Student Success: Rachelle Etienne-Robinson, Substantial Art & Music

Rachelle was looking for an opportunity to gain more insight into the film and TV industry. She signed up for Film & TV Essentials because she wanted a self-paced program that would accommodate her busy schedule as a successful businesswoman. As part of her student success, her learnings contributed to content for her portfolio.

Being able to work with highly qualified instructors, learn terminology and technology exceeded my expectations.

ON CHOOSING FILM AND TV ESSENTIALS —

I wanted to gain knowledge and prepare for a career in the film and TV industry. I knew that New York University was affiliated with the program. So, that legitimized the online course. Of course, having a certificate from NYU highly influenced my decision.

ON BEING A YELLOWBRICK STUDENT —

I enjoyed working on all of the assignments and learning from all of the courses and instructors. In truth, every assignment and instructor was beneficial. 

STUDENT SUCCESS IN REAL-LIFE APPLICATION —

The course has prepared me to work in the film and TV industry by providing me with certification from a reputable institution. Being able to work with highly qualified instructors, learn terminology and technology exceeded my expectations. Specifically, I appreciated learning about the history of film and about technique. I also enjoyed learning about marketing and film festivals.

ON THE PAST & WHAT’S NEXT —

My experience in the Film & TV Industry Essentials program has provided me with the tools and resources needed. I feel I can navigate the industry. The online course provided me with an opportunity to create content to add to my portfolio. I am currently seeking production assistant positions and at the same time, looking to work on independent projects.

To follow Rachelle’s journey beyond Yellowbrick, follow her on Instagram @chezchelle.

Student Success: Sophie Sumner, Actress

Sophie is a model and an aspiring actress from Oxford, England. She took the Film & TV Essentials online course because she wanted a deeper understanding of film production to become a better performer. Sophie chatted with Yellowbrick about her student success and what’s next for her.

The course gave me the confidence that I really can do this.

ON CHOOSING FILM & TV ESSENTIALS —

I actually never went to college. I went straight into modeling, straight into the entertainment industry. But I didn’t second guess taking the course, I signed straight up. I knew the companies —Tisch, Rolling Stone, and I’d heard of Yellowbrick before. Sometimes you can get quite lost in looking at online courses, but this one really stood out. As soon as I played the first segment, it looked like they’d just filmed it! It was so modern. It was nice, short segments — things you can really get your teeth sunk into.

ON BEING A YELLOWBRICK STUDENT —

There is a gentleman who teaches quite a few of the modules, David K Irving. He is a legend, I love the way that he gives you real advice; just straight down the line and real. He said one of my favorite things right in the beginning. He’s like, “you want to be a filmmaker? Pick up a camera” and it’s the easiest, simplest advice. He makes this kind of complicated world of film very simple, brings it all together, and makes it accessible for everyone. I think that’s so important. Sometimes film can feel like it’s a million miles out of our reach,

There’s another professor, Janet Grillo, who is really in touch with things young. I wasn’t expecting it to be so kind of fresh and current, it’s really up-to-date and a current course. Judd Apatow pops in there, which is really fun. He gives some great advice about scriptwriting.

I loved the assignments. One of them is you have to come up with a music video and storyboard it. I enjoyed it so much. I spent days and I drew out all my storyboards by hand and even colored it in with glitter paint which was totally unnecessary. Just by doing the assignment on the storyboarding, I was able to understand, “that’s an easy first step. That’s how you start. That’s how you show your camera angles.” It’s been so good for building up my self-esteem.

STUDENT SUCCESS IN REAL-LIFE APPLICATION —

Since starting this course, things really took off. The course gave me the confidence that I really can do this. So I put myself forward a lot more and went for more auditions. I signed up for Actor’s Access and put myself on there. I just really went for it and I booked an indie film called Killington. While doing the online course, I did my first indie film. It was just incredible to be able to take a step out of myself and really appreciate everybody else’s job and how much hard work goes into making a film. We had two first-time directors and they’re both so passionate and so hard-working, and it was incredible to see their work and understand what they had to do to make it work. 

