How to Break into the Film Industry

The film industry is a profession that most people automatically write off as impossible to get into. “Good luck with that,” people will say with a smirk when you tell them of your intentions. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know; and you don’t know anyone.”

It’s true that creative professions are tough to get into. Unlike our more business-minded counterparts, like accountants or lawyers (who know exactly what they have to do to be successful), the film industry has absolutely no guarantees and no clear checklist to victory. Film professionals are completely on their own when finding a path to success and it can be very intimidating, especially since no two career paths are alike.


To make things worse, you won’t find a lot of support out there, in fact, people will tend to try to spoil your dreams and make you think twice before going for it. There are a lot of reasons why people do this, but not all are malicious.

People close to you, like your friends and family, will sometimes try to protect you from getting hurt. They care about you and don’t want to see you struggle. They don’t realize that what you really need is their support.

Some people will be jealous of your courage because they always dreamed of doing it, but never did. They will make it sound like the film world is entirely unjust and only a chosen few succeed.

Worst of all, some people are just plain salty. They may have faced failure in their life and have concluded that if they can’t have victory, they won’t let anyone else have it either. If you are going to break into the film industry, you have to expect these kinds of negative influences on your dreams and tune them out.

Here is my theory on hard-to-break-into industries: the more competition the more saltiness; the more saltiness the more hopeless people feel; the more hopeless they feel the less they try; and the less they try the easier it is for a truly focused person to succeed. I honestly believe that the film industry has not become harder to break into, but easier. Through turmoil and mediocrity, quality individuals rise to the top.

Get your House in Order

If you have decided that you are going to take the plunge, it is important to get rid of as much resistance to your goal as possible. The most common form of resistance is debt. The film industry does not pay well at first; in fact, your first few jobs may be for free. Therefore, if you have debt, you will be eaten alive.

It was three years after I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in film that I took my first job. It was painful to work a non-creative job in order to pay off my debt, but I had to dig myself out of the hole I had created before I could pursue my dream.

If you can enter the film industry for the love of the work instead of a need for money, you will have a great advantage over most of your competition. Believe it or not, people in the film industry become slaves to their jobs just like everyone else. They find themselves in a position where they are forced to take jobs in order to pay their bills. People who are free to pick and choose their work have negotiating leverage to not only get better work, but to get work that will further their careers.

Spend time developing this freedom before you get locked into the life of a starving artist. Pay off your debt and develop some sort of passive income. If you are a creative person this advice will not seem sexy, but it will free you to be able to pursue your passion the way most people dream of their whole lives.

Microcosm of the Entrepreneurial Universe

I love the film industry because it behaves like a miniature, super-charged economy. Because film professionals are independent contractors and film projects only last three months to a year at a time, this industry is in a constant state of flux. Each movie is an entrepreneurial venture with so much motion and turmoil, things tend to happen at light speed. Success in the film industry can happen almost overnight compared to the overall economy.

Creativity is not enough to make it. You have to be an entrepreneur. This means that you have to learn some business skills to put your ideas to work. Entrepreneurs have learned to master the creative/logical duality in their own minds. Creative people are amazing idea generators, but tend to lack in logical skills like decisiveness, persistence, and follow-through.

My First Film Job

After I had paid off my debt, I quit a great airline job and started sending my resume to production offices for upcoming film projects in Austin. I didn’t have any experience, but I figured that I had enough on my resume to show a producer that I could quickly adapt. Of about ten resumes sent, I was only contacted by one person: legendary low-budget producer Damon Chang who was setting up a movie called Hallettsville featuring Gary Busey on less than a million dollar budget.

Damon didn’t say much, but told me that he needed help setting up the production office and that I could help paint the walls if I wanted to. The only pay he was offering was pizza for lunch, but it could possibly lead to a slightly more stable unpaid job.

I showed up the next day and helped along with four other volunteers. We had a good time and took pride in our painting, but couldn’t quite finish the job in one day. I volunteered to stop by the next day to finish up.

