Get a job, Sha na na na, sha na na na na! Get a job, Sha na na na, sha na na na na!

The Silhouettes

IMG_8170I am back home! I love to work on location. Shooting a movie wherever, whenever… it’s always a challenge and a lot of work and I really enjoy that! But, (I think) like everyone else, I also love returning back to my wonderful home.

Having said that, the end of a show means that it’s time to get another job.

As I said in my blog, “Fears are Paper Tigers”, one of the challenges of working in the film industry is the number of times we are laid of in a year… well not really laid off, I guess… each show is a contract, contract ends; job over.

So here I am out looking for the next fabulous, exciting and challenging job!

While I was packing up during the final days of my last show, some of the newer costumers were asking questions, like: How do you find another job? How do you know where to look for what’s happening? Do productions just call and offer you a job? Do you have to keep trying to find the next show yourself?how to get a job

All great questions! I have been doing this for… well a few years. I do have many people that like to call me for work… it’s so nice to feel wanted! But having people call with opportunities is the result of years of building relationships with Costume and Production folks, and more importantly gaining their trust.

One of the ways I like to build relationships is to keep in touch with people; I send emails, text messages or even Facebook posts to tell people where I am, what I am doing and when I am coming available again. Yes, I am one of the crazy people that loves to work… so when I am available for work, I like to add in there, ‘Does any one need any help? I’ll scrub boots!”ffwdwc65rh8jd8fjHey, I think this relates back to that pesky social media. Take a look at a previous blog, ‘Work it baby, Work it!

This can be challenging for the people just starting out. How do you find out whom to contact? Where do you look? Is it okay to contact some one you don’t know?

Today with all the different types of film projects going on you may be surprised how easy it is to get involved with a film production. Take a look at the Internet and see what is out there in your city!old-hollywood-movie-set

In Vancouver we have the BC film commission. On the BCFC (CreativeBC) website they list names, numbers and email address of all the union shows, either IATSE  or ACFC , that are currently filming in Vancouver. We also have UBCP website, which has a link to their production lists as well; some of these will be union and non-union projects.

Using these contact lists are a great way to find out what’s happening, but you will also need to have applied and be accepted at the individual unions to be able work on the union shows.

There are also many individual production companies that produce Independent or non-union shows. Most of these companies can be searched out on the web… Google; film production companies, your city. Talking directly to the smaller production offices will get you the email or fax number to send a resume in.

Take a look at your local paper or their website. “The Georgia Straight” in Vancouver BC has a great article available on-line about all the companies related to film in Vancouver.a411b415ba44

On the Internet, there are many options for searching out jobs that are in your area and further a field. IMDB  (Internet Movie Data Base) is a terrific resource for researching the people that are currently working on productions. If you hear about a project, take a look at who is in it, who is directing, designing or producing it. If you are going to meet with a designer, take a look on IMDB and see what they have done, what style of shows they have been working on and whom they have worked with. This also works for production companies, look into what types of shows they produce.

While surfing, take the opportunity to learn about different industry blogs and websites that are available. Today there are many options available to learn about what it is like for workers in the film industry. A wonderful website is by Brian Clapp, it is a great networking website that lists different job opportunities and also has fantastic articles about the industry with links to various industry blogs on line.

Now you have the info, where to start? If you are relatively new to the industry, begin by calling the smaller independent offices. Start getting your name out there, try volunteering  for these groups (take a look at the blog “Zombies Anyone?”); it can be a awesome way to get to know people. If you are able to do a little driving around, drop off resumes in person. This is always a fabulous way for people to be able to put a face to a name.IMG_2051And it is a big YES to, ‘can you contact people you don’t know’! It is not possible for you to know all the designers, just as it isn’t possible for them to know every costumer. Letting them know you are there and interested is a great way to get to know them even if it is only for the moment it takes to hand off a resume, make a phone call or send an email.

The key is this; be respectful, always make sure not to pressure people, you just want to make sure that folks are thinking of you.

And remember, the Designers are very busy and won’t have a lot of time, so if you get to meet them, say hi, pass over your resume, and tell them that you would be happy to help in any way and then let them continue with their work.

If you only get an email address, try to get the Designer’s name so you can attach a good cover letter that lets them know you are available and interested in working on their project!

When you do get onto a show. Make sure that you are willing and eager to work. This will get around as well. Costumers all talk and share info about other really great costumers. But don’t leave it there… if you can get email addresses, phone numbers or Facebook contacts, don’t forget to keep in touch and let them know when you are available for work.successHey, being persistent and showing that you are interested in working will pay off. And just because you gave a resume into that Designer on the last show don’t assume that they still have it. Go in again and hand in another one, especially if you have done some day calls since your last resume… paid or volunteer, all work counts as experience!

Choosing to be a costumer is the easy part, following through and building your career can be challenging… but it’s soooo worth it!

I had to add a link to this blog on working songs!  Take a look and add some to your driving tunes!

4 thoughts on “Get a job, Sha na na na, sha na na na na! Get a job, Sha na na na, sha na na na na!

  1. Alumni associations are a good resource, too, if you went to a school with a film or theatre department.

    Keeping in touch is vital, whether it’s a short email or social media, or, my favorite, holiday cards. Taking the time to write a stack of holiday cards always made a big difference — when everyone else was having trouble getting jobs in the slow Jan/Feb months, I got called, because my name was still fresh in front of them.

    Hello, fellow costumer! I’m a recovering Wardrobian — worked many years as a dresser on B’way and day played on NY television shows before chucking it all to move to the Cape and write full time. So glad I found your blog!

  2. Dawn: Thank you for linking to my post about work songs. That contract ended and now I’m on another one. I get laid off a lot. I also get unappreciated a lot. I’m a writer, not a costumer, but obviously there are some similarities. Well, you folks are better dressed. Thanks too for the chart about success and how to get there. Nature abhors a straight line and so does success! ~Steve

  3. Pingback: Entertainment Industry Top Articles of the Week | WorkinEntertainment

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