ON THE PAST & WHAT’S NEXT —

I love how you can learn all these different departments. Going into the post-production for Killngton, it’s exciting that I’m going to be following this journey along. I feel very much more in the process and I feel way more confident and secure as an actor — knowing what everyone’s doing, knowing what’s going on around me, and hopefully, that led to better performance, 

You can come away from this course with that feeling of “I can do this,” and I think that’s so important. For so many people, it is just confidence. I think worrying that film is such a crazy industry that many wouldn’t have access to, it’s not true. We can do it.

To keep up with Sophie beyond Yellowbrick, follow her on Instagram @sophiesumner8.

How the Film Industry was impacted by Covid-19

When the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe in 2020, life as we knew it came to a halt. Travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders went into effect. Workers faced lay-offs and businesses shut down, some never opening again. The entertainment business was not immune to the economic turmoil, with the film industry hit especially hard. From delayed releases to canceled productions, every sector of industry felt the total weight of the pandemic. A year later, Hollywood is still navigating the aftermath of the coronavirus.

The Box Office Falls

Film Industry Covid-19
A theater closed due to the pandemic.

In the early days of March 2020, the number of positive coronavirus cases reached historical levels. Cities across the United States declared states of emergency to combat the spread. Social distancing recommendations made in-person theater experiences potentially dangerous. Governments in Europe and Asia responded by ordering the closure of theaters. Markets in North America remained confident despite projections of a 20% drop in revenue from 2019.

By March 16th, AMC — along with Regal Cinemas and Cineplex — had announced all of their movie theaters would be closing temporarily.

AMC Theatres, the U.S.’s largest theater chain, initially called for 50% capacity in their cinemas to comply with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Still, as cases in the U.S. continued to rise, movie-goers grew weary of seeing films on the big screen. By March 16th, AMC — along with Regal Cinemas and Cineplex — had announced all of their movie theaters would be closing temporarily. A few days later, Walt Disney Studios and Universal Pictures confirmed they would stop reporting data on box office revenue as ticket sales dwindled.

To Release or Not to Release

No Film Releasing
Movie theater with no upcoming releases.

With the box office struggling to stay afloat, studios started to debate rescheduling the theatrical releases of feature films like Black Widow and Fast & Furious 9. No Time to Die was the first movie officially postponed. The film was initially rescheduled from its March 2020 release date to November of the same year. Ultimately, the film didn’t see a wide release until September 2021. Other films soon followed its lead.

Films expected to be steady performers like Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and A Quiet Place Part II faced indefinite delays and ultimately wouldn’t release for a full calendar year.

One by one, film studios attempted to predict a return to normalcy and shuffled around monthly releases. Films expected to be steady performers like Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and A Quiet Place Part II faced indefinite delays and ultimately wouldn’t release for a full calendar year. As releases backed up, productions in various stages shut down. Awards shows and film festivals moved to awkward zoom formats without live audiences. The film industry effectively ceased to function.

Streaming Saves The Day (Kind Of)

Streaming during Covid-19
The number of users on streaming services went up during Covid-19.

Streaming services emerged as alternatives to standard release formats, offering their subscribers digital rental options of back-burnered blockbusters. As Hollywood faced a complete standstill, some studios took the opportunity to partner with existing platforms. Warners Bros. agreed to release all of their 2021 lineup on HBO Max with simultaneous theater releases. Wonder Woman 1984 was the first major film to go through the new experiment. The film was initially slated for an August 2020 release before being moved to October. It finally landed on HBO Max on Christmas Day. 1984 failed to meet its box office expectations, only having taken in $166.5 million to date against its $200 million budget.

Other production companies seized the opportunity to launch their own platforms. The Walt Disney Company launched Disney+, a video-on-demand service housing releases through their popular subsidiaries like Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, and Pixar. The accessibility for quarantined viewers was a boon for home entertainment, but the financial results were less than impressive. Originally expected to be a solid performer, Mulan only recouped $70 million in revenue against a massive budget of $200 million. 

The accessibility for quarantined viewers was a boon for home entertainment, but the financial results were less than impressive.