When I finished painting, some of the other producers were trying to set up about twenty desks that had just come off a truck in pieces. I grabbed my cordless drill to help and soon inherited the unpaid job of setting up desks.

Since it was so early in pre-production I had a lot of time alone with Damon and the other producers while I helped to set up the office. I didn’t know a thing about how movies were made, so everything was fascinating to me. Some of the producers were on the phone with Hollywood agents trying to put together a cast while Damon was interviewing people to fill about fifty positions on the crew. Since I had only ever heard of writers, directors, producers, and actors; I had no idea that all of these other crew positions even existed.


In the film industry, it is important to understand that no matter how creative you are, or how many blockbusters you have in your head, the person who might hire you doesn’t care. Producers are just trying to fill jobs on their crew with competent people who will carry out the vision of the director.

That being said, the easiest way to get a job in the industry with no prior experience is to take the job that no one else wants. This means lowering yourself to getting someone else coffee, taking out the trash, painting the walls, etc. If you can put your pride aside enough to do these jobs with a smile, you will be far ahead of most. A little humility will start you off on the right foot.

After a couple of days helping out around the office, Damon pulled me aside for a mini interview. I explained to him that I had zero experience but I would do anything he needed just so that I could be around to learn. He told me that he could usually tell within a couple of days whether or not a person was fit for the industry, and that he was willing to give me a chance. I think that humility plays a big part in whether or not a person passes Damon’s test.


My first official title was “Office Intern,” meaning that I was the assistant to the Production Office Coordinator. The job was still unpaid, but I moved up from assembling desks to making copies and running to the store. The first day I met my new boss, Mary Beth Meadows, she told me that half of success in this industry was just showing up. She explained that since film is such an unstructured enterprise, dependable people are hard to find.

I was surprised to hear that some people were so flaky, but looking back, I realized that out of the five of us who started out painting the walls, only two remained. The others had found excuses not to show up. All I did to get a title was come to work on time.

Integrity is the value of doing what you say you are going to do. It is a very simple and subtle quality, but extremely powerful. Following through on a promise, no matter how small, can give you authority and respect in an area where you previously had none.

For example a person who shows up to work when they say they will, returns people’s calls when they say they will, and completes the tasks they accept, has integrity. This type of dependability is rare in the business world and like gold in the film industry.

Even though I had survived the first cut, I didn’t realize how powerful integrity really was until I got my first chance to prove myself. One of the producers, Dustin Weaver, needed some locations scouts and pulled aside another intern and myself. He split up about ten possible locations between the two of us and gave us the same assignment to scout the locations and report back the next day.

Doing exactly what I was told, I took pictures of the locations and sent them to Dustin in an email the next day with a short take on each site. Shockingly, my counterpart called in sick the next day and didn’t follow through on her assignment. What she didn’t realize was that Dustin was looking for a locations assistant and while she flunked the interview, I was hired the next day.

How a Movie is Made

I didn’t know a thing about what went on behind the scenes in a movie before Hallettsville, but the movie served as my film school. I was most interested with the duality that exists between those who are “above the line” and those who are “below the line.”

The people who are “above the line” on a set are the ones you are most likely to hear about. They are the ones with creative input. This includes the writer, main actors, director, producers; and sometimes the assistant director, casting director, art director, or others. These people usually get credited at the beginning of the movie and sometimes share in the royalties.

People who are “below the line” fill in the jobs that complete the day-to-day tasks that are required to make the creative vision become a reality. The entire system is set up so that the creative people can concentrate most of their energy on being creative while everyone else around them makes it possible.

The interesting thing is that the people above the line are not necessarily more experienced than their below the line counterparts. In our movie, some of the people above the line had actually dropped out of film school. To get above the line, you need either have the resources to make a movie ($$$), or the creativity to make it happen.

