position in the field that you’re interested in. Note that completed projects are really the most important thing: many people want to see that you can take a project from beginning to end.
Reels should be the highlights of your career so far: the best work that you’ve done that really showcases what you can do. It isn’t necessarily the most experimental of your projects, but rather the elements that have the highest production value. Present these when applying for an internship, and keep an eye on gigs that arise in your area.
It’s all about experience. Once you have an internship or an entry-level position, you will begin building up your experience and your reputation within the field. From there, you can start to apply to jobs in advertising, video production companies, businesses, and production-related organizations. Online job boards, such as LocalWork.com, will connect you with potential projects.
Sometimes you may need to work project to project for some time. Many in the production industry will be permanent contractors. Contractors work gig to gig rather than for a specific company. Others will work for a specific production company, such as an advertising agency, developing their skills until they can fund their own projects.
For many people, working in the production industry is a dream come true: but it doesn’t have to be just a dream. As long as you take it step-by-step, you should be able to make your way into the industry after a little hard work. All the industry really needs is reliable, passionate individuals who are willing to put in the time. That being said, you are likely to spend some time paying your dues, and you do need to take the time to develop a solid demo reel.
Article by Joe Forte, owner and producer at D-MAK Productions, video production phoenix specializing in producing corporate, commercial, digital and branded media content.