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November 2, 2013

Applying For Production Jobs? Here Are a Few Tips to Make Your Resume Shine

Production ResumeSending out job applications for production work can be both tremendously exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. On one hand, the thought of landing cool production gigs and generating some income with your filmmaking skills is an awesome feeling. But what if your resume isn't up to snuff? What if you put too much information on there, or not enough? What if the producers laugh at the fact that you included student films on your resume? Well, worry no more, No Film Schoolers, because in a fantastic post for Production Hub, Robyn Coburn, who reviews production resumes and cover letters for a living, wrote up a list of the 7 most common mistakes that she sees from aspiring filmmakers on their resumes.

So without any further ado, here are just a few of the mistakes that we might all be making with our production resumes:

Lack of clarity about your position

Don’t have a one-size-fits-all résumé, and don’t try to be a jack-of-all-trades either. The rest of that saying is "master of none". UPM’s on real movies with real budgets, are looking for individuals to do specific jobs. Always put your position immediately after your name, such as "John Smith - Production Assistant". Don’t have "position sought" taking up space on the page.

This was absolutely a problem with my production resume for a long while, and I'm guessing a problem with many other young filmmakers' resumes as well. It's entirely too tempting to put down the fact that you're an experienced sound man when, in reality, you held a boom on a student short 7 years ago. Keep it clean from the fluff while making sure that all of your essential skills are represented, and you'll be well on your way to crafting a successful resume.

Keeping student and micro-budget projects on your résumé for too long

I know we all have a lot of affection for our early work. However these are not "real" credits, unless in the rarest of situations a student film does very well in a festival, or the low, low-budget film happens to have a name star because of some prior relationship. Most of the time, drop those projects "off the bottom" of your résumé as you get more real credits to include. It is better to have a few real, higher budget credits - regardless of how lowly the position - than to be listed as the Producer of an unknown student short.

Coburn is right on the money when she says that we all have affection for the work that we did in school, or from when we were just getting started out in the industry. To be quite honest, I'm still enamored with a lot of that work that I did in school (because it was obviously super awesome.) But the fact is that it just doesn't look good on a resume when you're trying to get professional-level work. Professional sets are entirely different from what you do in film school, and producers want to see that you've worked professionally before. It's that simple.

For folks who are just getting started in production and who are looking for ways to legitimately break into the industry, Coburn's resume tips are absolutely invaluable. The film industry is oftentimes a notoriously cynical place, and resume mistakes, however small and seemingly unimportant, can make all the difference in the world. Of course, an equally polished cover letter is also essential to landing the job, but that's an article for another day.

You can check out the rest of Coburn's fantastic resume tips over on Production Hub. And hell, while you're there, might as well apply for a job or two.

What do you guys think of these common production resume mishaps? Do you have any of your own? Let us know in the comments!

Link: Tips For Creating a Solid Production Resume -- Production Hub

Your Comment

8 Comments

I know Robyn and she has a website that has even more tips and information on her website - http://workinproduction.com/

November 2, 2013

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Brady

Wow that sentence came out poorly. Haha.

November 2, 2013

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Brady

Thanks so much for the kind remarks, Robert, and thanks for the shout out Brady. I love helping people make their résumés and cover letters better.

Now to return the favor, check out Brady's short film, Monster: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Hk9vwrEfRg

November 2, 2013

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Oh, and I'll be adding the Cover Letter tips to my website soon!

November 2, 2013

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Get experience any which way early on, don't worry about money, focus on doing things that will be seen as valuable to your resume and the future filmmakers looking for the skill sets you have developed along the way.

November 4, 2013

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ehhh
so when you applying for an industry job, list as many industry jobs you've done as possible?
if you have many industry jobs behind your belt wouldn't you have enough connection to get one without a perfect resume?

November 5, 2013

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normalornot

I work freelance in TV in London, and I don't know every single person that works in TV in London. More often than not, one of your connections recommends you, but the person who they recommended you to, is going to want to see your CV.

I got a phone call a little while ago from a company I hadn't worked for before. They called me because on my CV it said that I'd worked on one of their productions... which was weird because I hadn't. Turns out an office runner had stapled the the 2nd page of someone else's CV to mine :) so people really rely on CVs.

Didn't get that job...bastards.

November 7, 2013

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Ror

Resumes? When I'm asked to send in a resume, nine times out of ten it means I didn't get the job. On one hand, you can look at it that I'm not good enough writing resumes...but really, it's just that most film work is word of mouth. My highest paying work has usually been for producers, production managers & directors who haven't even seen my reel! It used to actually offend me, but I've let it go...recommendations from the right people are a pretty powerful filter and most productions rely on that (I work in the camera department and most of the time, I'm getting hired by the DP even thou the phone calls come thru the production manager or producers.) It does make breaking in harder...

November 16, 2013

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Daniel Mimura