This is another example of how the film industry is a microcosm of the entrepreneurial environment. Business are created by the partnership between investors and entrepreneurs (above the line). Once the business is set up, employees are hired to carry out the daily tasks. Getting into the ownership of a company is not as easy as working your way to the top. A movie is just a mini-company. To own a company, you must have the vision and resources to make a leap of faith on your own.

Just like in the “real world” people in the film industry can also get stuck in the rat race. If you are in debt, and are forced to take job after job that you don’t necessarily want, you never get the chance to take a breath and work towards your goal.

Very few people get above the line by working their way through the ranks. While positions that require a lot of experience in the trenches, like assistant director, line producer, and director of photography, can be negotiated above the line; if you want to be a writer, director, producer, or actor, you need to realize that these positions are not typically achieved by being promoted from below the line.

If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to be a director, direct. If you want to be an actor, act. Learn as much as you can by working in different departments on other people’s movies, but take time in between jobs to work on your own projects, no matter how small. If you don’t have the financial freedom to do this, your chances for success will be greatly diminished.

Qualities of a Film Industry Professional

Now that I have confused everyone on how to get to the top, I will say this: even though the path to the top is not clearly defined, the best place to start is at the bottom. We have already discussed how humility and integrity can help you. Here are some other qualities that can set you apart from the crowd.

Work Ethic

During production, work days can be as long as 16 or 18 hours. This can be tough and requires a lot of stamina. A strong work ethic means that you are the first to volunteer to help and the last to leave at night. Cheerfully offer help to others in your down time, even if they are in a different department. Not only does this show your commitment to the project, but it might land you your next job. Don’t complain about the long hours, because it may cost you your next job.


If you are a creative person, chances are your are highly unorganized. A missed deadline in a film can mean thousands of dollars down the tube at best, and the failure of the project, at worst. It is helpful to find some sort of organizational tool like a computer calendar or a paper planner. I use a combination of the two. You can read about my system here.

Creative Problem Solving

As an assistant, your first responsibility is to do what you are told without argument; but if you see that something can be done more efficiently, don’t be afraid to suggest it to your superiors. Just remember, their word is the last word. If your idea gets shot down, be a trooper and go with the flow.

Take responsibility

Just like in business, there are different departments in a movie and it is easy to blame a different department or an assistant when things don’t go right. People on the way to the top take personal responsibility for not only their own department, but the whole project. While you can’t be in all places at once, take ownership and work closely with your co-workers. Make teamwork, not excuses.

My First Paid Job

I was only assistant to the locations department for a few weeks before I got my next big promotion. I had shown enough to Damon for him to take a chance on me. He was having trouble finding a Transportation Captain within his budget, so he rolled the dice and offered the job to me. Although I would be making just $75 a day, I would be responsible for the coordination of a fleet of movie trucks, star trailers, generators, vans, and cars between several different locations on our project.

I gladly accepted the job, even though transportation had nothing to do with my eventual goal to become a director. I was not going to pass up a job of greater responsibility and a chance to be close to the action. The six weeks of production were grueling and stressful, but we made it through without any major hitches.

In my downtime, I was able to mingle with every other person on the crew and make some amazing contacts. It was my own film-school condensed into a few months. I barely made any money, but the experience I gained was invaluable.

If you are thinking about the film industry, don’t let anyone stop you. Get your house in order and hit the trail running. If your passion is film, there is no better place to live it than in the film industry.

Thank you for visiting If you enjoyed your stay, the best way to stay connected is to subscribe by email.

If you found value in the free content of this website, please consider leaving a tip. You might be helping someone else who may not have been able to afford to pay, but also found value.


  1. nyakundi June 15, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    very edifying.Thank you!

