Finding a job in Indian Film Industry

So are you trying to find a job in the Indian Film Industry? Or are you thinking of taking up a filmmakingcourse as a career option? Well, think twice before taking it on! We do not say this without reason. Finding a job in the Indian Film Industry is as difficult as trying to find a piece of gem amongst a pile of stones. Its not just about a hit and try method but mastering the art of differentiating between what’s that you gotta do, and what’s that you just gotta not do. This is because the movie making business is a hidden market. Employers and employees rely on reputation, word-of-mouth, and networking as primary tools of communication. By the time a good project starts or comes in production, all positions are usually filled. The film Industry mostly works on project basis, therefore the directors and producers become the independent contractors for hiring talent and technicians. Very few companies other than major networks can afford to maintain a director or crew on permanent payroll. People who do have permanent jobs don’t give them up, as one director put it, “even when they die. They try to pass them on to someone in their family.” Its not just the Kapoor family legacy that continues on screen, but many there are many such families who once forming a connection with Bollywood seem to not let it go for an eternity. Whatever said and done, the charm of this industry is perhaps that doesn’t let them let it go.

What strategies don’t necessarily work?

We’ll start by taking a look at what are considered some of the most popular but ineffective strategies people use in attempting to secure employment in the film industry, as well as some of the most creative and effective strategies.Unsolicited resumes (also known as junk mail to some producers and directors) have their place, but most newcomers can’t afford to send out enough resumes to obtain the ideal opportunity for a quality interview. In fact if a job seeker is lucky, the resume will be placed on file in the dark, deep cabinet of the personnel department.

How to become trustworthy and liked on set, at work

If you wanna maintain a good rapport with your co workers and want them to refer you for more work, you’ve got to tame your natural instincts of anger and foolishness. Ignorance towards the way the industry and hiring really works can make your efforts flat and unprofitable. So get some facts right.

  1. Don’t go by the traditional Indian style of having big contacts to get you through everywhere. (ps. This could only work if you have a huge name as your dear friend). What really matters is what kind of work you have done in the past, and what kind of work you have been doing lately.
  2. Always position yourself for the next job, while maintaining your current job. In other words, do what you are doing to the best of your ability but also keep an eye open for what work you want to do next.
  3. Be smart and maintain a positive attitude at work. Do not leave behind bad experiences, that make it impossible for you to return.
  4. Remember, that on set, at work the arguments and tiffs that happen with any crew member regarding work, has to be forgotten as soon as the shift is over. Do not get into sulking mode.

The Myth

The myth that “If I sleep with the producer, director or maybe the casting director, I get the job” is just that — a myth. How could directors or casting directors ride their careers based on a one-night stand? Too much depends on the quality of work expected from their cast and crew to permit a roll in the hay to jeopardize their professional futures. Of course, there are exceptions to this, and some ambitious people do use the “casting couch” to get ahead. But these people are few and far between, and do not reflect the reality of getting a job in the film industry.

The Harsh Reality

Before you are hired, you may be tempted to make statements such as: ,”I don’t get coffee,” “I don’t pick up garbage ” I don’t run around for paper work,” “I don’t get dry cleaning,” , “I have to leave by six,” “I can’t work overtime because I have an appointment to get my nails done,” “I’m a single mother,” or “I have a life.” If you are going to do this, don’t even bother going to the interview — the film industry is simply not for you. What you need is a nine-to-five job, whereas in the film and television work, people are always adjusting their schedules.

The other way of looking at this harsh side of the industry is that the people are so passionate and in love with their work, that they seem to give their all to it. Plus do not be mistaken that, if you chose to be here, you don’t have life of your own. Remember, that mostly all work in film industry is project basis, so while there can be a time when you are so involved in a project that you forget what day and time it is, there will be times when you can enjoy the leisure of complete nothingness, like school day (only, minus the homework and exams). Isn’t that a bonus. To top it all, how often does one find a job that you are in love with.

Aim for actual growth and not superficial fame

Act like a Pro even before you are one. This doent mean, throwing your weight around. A professional in the truest of sense is the one who can produce high-quality work, regardless of other considerations. Don’t get into the habit of taking a project up just for the fact that it will sound cool, or this will help you take picture next to your favorite star and then you can post it on social media get a lot of compliments and people will think of you as cool and doing great. Don’t be mistaken, most people are able to sense the genuineness of your efforts and a pic next to star doesn’t make them think highly of you or your work. They are just impressed with the picture and not your work.

Build Credits

But how do you get the “first job” that gets your foot inside the door? You have the options: internships, volunteering, and demonstrating the ability to do whatever is needed and doing it well. Most important to the process, however, is that you have to be willing — in the beginning, at least — to work on the cheap or even for free. The idea is to accumulate a list of “credits” — that is, all your past work experience. You can only do this by being willing to take on whatever work is being offered at whatever pay is being offered, even if that’s zero. Of course, even if you offer your services for free, you may still find it hard to attract any takers, as even unpaid crew member needs to be covered by insurance, shown the ropes, fed, etc. Your best opportunity to build your credit list is to work on smaller independent shoots. Track these shoots down and volunteer! Once your resume begins to show the depth of your experience, you can start to aim for bigger crews on larger shoots.

So, all Filmmaker aspirants, go ahead, open your hearts and minds to different people and possibilities. Always go out with the mind to learn. The age to learn never ends. Start off with the spirit to learn everything, that comes your way. This will only help you do what you wanted to do even better.

In the words of Vernon Howard “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.”

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