Film sales is a specialised area of the film industry, Fred helps coordinate the work load of the sales executives at a busy film sales company.
Did you take on any work experience or internships, if so how do you think it benefited you when applying for paid work?
Yes, and it was an enormous benefit. There are very few companies who will take someone on a full time basis straight out of school or university. Working as an intern or just on work experience shows that you have more than a passing interest in a career in the industry and have taken the time to investigate further. It shows you are pro-active, have seen what entry level jobs require, and are still keen. It also bulks up your CV – applicants who have worked a couple of internships and shown they can work hard have more of a chance than someone who went to film school and has done little since. These short term placement also build up your list of contacts who can vouch for you - the industry is smaller than you think!
How long did it take you to get your first permanent paying job, and what was the path you took to get you there?
About a year. I had worked frequently as a runner for a production company, and had internships in development and sales. From that I was accepted onto a four-month trainee scheme, and got a job offer from there.
Whilst working at entry level, what were your responsibilities?
It depends on which area of film you work in, but they are largely admin based. If you are on a shoot you’ll be running errands and covering wherever you’re needed, which will often be very varied work. In an office you’ll usually helping the assistants and those at entry level with their work, from budgets to orders to expenses, reading scripts, organising transport, updating workbooks, sending mail outs - This sets you up for an entry level job yourself, as you know what these roles actually entail.
Can you tell us a bit about your current position and what your job entails?
I work within the sales team, coordinating for the various sales agents. This involves managing our various databases and workbooks, helping evaluate projects and talent for their international potential and running numbers on them, as well as countless other organisational tasks. Our work revolves around markets and festivals, so a lot of time is spent preparing for markets as well as attending them, and running our offices at each one.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I think attending markets and festivals is what makes this side of the industry enjoyable; getting to know distributors from around the world and seeing films play internationally and on the festival circuit is particularly rewarding.
Having gained experience in the film industry what advice would you give to those who are just starting out?
There are so many different areas of film to work in; it’s not just production. Do your research and find out where your talents and interests lie, be it development, financing, production, acquisitions, legal, sales, distribution, marketing, locations etc. etc. etc.
You will find there is far more varied and interesting work out there than you might think.