  2. Meg June 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    This article was extremely inspirational. before i read this, i was second-guessing myself. I’m 14 years old and with only a couple of auditions, with little experience, even having a great support system, i still wonder how might i make this happen. I’ve had a great passion and interest in acting sense the age of 7, but how do i overcome the fear that i wont make it?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  3. meg June 17, 2011 at 3:53 am #

    Thanks for sharing your story. It gives me hope. Film is my passion but i only majored in it in school for a short time (one actual film class and a half worth) when i realized how much debt i was getting in and changed my major so i would be able to pay off my loans after school, but i’m unhappy with settling. But i have to say film as a major scared the crap out of me because it was really what i wanted to do and i thought i wouldn’t be good enough at it the program and people in it were so intimating. now that i have grow more and can handle the world more so to speak, i realize that something anything in film is what i want to do. I want to be a part of film because it means so much to me. Everytime iwatch a movie or tv show which is a lot its a reminder that thats what i should have done and want to be doing in some way. And your story gives me hope that even though i made a mistake in not perusing it as my major that i could still one day be a part of the industry. I would work for free and paint walls and get coffee happily. I hope one day i get to work on a film in some small way. I really do.

  4. jasmin July 4, 2011 at 3:04 am #

    hey, could you give me a chanse in one of your productions? i’ll do any kind of work.

  5. alesis dm6 July 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    I’ve learned some important things through your post. I’d also like to say that there can be situation in which you will make application for a loan and don’t need a co-signer such as a U.S. Student Aid Loan. When you are getting financing through a traditional loan service then you need to be ready to have a co-signer ready to allow you to. The lenders will certainly base that decision using a few factors but the most important will be your credit worthiness. There are some creditors that will furthermore look at your job history and determine based on this but in almost all cases it will be based on on your scores.

  6. kominek August 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    My husband and i ended up being very lucky Michael managed to round up his survey from the precious recommendations he received through the web page. It is now and again perplexing just to possibly be releasing thoughts which usually men and women may have been selling. And we also remember we now have the website owner to appreciate for this. Most of the explanations you have made, the straightforward blog menu, the friendships you will help engender – it is mostly astounding, and it’s really making our son and our family reason why the topic is cool, and that’s wonderfully essential. Thank you for the whole thing!

  7. kominki August 19, 2011 at 5:08 am #

    Simply desire to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your post is simply great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the rewarding work.

  8. Beatrice Haworth August 26, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    I am 16years old and have been interested in being a director or a producer working on a film for a very long time now. I have grew up always watching and having a love for action films in particular. When watching i would obviously listen and follow the story, but i’d also be thinking, about the directing of the film and how they could have done things differently to make it look better and more effective. By this time i have lost track on what is happening in the film due to my keen interest of directing and creativity in my mind..
    I have just taken my gcse’s, in which two were drama and art where i could show of my creative side and once i had an idea i’d share it with my group and most of the time, my group would say thats a brilliant idea and could work… Even if they didn’t know what i was talking about, i had a very clear picture of what it would have looked like in my mind and i would think to myself if i was working on a film, i would share this idea and make it work and make it happen.
    Im now going into my a-levels so will pick a mixture of academic and creative subjects.
    Could someone please tell me, how i could get into film after my a-levels.
    I would like to go to university and take a film studies course or something along those lines. Could anyone tell me what i’d have to do after that.
    And also being 16 now, is there anywhere people would recommend a bit of work experience??????

  9. Matt Popay September 8, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    Great article. I’ve just finished university and wanted to get into the industry as fast as possible so mostly by bothering friends of friends I managed to get work for an established video production company based just outside London, UK. I’m now a full time editor and camera operator and I’m happy to get my career started.
    I wrote some thoughts of my own as to how to get into the industry.

  10. SRM October 2, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    I stumbled across this tonight, and I have to say, I am so glad. Ever since I was little I’ve wanted to be involved with film, both with acting and behind the scenes work, and though I’m only 18, my whole life i’ve had people tell me to choose a different career path. At first I listened, but after searching and searching, nothing has a pull for me like film does. And after reading this article, I want you to know that you’ve helped me to make up my mind. I’m going to pursue what I want to do, despite all the people saying I shouldn’t, or that I can’t.

    This article has helped me remember what is important and I hope that you understand how many people you’ve helped to rediscover their passion and dreams through this enlightening and inspirational post.

    Really – thank you.

