04 Nov 2016

The realities of working in the Film Industry

There are such a variety of roles and opportunities available in the film industry that it can be a very fruitful and rewarding career path to follow. 

filmindustry.jpgThere are however, many misleading stereotypes associated with working in the film industry that we want to crack to reveal the truth. 

We spoke to the Academy of Film, Theatre and Televisions film tutors Andrew Lawrence and Miro Bilbrough to find out the realities of the film industry. 

Hard Work 

To become successful in most industries, hard work is a necessity. However Andrew argues how “You must love film as a craft first and foremost, because it will never be an easy lifestyle. If you love your work, you will never question going beyond the call of duty.
If you are not prepared to do the hard yards and you are looking for a soft life you are not the person for the job. Someone must have a good work ethic. If you are keen and shine optimism, and are ready to jump in and help across all departments, it will not go unnoticed.”

Available opportunities

Opportunities for film makers is arguably on the rise, with some high production value blockbusters now coming to Australia including Mad Max and Pirates of the Caribbean. Australian film passed a significant box office milestone, surpassing the all-time box office record of $63.4 million set in 2001 and was  at $64 million^ in 2015.

Andrew: “I believe the Australian film industry has created some amazing incentives as of late for up and coming directors, producers and writers. SPAAmart and Screen NSW's Aurora Program were at the forefront of discovering new talent.”


Diving in the bush for your craft #FilmMaking #FilmSchool Repost @ellenlouiseh

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Experience and Networking

Experience is key, and networking is part of that. Andrew talks from his experience working in the industry arguing that "if you do volunteer your services and you do it with enthusiasm, you suddenly find yourself being contacted for paid jobs. Say if you want to be a director, the first step I s to volunteer as a 2nd AD. After a while you will learn the tricks of Firsting and it will lead to either a paid gig as a 1st AD, or at least being asked to fulfil the 1st AD role in a volunteer nature. It is really about getting slates on your resume.

Working on crews in this nature also allows you to get contacts which can be very useful when you want to make a short film, and you can call in favours from experienced crew. The more shorts for your resume, the more credibility you have as a director when you go for funding. I have also known many production mangers who voluntarily assisted reputable producers, who then came on to work for them. In the end, these once volunteer production mangers went on to become producers and in turn, the producers who they did volunteer time with became their Executive Producers vouching for them in the industry. In the end it is about gaining trust and experience.””

Miro: Make films. Pound on doors. Target the filmmakers whose work you passionately admire: approach them. Make films. Pound on doors. Be passionate. Don’t be shy. Cultivate your art. Follow what you love.

Extended Learning

Especially due to the advancement of technology, the film industry is constantly changing, and as a film maker you must be able to constantly adapt to changes in the industry. 

“ 'Crack The Big One' - is one of those stereotypes that is not true, especially for directors in the Australian industry. I believe it is a process a constantly learning your craft. Your first film should show a style that allows you to learn constantly and be pushing you to reach for something bigger. Your idea must be simply executed as a new film maker” Andrew contends. 


Red Epic Cinema Camera in the studio of AFTT #aftt #redepic #redepiccinemacamera #greenscreen Great pic 📷 @angelo_velardo_dop

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Your Vision

Miro maintains  “you have to aspire to be an artist in order to make extraordinary work and speak to an audience. I believe the best filmmakers are artists who have cultivated a voice that is uniquely theirs. Maybe this will give you market value, maybe not. There are no guarantees: this is a business built on risk— like all art.”

Andrew agrees, suggesting “you must keep true to your vision, only then will you step out from mediocrity, the banal and watering down. “

Find out more about studying Film at AFTT, or Enquire now.