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.