How To Get a Job in Film & TV – Get Focused, Dream Big!

3 Feb

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Hi there, this is the second part in a series of posts about breaking into the film and TV industry. In my first blog I talked about the number one element that the industry looks for when recruiting new talent – people who understand the importance and commitment of specialization in one craft. Those who are going to hire you want to know that you have a clear idea of what you ultimately want to do in the industry.

What the Industry Really Looks for When Recruiting New Talent

When we take on new talent we are not just investing in you, we are investing in the future of our industry and there are certain key values and characteristics that shine through – we look for people who are:

Efficient. Confident. Ambitious. Trustworthy. Good communicators. Honest. Intuitive. Committed. Dependable. Professional. Strive to be the Best.

focus_thumbIf you’re interested in learning more about these attributes, check out my blog on having the right mindset for the industry – it’s targeted at camera operators, but is applicable to all areas of the crew, on or off location. I go into much more detail about what it takes to be successful in the industry.

But enough of all that, in today’s post I’m going to talk about how to dream BIG and how to create a compelling future. It might not seem important to you at this stage, but believe me… it is (more on that later).

As a result of your initial research from my first blog, you may have already decided what job you ultimately want to do in the industry or may still be  searching for answers, either way I want you to do the following exercise.

Get Focused – The Dream Factory

I encourage you right now to get inspired. Don’t be afraid, think BIG. Decide right now, what you really want.

Photo Credit: My Travelers (Flickr)

Photo Credit: My Travelers (Flickr)

Get a notebook and pen and find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for at least an hour. Turn off you mobile, lock yourself in the toilet, climb a tree, sail out into the middle of a lake… I don’t care how you do it, just find somewhere nobody, and I mean nobody, can interrupt you. Take your laptop, iPod or iPhone (or if you’re cool and retro, your audio cassette player!) and select some of your favourite music, something that really moves and inspires you.

In the 5-10 minutes after you’ve read about this exercise, I want you to suspend reality and brainstorm like crazy. You need to be totally open-minded. It may seem a little strange at first, but this way of thinking can be uniquely empowering.

Don’t let your nagging internal voice tell you something “can’t be done”. As soon as you commit to a big dream and begin to pursue it you’ll start thinking of the people, opportunities and resources you need to help you along the way. But first you have to get inspired.

The reasons to achieve something come first, and then when you’ve got enough compelling reasons, you’ll find a way to make it happen!

Think this is a bit weird…well good!

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that daydreaming is a bad thing… it’s not. Everyone I know who is now working in the industry had a compelling dream. It’s the number one thing you need to keep you going when times get tough.

Don’t just take it from me…here’s the proof

Muhammad Ali used mental rehearsal and it did him a lot of good! Photo Credit: The History Guy

The Power of Mental Rehearsal:
Seven weeks before the great boxer Muhammad Ali met World Heavyweight Champion George Foreman for their big fight in Kinshasa in 1975, Ali mentally practiced every aspect of the fight. He visualised his every punch, his every move including his final knockout blow that finally flawed Foreman. He rehearsed the entire fight in his mind over and over again. He was not training his body to win. He was training his mind not to lose. Ali’s most important work was being done not in the ring, but in his armchair. He was fighting the fight in his head. By drawing upon the power of intention for strength in the ring, Ali won the fight just as he had imagined and remained “the greatest.”

Now for the science part…
Data shows that this power of intention can enhance performance in many activities including achieving career goals. Athletes of all

Photo Credit: Flickr – 74Pics4U

sports now routinely perform what is termed “mental rehearsal”. Focused intention is now deemed essential for star athletes to improve their game. Swimmers, skaters, weightlifters, basketball and football players all employ intention to enhance their level of performance. If it worked for

Muhammad Ali it’ll work for you!

Step 1

After you’ve read these instructions, I want you to go off imagine a future where you’re already working at the top end of the industry as an experienced professional.

In your mind, see images of your successful self, hear what people say about your professionalism, feel the enjoyment that working in the film and TV industry would bring, see yourself winning awards and feel the exhilaration you get from the recognition: think of everything you’d like to achieve in your career. You should get worked up into a frenzy of excitement and inspiration, this is exactly what you need to do; this is exactly what I did all those years ago. See your future as clear as day, and know with absolute certainty that you will achieve it.

Write down everything you’re seeing and don’t stop until you have at least 6 pages of inspiring notes. Don’t worry about writing in too much detail, the key is to record your thoughts as they happen. Don’t stop to read what you’ve written, you’ll be reviewing it all later, for now your job is to just get it down on paper.

Got all that? Good. So go and do it now, NOT later, NOT tomorrow. This is important to your future career so don’t put this off.

Below are a few ideas and questions you might want to ask or events you might want to think about. Put on your favourite music and get inspired, use the music to stir your emotions, let go of reality and get excited!

  • Photo Credit: Flickr – cliff1066a,,c

    What would I do in the film and TV industry if I knew I couldn’t fail?

  • What would I like to be known for in the film and TV industry?
  • What industry awards would I like to win? See yourself winning those awards.
  • What kind of lifestyle would I have as a result of being successful in film and TV?
  • How could my achievements help the people I am closest to like my friends and family?

Have you done that? It’s fantastic isn’t it?

By now I hope you are bursting with enthusiasm and excitement about your future and all that it will bring. It’s important to get inspired, so if you’re not yet bursting with enthusiasm, KEEP going until you are!

Step 2

Once you have your thoughts down on paper, review your notes and highlight anything that feels relevant, anything that jumps out of the page. Once you have done this I want you to create a movie in your mind of you 5 years into the future, see yourself working in the industry that you love, make the images big, bold and bright, turn up the colour, here the sounds of what people are saying about your professionalism, sense how excited you feel about your achievements.

It might all seem silly, but times will get tough on your journey to the top and having this clear, burning image in your mind will be invaluable to call upon when you need it the most. We all have dreams and we can all make them happen, we just need to stay focused: the goal of this exercise is to do exactly that – keep you focused.

Most of all, enjoy this experience; the road to the top is a long one and it might be some time before you’re experiencing these fantastic achievements for real – so indulge yourself a little and enjoy it!

In the next blog I’ll talk specifically about two very important aspects of breaking into the industry:

The key people to target in the industry

The pros and cons of going to film school, university or media college to get a qualification vs. just going out there and getting experience.

‘till next time Have fun and thanks for reading!

If you’ve enjoyed this, please please share it with you friends on facebook or twitter or leave a comment below – it means a huge amount 🙂

By the way… I run a course on Lighting & Cinematography, so click the link or get in touch if you’re interested in coming and learning in person!

Hope this helps!

Free Spirit Film & TV
Film, TV & Online Video Production.

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One Response to “How To Get a Job in Film & TV – Get Focused, Dream Big!”


  1. How To Get a Job in Film & TV – Who To Contact + Film School or Not? « Through The Lens Film School - February 5, 2013

    […] and welcome back, in the last two blog posts I talked about the Importance of Specialisation, and How to Create a Compelling Future that will drive you and keep you focused. Today I’m going to talk specifically about the key […]

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