The video production space is a fun industry to work in. You get to meet lots of people, create unique work that many people see and appreciate, work with cool equipment, and you get to be in control of the product your making, seeing it come together from start to finish. Combine all those things with video production’s general unique and flashy aura, and it’s a very appealing job market. Because of this, there are a ton of people looking for jobs at video production companies. I get about 50 emails a month from recent grads and job seekers of all ages, looking to call our video production company home. From all of these interactions, and hiring a variety of different video production positions, I thought it would be helpful to you to put together 5 Steps to Getting a Job at a Video Production Company which you can follow to optimize your ability to get a job in the video production industry. Ready? Here you go:
Step #1) Audit your current situation (1 Week)
At this point it doesn’t matter if you’re a film student, a film school graduate, you skipped college, you learned online, you’re experienced in the industry, or what; the first step to getting a job is to dig deep and understand where you’re at. What are you good at? What skills do you possess? The key here is to not ask your friends, or even people you know, but to seek objective third party feedback to get a firm grasp on your actual skill set. The biggest problem I see when people seek jobs in video production is they approach an employer thinking they are REALLY good at editing (or shooting, etc), when in reality they simply aren’t, they just have been in a bubble where their friends or colleagues have pumped up their self esteem enough to have confidence. In order to get a job you need to be self aware, and seek an appropriate position to your talent and skill.
Let’s say you want to be a video editor. Well, sit down and take out a sheet of paper. Open up google and write down a list of all the video production companies you’d think you’d like to work at. Get a big list, around 50. Take a good look at their work, and order them in level of quality, the one at the bottom being the lowest level of editing quality and the one at the top being the highest quality level. Once you’ve put them in order, take your best work and match it to the level of quality you think you fall in. You might be near the top around #1 or you might be near the bottom around #45 or s0. Ask a variety of unbiased sources to also tell you where you fall in the top 50. Wherever your skill set falls, you need to know. You have to be aware of your skills, and understand where you fall in the industry. You cannot improve yourself or get matched with the right job if you have an unrealistic view of your skill set. Once you have this, you can move on.
Step 2) Create for your job you want (1 Month – 3 Months, or more)
You have to make work and have skills that are relevant to the company you want to hire you. If you want to work at a company that primarly makes 30 second marketing videos and commercials, you should go out and make a variety of 30 second marketing videos and commercials. If you want to work for a company that makes animation videos, you should go make a ton of animation videos. For beginners, this means making free videos for people just to get the ball rolling. Don’t feel above this. Go out and make work until it matches the quality and skill of the company you want to work at. This is the most challenging part of the job pursuit, but it is the most fun and most important part. For some, it may take just one video, or it could take making 5, 10, 20 videos. But the key is to get to the point where you have video examples that match the quality of where you want to work. After each video you make, examine the video side by side with an example of a company your looking to work for. Once you get to the point where it matches, it’s time to move on.
Step 3) Market Yourself (1 Week)
Now that you have an honest view of yourself and you have work that is relevant and ready to be shown to employers it’s time to package yourself. You need to look at yourself as the business, and all the video production companies as your potential clients. Your work is the product, and you are the salesperson. What you are going to do is contact them with a pitch that they should hire you. Before you do that, have to look as presentable and convincing as possible. There’s a ton of things to do in order to do this the best, so here’s a checklist of all the things you need to during step #3:
- Have a presence on all social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Vimeo, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, etc)
- Have clean, professional photos that display who you are and what you look like (make it fun, creative, or you can go straight forward)
- Fill out bios that describe who you are, where you live, and tell your story (get creative here as well)
- Upload all your video work to Vimeo and YouTube
- Fill out the descriptions on all your videos to describe your role, and the background on the work
- Add custom thumbnails to all the videos to look as presentable as possible
- Put the work into playlists and collections based on what type of work it is or what role you played in it
- Create a simple website using Squarespace or another website builder (if you are also a web developer, this is your time to shine and make something very slick)
- Make it simple, clean and focused on the work
- Have your best main video, or demo reel be shown on the front page
- Add your contact information, including cell phone number, email, and social media accounts there as well
- Create an email account, adding a professional signature with your name, contact information, title, and social media accounts
- Create a resume that quickly displays your relevant experience (not that important, but some will request it)
- Build a list of as many video production companies as possible, including the name’s of the hiring manager (usually the owner), the email address of the hiring manager, the mailing address, their website, and some notes about them. You can find all this information usually by digging around online. Make the list as big as you can.