Disney tried to pivot with later releases and took a page out of its competitor’s playbook by simultaneously releasing films on Disney+ and in theaters. The move also backfired; in July 2021, Marvel Universe star Scarlett Johansson sued Disney, claiming a breach of contract. In her lawsuit, she alleged that releasing Black Widow as a video-on-demand offering limited its potential success as a traditional theatrical release, limiting her compensation since her salary was partially based on box office revenue. The suit is still pending.

The Show Must Go On

Masked on Film Set
Masked film crew.

With the industry trying to get back on track, studios are dealing with an entirely new reality. Increased Covid-19 testing requirements have slowed film productions. Some — like Robert Pattinson’s The Batman — shut down after stars returned positive tests. Insurance costs have surged. While more money may be a minor inconvenience for major studios, independent filmmakers have struggled to secure additional financing. Yet, it’s not all doom and gloom. 

Insurance costs have surged. While more money may be a minor inconvenience for major studios, independent filmmakers have struggled to secure additional financing.

As filming resumes, local economies are bouncing back in states where productions were popular pre-pandemic such as Georgia. Streaming and online television are projected to grow; theaters are gradually reopening, but it’s been reported that 34% of U.S. consumers plan to continue watching television and film in socially distanced settings. Projections show that Netflix and Disney will add a combined $4 billion in revenue in 2022. The film industry may not ever be the same as it was before, but Hollywood is adjusting in new and surprising ways.

If you’d like to learn more about film and exploring the industry’s many careers, check out Yellowbrick’s Ultimate Film Career Guide.

Your Ultimate Career Guide Into The Film Industry

The United States box office revenue grew from $10 billion dollars in 2012 to $11.3 billion in 2021. China was the largest box office market in the world in 2020. The U.S. and Canada ranked second with Sony Pictures leading the way behind a domestic box office gross of $500 million dollars. With that type of economic growth, the business side of film has had to change drastically to keep pace. There are more people involved in making a film, with jobs delegated between pre-production, production, and post-production. What are those film careers and how do you get started?

To help you determine and achieve your career goals, we have created this comprehensive career guide. Yellowbrick’s Ultimate Film Career Guide is your source to discover jobs in film and learn entry points into the film industry. In this guide, you can begin to explore the jobs that drive the market, then search for your perfect career by area of interest, skills, companies, or industry experts. 

Download The Ultimate Film Career Guide

Learn about your skills and interests, and articulate them confidently to identify film career options within the industry that you might pursue. Then, implement a successful strategy to attain your desired outcomes.

In this guide you’ll find the following information:

  • Overview of the film industry
  • Future of the film market
  • Film Career Library
  • Career Planning Strategy to get into the film industry

You’ll also find simple exercises that help you:

  • form a career planning strategy to get into the film industry
  • find your passion in film and identify an area of interest to pursue
  • learn the film industry through top studios and its key players
  • identify your skills and match them to a film area of interest

Download this guide to start planning your film industry career. Whether you’re a novice, a student, or a professional, you can further your career path by downloading this guide that will help you begin understanding the film industry opportunities available, as well as the skills and qualifications you need to succeed.

5 Film Industry Jobs If You’re Just Getting Started

The film industry was one of the hardest-hit sectors during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, box office revenue and employment rates fell to a 20-year low, with just 257,000 jobs reported in January of 2021. However, the market is bouncing back. 

Careers in film are projected to increase by as much as 29% by 2030. So, how do you get your foot in the door with an industry that’s on an upswing? These film industry jobs are great starting points towards a long-term career in film.

Extra 

An Extra is a non-speaking role in a film or television production. They often appear in the background during scenes but do not have any lines. The purpose of Extras is to make the scene feel more realistic.

Film Industry Jobs
Extra

Extras frequently appear in scenes meant to convey a public space such as a restaurant, park, DMV, or store. Working as an Extra is usually part-time, and pay is low to start. Although, joining a union can grant higher pay rates and perks like paid meals and travel reimbursement.

Possible Career Paths: Working as an Extra is a way to gain insight into film production. You get to see the pace and demands of working on a set firsthand. If you’re interested in production assistant work or moving to the forefront to be a principal actor, consider starting as an Extra.

