Careers in the Film Industry|Turn Your Film & Video Hobby into a Career

Turn Your Film & Video Hobby into a Career

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Everybody has to start somewhere. Many of the most famous directors and producers started out as movie buffs and novice filmmakers. If you are an amateur filmmaker or video artist-or just a movie buff-there may be a career for you in the world of film production.

From Video Clerk to Film Director
Quentin Tarantino, one of the greatest Hollywood directors of the '90s, started out as an amateur film enthusiast. He was once quoted as saying, "When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, 'No, I went to films.'" Tarantino's first job was as a video clerk at the Manhattan Beach Video Archives in California, where he spent his time debating the merits of his favorite films and making recommendations to customers.

Multiple Routes to a Career in Film
Not Quentin Tarantino? Don't worry. There are several ways to go about getting started. Many young auteurs gain career training by going to film school. During or after school, many students gain experience through filmmaking internships and apprenticeships. Entry-level jobs are often available to professionals with degrees from art and design schools.

In Tarantino's case, he was able to break into the field by producing excellent work that caught the eye of someone in the business. As an amateur filmmaker, you can promote yourself by creating a portfolio and entering films in local festivals and competitions. Whether you want to be a film director, screenwriter, or cinematographer, getting your work out into the public eye is an excellent way to get started.

Start Your Own Video Business
Not everybody who is into films has to work in Hollywood. Many successful business owners in the video industry also started out as amateurs and enthusiasts. Take the example of Warren Miller, the world's foremost director of ski and snowboarding movies. Since the inception of his career in the late 1940s, Miller has created over 750 films that document the lives and exploits of the world's greatest skiers. Today Warren Miller Entertainment is the premier ski movie production company in the world.

Camera operators earned a median income of $40,060 in 2006, while median annual earnings of producers and directors were $56,310. Not surprisingly, Quentin Tarantino and Warren Miller earn considerably more. If you make films as a hobby, you may already have the skills necessary for an excellent career in film or video production. With basic equipment and the right training, even amateurs can produce professional-quality videos.

About the Author
John Tuthill is a biologist at the University of Montana. His previous experience includes laboratory work at the University of Washington and Duke University, studying mechanisms of vision and biological imaging.

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