  11. amy October 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Great article. Although things don’t always go to plan. I’ve had far too much humility and I’m bored of the unpaid tea jobs – not all low grade jobs are rewarded. I agree with the entrepreneurship statement though sometimes you just have to tell people what you can do for them and be confident with your ability. Now I have the knowledge and contacts to make my own films. Its kinda sad and sounds big headed but I don’t want to make tea any more (I done that for 4 years) I’m just going to go and make my own feature film now. :)

  12. hollywood October 10, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    the dream factory sells dreams, not reality.

  13. Chris Barry October 14, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    I went to school for 4 years to get a film degree. I was 18 and straight off the farm. After I successfully finished my education I started looking for film work. It took about a year, but I made some contacts and soon was getting booked as a set PA for commerical and feature film (including some Hollywood work).


    I had a very low opinion of the people I worked with and their attitude to not only their work but life in general. I thought I must have just had a few bad experiences, but this was repeated endlessly until I found the courage to get a day job in a film storage facility.

    I do not recommend film as a career to anyone. It’s a great hobby, but it’s a terrible profession that does not pay well.

    If you have the opportunity like I had, to study whatever you want, please realize this is a very important choice not to be overlooked. Getting out a bad career and retrained takes about ten years believe it or not.

    Good luck to everyone and please also remember, the film industry is an industry. It is not creative. It is about financing and marketing and these are the two things that consume most of the people in the business. If you want to be successful in film, financing and marketing are a great background to have.

  14. Adam October 20, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    Great article Brian. Nice to read others giving people the encouragement to venture into the film industry. And I’ll second your view that it doesn’t take a degree to be able to write a screenplay.

  15. packages October 21, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    Hello There. I found your weblog the usage of msn. That is a really neatly written article. I?ll make sure to bookmark it and return to learn more of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I?ll definitely comeback.

  16. Val October 24, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    Amazing that it has been so long since the article was published and people still read it. I’m 32 and all I’ve dreamed since 18 was film industry (producer, director, dp). My dad very much discouraged me in my dream and I regret that I believed him. I’m very inspired by the article, thank you Brian! I will reach my dream or die trying.

  17. Hovsa October 31, 2011 at 4:59 am #

    For the 16 years old above, this is a blog post and not a discussionboard. But I would recommend you try search for Movie + Jobs on a search engine bing or google.

    I BTW thanks for a great article. Thumbs up.

    Best regards


  18. Mirkle November 5, 2011 at 12:17 pm #


    given the amount of work for no or very little pay you need to do to get into film, the new tuition fees at uni in UK are of no consequence at all. you dont start paying back anything until you are earning more than 21K, and even then it is a relatively small amount which will be calculated when you do your self assessment as someone who is self employed. You only pay when you are earning, so again, the times when you are unemployed you wont pay anything, and after 30 years your debt is wiped clean. in a profession like film, there is every chance you’ll get quite a good slice of free money off the government, so i’d go for it.

  19. Russian Ballistic Knife November 7, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    I appreciate, cause I discovered exactly what I was taking a look for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  20. Nyasha November 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Thank you so much for this article, it is inspiring, made me think about my future. I can’t believe i was about to let other people crash my dreams. My family laughed at me when i told them i wanted to get into the film industry, maybe they didn’t realise it, but i was hurt. Anyway i know i can do it, i can be a coffee girl but 1 day i’ll be who i want to be. Thanks again.

  21. Ameera November 10, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    I’m 14 and a half and i want to join the film industry just as much as i want to be an engineer. I can sing, dance, act if I’m given the guidance. My parents don’t want me to ‘throw my life away’ but ever since I was a little kid, I’ve almost always taken part in the school dance/drama fiesta. Can you please give me some advice on how i can pursue my dream of enerting the film industry? [In my country, there aren't any agencies which an underage person can join unless you're related to famous people.]

