Getting Started in Film/TV

If you’re just starting out in the industry you should be prepared for some tough times. But persevere – the rewards can be huge.

Getting that first job in this industry can be the most difficult part of anyone’s career.

Having the right qualifications‚ being really keen‚ or just having some experience behind you isn’t all you need… You need ALL these things - and more. Every skill, piece of knowledge, training and personal attribute needs to be used and demonstrated to make you more employable than the next person. You need a lot of patience, a huge amount of determination and more than a little bit of luck…YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK!

What is working in the film and television industry really like?

Working in the film industry has been compared to working in the military. Each department has a strict hierarchy that must be adhered to by all crew members. The production spends large amounts of money and in return demands competence. It takes a unique individual to work in this high demand, fast-paced environment. Your emotional, mental and physical needs will be challenged on a daily basis.

Be prepared to:
  • Work outdoors in all kinds of weather
  • Work an average of 14-16 hours per day
  • Do strenuous and physically demanding work
  • Wait while other crew members are doing their jobs
  • Deal with communication that is sometimes blunt, rude or abrupt
  • Withstand the pressure of several things happening at once
  • Withstand the pressure of nothing happening at all
  • Take any job that is offered to you in order to gain on-set experience
  • Realize that your mistakes cost the production money and will not be easily tolerated

A career in film is not easy. when a production is shooting, your life belongs to that project. The work can be exhausting, but you are expected to be on-set, regardless of how you feel. Your family and friends may not see you for the entire duration of the shoot. There may be a financial uncertainty as you will not be employed full-time throughout the year.

BUT, this is an exciting, growing industry. You can get involved on the "ground " floor and become a leader in Saskatchewan in a few years. If you have an artistic drive and love to be creative then the film and television industry could be a great career for you. For those who have been "hooked," there’s nothing else they’d rather do.

How do I enter the Industry?
  1. Become a SMPIA Member: You will be kept informed of job opportunities, workshops, networking events and industry news.
  2. Take workshops related to the Industry: At workshops you will gain valuable skills; you may meet an instructor or a union representative who may be impressed with your efforts and take your name back to others.
  3. Blanket the industry with your resume: Prepare your resume with a cover letter explaining your area of interest and distribute it to production companies. 
  4. Network, Network, Network: Never underestimate the value of networking.  Attend events to meet people that share your interests and may hire you in the future!
What kind of jobs are available?

Depending on your skills or interests there are many different departments that you can choose to work in. For more information on the types of jobs available in film and television:

Download SMPIA's New To the Industry Handout Resource for Teachers here.

Web Privacy / Code of Conduct / Terms of Use