Written by Stanley B. Gill
June 21, 2019 (Updated: February 6, 2022)
You have seen the postings all over social media, local municipal websites, newsletters, film websites, etc. etc. etc. Help Wanted ads for crew talent for feature film and series projects. Now you want to get that job.
The ads generally just say to send your resume to a generic email address. So, you send-off your non-proofread, non-updated resume, with the wrong email address and old phone number.
You finally fix your resume, halfway, then send it again.
Then you realize you have just completed another project and update that same resume and send it again.
Now some of these productions have very professional teams attached and you might get an auto-response to your email, so you know they have actually received your resume and will forward it along to the appropriate department.
Then you wait. Oh, not two or three weeks. You wait less than twenty-four hours to send another resume. Just in case the other one did not go through. And, you make sure your Subject Line never includes the production and position you are applying to.
How many resumes have you sent already? Answer: Four.
Then you start to stalk the producers. You look them up on IMDb Pro, well actually a friend’s IMDb Pro account, because you do not want to pay for the information.
You send your resume to whatever email addresses you can scavenge.
How many resumes have you sent now? Answer? You have lost track because you never kept a log.
Then you think, “What if I can just find a phone number to call?”
Viola! You found one! Yesss!!!
Now you start leaving messages. Not just one, but several. No one calls you back.
Then you stalk the producers on social media sending direct messages, private messages, public pleas, etc. etc. etc.
One day, you wake-up to see the production has started on Monday and it is already Wednesday. A full month since you started your crusade.
And, you wonder why no one hires you because you have more experience than so-and-so.
Of course, none of this happened to you. It happened to your friend. The one you are trying to help get jobs in the film and television industry.
One day, while taking a break outside a production company in Hollywood I headed-up, this young guy comes over and says, “Are you Stan?” He had just walked into reception asking for me and the receptionist did not take a message, rather she directed him to me outside. She did not last long.
He proceeds to tell me he did not want to submit an email resume for our advertised positions, but wanted to drop-off his resume. To make sure someone actually received it. Not mail it, but drop it off.
I was feeling rather helpful that day, as I had my assistant sitting next to me. I wanted to make a good leader impression. Yeah, that’s it. A good leader impression.
I glanced-over his resume and instantly saw several typos. I asked him for his phone number. He did not reply with the one at the top of the resume.
I told him, I would put him in a three week training program if he fixed his resume and had it back to me by tomorrow.
The guy never came back. He failed the first test I gave him.
That was the day I stopped helping people get a foot in the door. I remember the street and where I was sitting outside the company. Yeah, you can cast a dark light on me, but that was probably the dozen upon dozens of times I have tried to help someone in this industry.
This is a tough business to get into and I hate coming close to even being a jerk. But, one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone wastes my professional time. I pay undivided attention to those in meetings, phone calls, emails, etc. etc. etc. Do not waste my time as I would never waste yours.
Do not waste my time as I would never waste yours.
By the way, all those examples at the beginning of this article are true experiences. I get them all the time, still to this day. Another pet peeve is when someone emails me personally, gets my office number, or mobile number, and leaves message after message.
When I post for projects coming up where I am the producer, I specifically put directions in the ad, which will show me if the applicant can follow directions. When I receive hundreds of resumes for projects, it is easy to weed-out those who do not follow directions.
If you think these experiences are bad, you should talk to someone who does background casting. The horror stories I have been told.
It is really simple to get hired in this tough business. You have to get experience. And, if someone says, “How do you get experience if no one will hire you to get experience?” My response is always, “Apparently, thousands of crew talent in this industry do this all the time. They make experience happen.” And then somehow I become the bad guy, or jerk.
Make sure your resume is constantly updated. When you start a project, the next day your resume better reflect that project. Do not wait until the project is over to update your resume.
Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.
Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. Get a friend to proofread your resume.
In the real world, as opposed to the make-believe world of Hollywood, corporate America frowns upon typos in resumes.
Oh, and make sure your email address and phone number are current. Trust me when I say if I give a stack of resumes to a department head and they start calling, if your number is wrong, they do not callback.
Don’t be that guy or gal.
I wish you all luck and prosperity in your careers in the business.
Now go get some experiences!