  22. Sifiso Sfistash Dladla November 23, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Hey Mr Lee, thanx for the encouragement. I’ve just finished my studies in Audiovisual Communication at the University of Johannesburg. Having came across your article I feel encouraged, more determined, and positively equipped to hit the film industry. What you’ve discussed really gave me direction and a clear view of the industry. Thanx a lot for sharing.

  23. Farhan December 11, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Hello ALL!
    just to say that I love your article its very honest. I’m a struggleing acter unlucky for me I’m Pakistani and there isnt as much chances of a good film in future.

    I want to get a chance of any aisan character in any movie … so i can prove myself ……

    Currently i am in Pakistan and doing a job in Government Sector, I have done Masters in Comp. Sc. …

    Waiting for a kind reply,


  24. Sathish December 19, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    Hi…,’m from INDIA nd ‘m trying 2 get a job in direction part..,it looks very tough competition…,and i don’t know what to do..,but 1 thing s Politics nd finance make all matters in film industry to get easy job in film work..,

  25. Maggie December 19, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    This just inspired me so much!!!!

  26. shark December 23, 2011 at 2:59 am #

    Wow! this is very inspiring, I couldn’t stop reading its such a brilliant article. Thanks for the inspiration hope you write more.

  27. Medical December 24, 2011 at 4:23 am #

    hi!,I like your writing so a lot! share we keep up a correspondence more about your post on AOL? I require a specialist in this house to resolve my problem. Maybe that’s you! Looking forward to look you.

  28. Jake December 31, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    I am in ages 12-14 and I really want a job, maybe in Disney… My parents are concerned for me to even try because they will think I will loose my childhood, and life… They are HUGE on education Any advice??

  29. David January 1, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    This post is an inspiration and reading this is a great start to boot 2012! Happy New Year everyone and don’t let the naysayers cut down your dreams! If you truely believe you can do something, then don’t let anyone stand in your way until you succeed!

  30. Lee January 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Hey thanks for the advice. I have no experience what so ever and would love to get involved within the film industry I would literally do anything. I am 30years old now and want to pursue an ambition I have always wanted to do. Do you think I am too old or give it a shot? I don’t know where to start looking. Thank you.

  31. Fara January 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    I am pinning this up on my wall! I’m in school and everybody is pressuring me to decide what i want to do when I’m older, I honestly have no clue but I’ve became quite passionate about editing films and coming up with ideas to write about (I’m not yet sure on the idea of writing). I found this article after searching hopelessly for what i want to do with my life, I am truly grateful i found this article as it has given me inspiration for the future. I know my answers now to the questions people will ask me about my career now, and will be prepared for the response, thank you,


  32. Vanity Sets January 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Fantastic issues altogether, you just received a new reader. What might you recommend about your publish that you simply made some days in the past? Any sure?

  33. Chelsea January 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm #



  34. vijay kavathiya January 8, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    It was very very inspired me and on spot made me ready to leave business of vodafone retail store.i am married now. Can i get success after married in film industries? I love creative work and work with lovely people which i think get in film industries.

  35. brian January 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    I guess at the end of the day each and everyone can dream, and read this article to inspire our self to achieve our dream. but i think at the end of the day it’s all up to yourself. a great man once told me the only person that could really destroy your dream is Yourself. believe in yourself and even if you fail, keep going, even if you made a bad decision. encourage yourself to keep trying and trying even if it takes more than 20 years. eventually you will make it. Remember the strongest always survives.

  36. Evelyn W. January 11, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    I want to thank you so much. Its so hard having a dream of being an actress and everybody that you tell your major is in theater to gives you a funny look while I know theyre thinking “thats never gonna happen”. I cant even tell my mom what my real major is because I know she’ll flip out so I tell her Im majoring to become a doctor. I do believe in myself but sometimes it gets hard basically pretending to be something Im not. So, thank you again (whoever wrote this) you got my spirits up again. =)

  37. Egor January 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    Hey! :) great article, very moving for wannabe directors like all of us :)
    I am 21, about to graduate with an undergrad Arts degree (in International Relations) from a fairly nice school, I also think that an irrelevant degree like that gives you self-enrichment and insight that makes a great filmmaker.
    I have no debt to pay off, and I’m facing a decision of going to grad school in my discipline, or chasing the dream, moving to Vancouver and starting film career from the gutter. I have to relevant experience or almost no education (took some film/theater/writing electives) but got some self-taught skills, and tons of motivation :) what do you think, should I go for it?

