Three ways to further your film career

Creative Skillset has some pointers on how you can actively further your career, including training, creating a top notch CV, and making the most of film festivals.

In a fast-paced industry, ongoing professional development is vital, particularly for freelancers, and comes in many forms, from keeping your CV fresh and relevant, and making those all-important industry contacts at events and festivals, to attending training to ensure that you have up-to-date skills and knowledge in your field.

Make the most of film festivals

Whether you’re an established professional or new to the industry, film festivals are a great way to meet like-minded professionals, make valuable industry contacts, and continue to develop your knowledge of and passion for film. However, with the free drinks and parties, it’s all too easy to forget the real reasons you’re there. So here are some handy tips for getting the most out of your time:

1. Do your research – find out what, who and where before you go and make a plan of action

2. Network, network, network – and make sure you take business cards

3. Stay professional (this isn’t to say you shouldn’t attend the drinks and evening events, but just be aware that first impressions can last!)

4. Join in with discussions, be enthusiastic, don’t be afraid to ask questions

5. Practise your ‘elevator pitch’(an imaginary scenario where you end up in a lift with someone important and you have 20 seconds to sell your idea). Whilst this is unlikely to happen, it’s a good idea to have a succinct explanation of yourself/interests/current projects at hand

6. Inspiration and ideas - an obvious one, but don’t forget to actually watch some films

7. Leave your comfort zone – see the films and go to the events that you wouldn’t at home

Here are some of the festivals coming up this summer across the UK:

Edinburgh International Film Festival, 19-30 June, Edinburgh
East End Film Festival, 25 June – 10 July, Various locations in East London
Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival, 22-24 August, Edinburgh
BFI London Film Festival, 9-20 October, London
Encounters short film and animation festival, 17-22 September, Bristol
The Co-operative Film Festival for young people (22 and under), 17-19 July, Bradford
Leeds International Film Festival, 8-24 November 2013, Leeds
Berwick Film & Media Arts festival, 25-29 September, Berwick

Identify your training needs and apply for funding

In fast-moving industries such as film, where a high percentage of the workforce is freelance, it is vital for professionals to undertake ongoing training throughout their careers. But it is cost which often deters existing professionals from signing up for training. The good news is that funding is available for training. Creative Skillset works with industry to identify skills gaps, and then provides funding, either for organisations to deliver subsidised training, or for individuals directly to attend training which addresses these needs.

If you work in film, TV or radio then you could be eligible to apply for up to 80% of course costs for training which falls in identified priority areas, including hair and make-up, camera, sound, health and safety, international scholarships, production management and editing to name but a few. To find out if you’re eligible, and to see the different funds available visit the Creative Skillset website.

Update your CV

It is essential that freelancers keep their CVs up-to-date. However, there are some basic mistakes that people make time and time again, regardless of experience.

Here are five top tips to avoid these common mistakes:

  • First impressions count – think about the layout in addition to the content
  • Be clear and concise within the CV (which should be no more than two sides of A4), but use your cover letter to give further details where relevant
  • Thoroughly research the organisation and job role before sending off your CV Adapt your CV for each job you apply for and only include relevant information
  • Check your spelling and grammar, and then get someone else to check it again for you

Allocate time this summer to create your top-notch CV. You can find out more about marketing yourself with these Creative Skillset factsheets.