Complete all of these, and get feedback from unbiased experts in regards to how you did. Once you completed all of these, you can move on.
Step 4) Sell Yourself (1 Month)
You have videos that match the quality level of where you want to work, you have a website and social presence that clearly displays the videos, and you have an email account and a list of a ton of companies you want to work for. Assuming that you cannot find a job ad or position that you can apply for, you’re going to have to contact them all and sell yourself as a great candidate that they need to hire. First start by emailing the owner. Make the email short, and focused on your work.
Here’s a great example…
Subject: Joining your team
Body: Hi [insert first name of hiring manager / owner],
My name is [insert your name] and I’m a [insert your production expertise] living here in [insert your location]. I’m emailing you because I believe the type of work I do would add a ton of value to your team. Take a look: [insert link to site here]
I’m a fast learner, I work quickly, and I can work with little or no direction. My production skills and my character would make me a valuable and profitable part of your team.
What do you think? Could I stop in sometime to chat about the possibility of working together?
The keys to this email is that it’s short, it tells them who you are, why you are emailing, displays your work, hits on some of your character skills, maintains focus on value and profitability, and gives a simple request and call to action. Take this email, and send out to every company on your list. You should use the above email as a starter, and tweak for every company. Try to create a common correlation between you and the owner. Do some research on them. Find their Facebook or Linkedin, where did they go to school? What do they like? Find these things out, and do your best to integrate them into the emails.
Once you have emailed everyone, start to make phone calls to the owner with a similar message as to what’s in the email. Leave them a voicemail or engage them in a phone call.
Aim to network and create relationships with the owners of all the companies on your list. The point of this step is to make the companies aware of you and to aim to get in front of them.
Step 5) Listen, Improve, Follow Up (1-12 Months)
Once you have created and initiated conversation with some production companies, it’s time to listen, improve, and follow up. It’s important that you listen to the feedback they give you. If they don’t hire you immediately or even consider you coming in, that’s saying something. It likely means your work is not truly at the caliber it needs to be, or perhaps they’re just busy. But either way, you have to listen. Ask them what they think of your work and if they would hire you should a position open? Ask them when you follow up and how to best stay in touch with them?
Create a list of all the companies and stay in touch with them every month or so. Send them new work you are creating and showing them areas you are improving in. Keep creating videos and improving your skills, staying in touch with the people are you meeting.
Eventually, the goal is to get an offer, but in order to get that you need to be constantly improving your work, meeting new people, and re-selling yourself. If you do this constantly for a year, you should be able to land a job somewhere. If you can’t, don’t get discouraged. A lot of this process depends on luck. You often times need to be in the right place at the right time, so the more you are calling, doing new work, more people you meet, the more likely you are to get lucky.
But remember, not everyone is made out to be a hands on creative in video production, but maybe you might be a producer, or an office manager, or a production assistant. Or maybe this space just isn’t for you, and you’re better off in another industry. Whatever the case, pursuing a job in video production will teach you a lot and you’ll have the opportunity to meet a lot of people. Use this as experience to make yourself better.
If you have any issues or trouble following this list, need any questions answered, or just need someone to talk to about the video production industry, I’m happy to help you out.
Shoot me a text or call: 440-897-7271 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Work hard, stay aware, stay focused, and get to work!
Other things to keep in mind during your pursuit for a job in video production:
- You might need to start by freelancing with the company before they hire you full time. Keep your rates low so they have incentive to use you over their regular freelancers.
- Instead of working at a production company, there are more and more jobs popping up that are video production jobs at general corporations. These might be a better fit as there are more of them, and more standard application processes.
- Always keep doing more work. You need to get better no matter how good you are. Keep your ego low and aim to get better.
- During the process, you might find you actually like something else, or want to start your own company. Stay flexible and take what comes your way if you want to.