  38. Roy January 19, 2012 at 2:56 am #

    Biggest motivation ever! Thanks so much for sharing this. I will be graduating with a finance degree this year, but my passion is films, films, and films! My family and friends support me and are all for me to join movies. I studied finance in college as a fallback. I already have a job lined up with a large bank once I graduate. I will take your advice about getting rid of debts, saving money, then hitting up the film industry. I think 26-28 would be a good age for me to leave everything and join the film industry. Thanks again!

  39. Hareet deol February 3, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    I’m 15 and this inspired me, I am currently doing acting at gcse. I am predicted 2 Astars and my teacher urges me to pursue a career in acting. The information was invaluable and I am an asian (british-indian) yes I know, you don’t see many in films. I want to be the new generation in acting because it is my passion. thanks, appreciated much.

  40. guddu February 14, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    Don’t forget Luck also plays a major part in ur road to dream success ,Make sure wherever u are working it will lead up to fruitful result

  41. John April 5, 2012 at 3:29 am #

    Hi, my name is John Serrano and I was just wondering if I could trouble you for a little advice? I realize that you are probably very busy but I would be very appreciative if you could help me out.Your article actually really helped me. Right now, I’m about to enter the same boat you were in. I’m planing to move to LA very soon to find work in the film industry and hopefully chase after my dreams of becoming an auteur filmmaker.

    My current problem is that I don’t know where exactly I should move to in LA. Where would you recommend someone in my situation to move to? Right now I’m looking into apartments in Mid-Wilshire, Hollywood, Santa Monica, West LA, and Culver City. But I have noticed that many production companies are stationed in Burbank, Century City, Universal City and many other places.

    One other problem I would like to ask about is how I can get my very first job. It’s still a bit unclear to me about how I can make my first move. Should I just go for it and start sending my resumes to any production office I could find? How do I go about doing this? I’m still a bit confused.

    If you could take the time to help me out, I’d really appreciate it. It would be a great help. Thank you.

  42. Anthony Pristell April 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    That article was amazing an informative thank you I find my thinking the same and trying to achieve the same things you achieved. My name is Anthony Pristell and I am an aspiring filmaker and actor from the Bronx, New York and it is my dream to break into the industry and make it as entertainer. I am commenting on this article in hopes that you will see it because I’m hoping that I can make some connections with you and I can get a job on one sets I don’t care what it is or how much it has nothing to do with my main goals just as long as it gets me close to action so I can learn more. This is because I feel that I know my craft but I can always learn more and a slow rise to the top is better than no rise I don’t have much experience and I don’t have a resume but I want to build and learn. I have totally eliminated any doubt from my mind that I will not make it so if there is anything you can help me with it would be much appreciated. Thank You

  43. Mandi April 30, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    I know I have to start somewhere. Where can I search? I would dedicate my life to learn everything there is to know. I would greatly appreciate any information :)

  44. Jesse May 3, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    I know that this post is fairly old but it has been a life long dream to act in a film im currently aged 20 have never acted other then in drama at school but would love to be given a chance i believe i could do great the only problem is i live in AUS and where i live there is no chance to make it anywhere, what do i do :( if anyone could help me please do

  45. hashiralph shakuluh May 12, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    The wonderer has always been and still is what i love to do the joy of my heart the very sun shine in my eyes as a boy, as man ,as child i have been wondering about the bredth and the length of the wide , wide world i really to be an actor in my life please will welcome your reply

  46. Khalid Hakim June 2, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    I have realized at age 28 that I too want to break into the Film Industry. I am interested in acting, writing and directing but have zero experience in it. I have only acted in a couple of school plays but I enjoyed it alot. I live in United Arab Emirates so I don’t know where to start. Any help or guide would be greatly appreciated.