Production Assistant

A Production Assistant works on film, television, or theater sets. They assist producers and directors and help prepare cast and crew for shoots. Duties vary quite a bit — but typical Production Assistant responsibilities include printing and distributing scripts, handling production paperwork, assisting the crew with cameras and lighting set-up, communicating messages between crew members, and running errands for directors and producers.

Possible Career Paths: A role as a Production Assistant is a good entryway if you want to work either as a producer, executive producer, or crew member. Production Assistants work in all facets of film production and have the opportunity to observe all roles from director to the gaffer.

Publicity Assistant

Film publicists generate buzz around a feature film release and ahead of awards season. They foster connections with journalists and critics to gain media coverage because it’s up to them to get critics and the public excited about the film. Film publicists also manage press junkets and schedule press screenings for bigger-budget movies. 

Publicist
Publicity Assistant

A Publicity Assistant is a coordinator for a senior-level publicist or a team of publicists. They handle day-to-day communications with clients and draft press materials such as press releases, production notes, and biographies. Publicity Assistants are also responsible for tracking and compiling client coverage.

Possible Career Paths: A Publicity Assistant is a writing-intensive job. Getting your start here would allow you to develop skills to become a senior publicist. You could also pursue other writing careers like film criticism or journalism.

Screenwriter

Screenwriters create screenplays for film and television. A screenwriter may work on spec — writing a script based on their idea without any involvement from a studio. This type of screenwriting is considered freelance and would need to be pitched and sold to a producer or studio. 

However, a studio may hire screenwriters to develop a script based on a concept that has already been greenlit. Screenplays are classified as original — a script based on a completely original idea — or adapted — a script inspired by or based on preexisting copyrighted material such as a novel or video game.

Possible Career Paths: A lot of Screenwriters start as freelancers writing on spec. Screenwriters can secure an agent or manager to get steady work on bigger budget productions. There is also potential to work as a producer or film director.

Social Media Coordinator

Social Media Coordinators engage with fans, talent, and brands on social media to promote a film. They manage the publishing of social media content across social platforms, including real-time publishing. In addition, Social Media Coordinators create collateral like gifs, short-form videos, and memes for posts and monitor social media trends to make recommendations for ongoing strategies or opportunities. 

Social Media Coordinator
Social Media Coordinator

Possible Career Paths: Social Media Coordinators work alongside marketing and publicity. If you’d like to pursue a film industry job down the line in marketing or public relations, a Social Media Coordinator role may be the right starting point for you.

If you’re interested in any of the film industry jobs above or exploring which of the many other film careers may be a fit for your skillset, check out Yellowbrick’s Ultimate Film Career Guide.

Mini-Course: Creating the Shot List

The film industry is one of the most lucrative entertainment industries in the world, but it  can be daunting for new filmmakers. Historically, gatekeepers have held aspiring filmmakers at bay and breaking into the industry was a long shot. But, times have changed. With newer technology, the affordability of editing software, social media, and crowdfunding, filmmakers don’t require big budgets to make movies anymore. Now, you can record a movie on your cell phone, edit it at home, and submit it directly to major film festivals.

Take first steps toward your filmmaking journey with this mini-course filled with topical videos and leading insights. Creating the Shot List highlights pieces of the Film & TV Industry Essentials program, featuring NYU and Rolling Stone. Within the program, you’ll learn about creating a shot list and other pre-production film techniques. You’ll also get an overview of career paths like a Film Director, Screenwriter, Camera Operator, and Editor. Expect insights from David K. Irving, Ang Lee, and more plus more in this digestible, mini-video series.

Once you sign up, you’ll receive a daily email for four days to understand the basics of creating a shot list, storyboarding, organizing shots, and how to build a shooting schedule.

In this mini-course, you’ll find the following information:

  • Breaking Down the Script
  • The Basics of Storyboarding
  • Categorizing Your Shots
  • Building a Shooting Schedule

Film & TV Industry Essentials contributors who teach this mini-course:

  • David K. Irving, Associate Professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and filmmaker
  • Ang Lee, Academy Award winning filmmaker

Want to understand the business of film and how to create a shot list? Check out this film course.