Getting into Film can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you are just starting out on your career journey. Who do I contact? What do all these roles actually do? Where do I even begin? These are just some of the questions you might ask when wondering how to get your first costume job in Film.
Luckily ‘My First Job in Film‘ is a website dedicated to helping people get their first role within the industry and they have a fantastic section on the costume department – de-mystifying the roles within Film and the routes in.
So, what are some of My First Job in Film‘s guidelines? Let’s take a look.
Here, MFJiF haa a great example of a typical three-stage career progression for someone working within the costume departments in Film.
They recommend you start out by getting some good old fashioned work experience possibly within theatre, TV, or short films to start building your sewing, design and cutting skills.
Stage 2 is about applying for internships or trainee positions in order to gain a decent reference. MFJiF says to expect to be in a trainee position for two years before you see any progression.
When you eventually move on to stage three you will be looking to gain a wide range of experience on varied projects. They advise you apply for assistant roles and continue to work on smaller interesting projects to develop your skills as you move through your career.
The website lists many of the roles in the costume department of a film production company. Some roles can seem a mystery if you have never worked in this area before, so ‘My First Job in Film’ defines these roles in layman’s terms.
Here, they have a handy list of responsibilities you can expect to have when working as an assistant, with explainers for each. They say you can expect to be doing any of the following:
- Setting up the work room.
- Helping standby costume.
- Making sure machinery is in good working order.
- Pressing items of clothing.
- Being sent on errands.
- Logging in and out items of costume.
- Altering and adapting costume.
- Calling casting agents.
- ‘Keep warm’ coats.
How to get the job
MFJiF has a great advice section on how to get a job in Film. They offer some CV advice and even offer a CV building tool (Join the site to access it). Keeping your CV short and to the point is key, as many supervisors will be scanning CVs quickly when deciding on people for competitive roles.
On top of this, they give some useful tit-bits of information on networking, attitude, and research when pursuing that dream role – making you as desirable as possible to potential employers.
Phrases you should know
In this section, My First Job on TV has a useful list of phrases you should know as an entrant to the industry. Always useful to not feel completely out on a limb when a senior member of the team uses language you feel clueless about. Here is a selection of words and phrases they advise you learn:
Break away. A costume designed to tear or snag in a scene.
Costume Bible. This is research from the costume designer including notes on makeup, hair, photographs, sketches and fabric swatches.
Hero item. An element of costume, jacket, dress, etc. that is worn throughout the film.
Squib. A small explosive that is embedded into the fabric of the costume.
Sides. The sides include a copy of the call sheet and the scenes from the script to be shot that day.
Call Sheet. Paperwork you are handed at the end of the day, detailing your call time and if you are shooting on location address and directions.
For more information and advice on how to get your first role in Film go to myfirstjobinfilm.co.uk
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