  47. Libby M December 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    I’m 21 stuck in a day job making not much and not happy. I graduated when I was 17 and have put off going to college because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to go into film, specifically a film editor, but like you said thought it impossible and have been killing myself for four years trying to figure out what I want to do, since I thought film was out of my reach. This article has given me confidence to try but I have 2 concerns.
    1St. A resume…I don’t have anything related to the film industry on mine. Just random jobs. Mostly daycare.
    And 2ND, I don’t mind working for free for a while but what do I do about living expenses? I live on my own and support myself. Don’t get along with my parents too we’ll so moving back with them is out of the question. I could always save for awhile but what if im working for free longer than what I expected and saved for?
    Please reply! Id greatly appreciate any advice!

  48. Margo January 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    “Here is my theory on hard-to-break-into industries: the more competition the more saltiness; the more saltiness the more hopeless people feel; the more hopeless they feel the less they try; and the less they try the easier it is for a truly focused person to succeed.”

    I love that part! I am keeping it with me forever, to keep me focused and motivated. Thanks!

  49. GT January 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    If you love in LA, you can apply for entry-level jobs that pay minimum wage, but maybe that is enough to pay rent with roommates.

  50. Steve P February 5, 2013 at 1:02 am #

    First of all, I appreciate your positive attitude and perseverance. However, the fact that you were paid only $75/day to do such a degree of transportation coordination is despicable. While you make it sound “humble” to do this kind of work, I find it shameful that a producer – who is making so much more money than you probably realize – is taking advantage of folks. To me personally, Damon Chang is a Schmuck. Interesting how, according to iMDB, he hasn’t done any work in a while.

    I work in the film industry…it’s shameful how some producer’s run their projects.


  1. Nehring The Edge movie reviews - November 17, 2006

    Well, if you want to change Hollywood your best bet is getting involved in the industry. Want to get into the biz? Brian C. Lee has some outstanding advice for those on the outside looking in. Check out GENIUSTYPES.COM and read his thoughts on how to break into the film industry. Of course the best route to fame is being the spoiled, mildly interesting child of famous parents. It worked for lightweight Gwyneth Paltrow. Heck, the they gave her an Oscar over Emily Watson, Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett. It’s like losing a

  2. Exalted Beauty - January 2, 2007

    8 Steps to a Better Project posted at James Corey. This ex-programmer tries his hand at woodworking. He covers everything from shop-built box fan dust collector to building a kitchen utensil holder. Brian C. Lee presents How to Break into the Film Industry posted at Surfer Sam presents How To Be An Artist. Tap Into Your Hidden Inspiration ! Surfer Sam posted at Surfer Sam and Friends. Brandon Peele presents Thus Spoke Zarathustra Book Review

  3. About Creative Life and Passive Income | Genius Types - January 12, 2009

    [...] Free Day Planner 2.0 Become a Critical Thinker A Primitive, but Effective Time Management System How to Break into the Film Industry Stiff vs. Suit for your Day Job The Passive Income Trap Is Blogging Income Passive Income? Five [...]

  4. Breaking into the Entertainment Business | christopher ming lee - August 19, 2010

    [...] How to Break into the Film Industry by Brian Lee [...]

  5. 54 Filmmaking Tweets Worth Re-tweeting | Spidvid's Blog - September 21, 2011

    [...] How To Break Into the Film Industry [...]

  6. Breaking into the film industry. « My journey into film - October 18, 2011

    [...] Here is a really good article on how to get into the film industry.  I think it is really good advice. I jumped in and got involved.  Though I had gotten caught up working with a really bad guy in the industry, I have since gotten to work with many wonderful people, and have gained a good reputation.  I show up and work hard. I  try to learn as much as I  can. I stay positive even when things don’t go right on set or in a project. [...]

Leave a Reply