Careers in Film – The Reality

Careers in FilmA career in film is a popular consideration for many and is commonly regarded as a glamorous career because of the connection to celebrity, wealth and beauty whether that is being an actor or working behind the scenes such as being a cinematographer or producer of a film.

There are so many opportunities available in film other than the commonly known careers of being an actor, film maker, producer, script writer etc.  It can be a very rewarding career if you have a passion for performance or creative expression.  However, this type of career has its own unique challenges that must be tackled head on if you are to succeed in this industry.

The information below gives you a realistic view on what is required for a career in film.

Career Avenues

Let’s begin with a career in acting as many people who are interested in film want to perform in front of the camera.  This is where the misconceived “glamour” factor forms a large part of some people’s interest to become an actor.  An acting career is not glamorous, it is hard work and very demanding.  You must be passionate about acting to give you the impetus to continually face the challenges of this career path.

One way you can meet the demands of this career path is to continually update your skills and abilities to the highest level.  You want to be at your very best at an audition to win the role!  And then perform to your highest level in the role itself as your performance is a major factor to whether a production succeeds or not.

You will need to attend auditions where competition is fierce depending on the role on offer.  You will have to win the role and this may mean facing many auditions before you succeed.  This in turn means that you will need to rely on other forms of work to supplement your income.

For every actor, there are many people working behind the scenes to make the production happen.  There are jobs that require people skilled in technical, administration, creativity and management.  Administrators are needed in film companies.  Technicians are required for sound, lighting and film production. Creative jobs can be a script writer who researches and writes the script or a make-up artist or set designer.  These career paths can also be very rewarding for those who love their line of work but also want a connection to the film industry.

The Reality

Famous and popular actors as is commonly known are paid up to the millions for each role they undertake.  That is probably the image most have in mind when it comes to acting.  The reality is that many creative artists and performers have low incomes and lack job security.  They need to find flexible forms of work that will enable them to attend auditions.  Pursue with passion your dream of becoming an actor, but also have a back up plan so that you have other options in place.  This may mean continuing your education in another area that you also have an interest in.

Getting Down to “Business”

You are most likely going to be hired on a freelance basis if you choose a career in film.  You might be the costume designer who researches and designs costumes, or an actor moving from one film to another.  You could be the stunt coordinator who designs and executes stunt work.  No matter what your line of work you’ll be your own business.  This means you need to market and sell your talents and services.  Consider taking a course on business skills for learning self promotion, bookkeeping and other entrepreneurial skills.


A career in film is highly competitive with many people seeking work in this industry and so can be difficult to break into.  It is therefore essential for you to develop or have mental strength and resilience to continually take the steps required to pursue your dream.


My passion is films, every spare moment I have is spent watching films or waiting for the next big release from my favourite or new and upcoming filmmakers.It’s a great “hobby” not only for the entertainment value but for the fact that certain types of movies can be inspiring or thought provoking as well as therapeutic!

I work as a freelance writer mainly but also pick up odd jobs here and there because I love travel and do a lot of it.

Feel free to find out more about me on Google+ by clicking on the orange icon underneath my photo.


  • Saskia says:

    Thanks Cheryl for showing us the other side of the coin when it comes to a career in film, most people get caught up in the red carpet and acting side of this business when really it’s a lot of hard work to get there.

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